Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Round up - Tebow, The Lightning, Bruce Allen, and More!

By JC De La Torre

Hey folks, apologies for the late posts, the old warhorse that was my computer finally past away. So with excuses out of the way - let's touch on some topics that effected Tampa Bay sports over the weekend.

Tim Tebow Returning to Florida
Florida Phenom Quarterback Tim Tebow announced he will be returning for his senior season at Florida, to the glee of all Gator fans. During the Gators celebration of their latest national championship at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the crowd chanted "One More Year" and after thanking his teammates, God, and his family, "Superman" added, "Oh, by the way, one more thing, let's do it again. I'm coming back." At that moment, there was a collective, "Aww...crap..." everywhere in the southeast outside of Florida (and a few in Tallahassee, too). Tebow will have the unique opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the greatest Gators in school history while enhancing his resume for the Pros. We think it's the best move for Tebow and even if he doesn't succeed in the Pros, Tebow will be a legend that all Gator quarterbacks are measured against for many, many years.

Gators Basketball team opens SEC schedule with victory over Ole Miss
Billy Donovan's Florida basketball team held on for a 78-68 victory over Ole Miss to open up their SEC schedule. Donovan, however, was none too pleased with his team's performance. Florida was outrebounded 46-22.

"What really got exposed is the thing that I've always been worried about with our team, is, will be physically compete up front and create a level of confrontation in the paint," Donovan told the St. Petersburg Times, "I don't know the last time, since I've been here, we've been outrebounded by 24 rebounds."

Ole Miss rallied from a 21 point decifit to pull within 2:07 left in the game. Florida would hit their free throws down the stretch to provide the difference.

USF Upends DePaul for 1st Big East Victory
The USF Basketball team got 22 points from Dominique Jones and 18 from Jesus Verdejo to get their first Big East victory of the season, an 80-58 destruction of DePaul. The Bulls opened up the game with a 15-6 run and never looked back.

Bruce Allen Speaks to the Media
Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen spoke to the media on Friday on a myriad of issues facing the team. The gist of the conference was yes, the Glazers are as ticked off as the fans are at the end of the season and no, they aren't holding the wallet because of their Manchester United debt. Allen has the go ahead to sign any free agent he deems will improve the team. Allen is never one to get into specifics but it seems the team is tired of using retread quarterbacks for Jon Gruden's system and may seek out a young stud to go along with 2008 5th round draft pick Josh Johnson that the team can build around for the forseeable future. The team also believes Carnell "Cadillac" Williams will return to the Bucs, but aren't counting on him for at least the first half of 2009.

Bolts Blow Another Lead, But Pull Out Win in Anaheim
The Tampa Bay Lighning blew another 2 goal lead Saturday night but Ryan Malone's second of the game gave the Lightning a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis also scored, while Kari Ramo made 29 saves in his first start of the season. Steven Stamkos did not play in this one. The Lighting put Stamkos on a conditioning program to build up his strength after a 16-game stretch with only one goal and two assists.

Bolts Owners Amend Financial Deal with Palace Sports
The principals of OK hockey, Palace Sports, and the NHL met in New York to amend the $70 million dollar financial agreement between the OK hockey and Palace Sports. While details of the changes were not released, all sides seemed pleased with the changes.

"The only thing I can say is they're in fine shape," Palace Sports CEO Tom Wilson told the St. Petersburg Times.

"It gives us a lot of room to maneuver and do what we want to do with the team," Lightning Principal Owner Oren Koules said.

NFL Final Four Set
Two of the four teams will make it to Tampa for the Super Bowl and no one had them pegged as likely candidates. The Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles each advanced to their respective conference championship games and play for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The Cardinals shocked the Carolina Panthers 33-13 in a game no one saw coming. The Panthers' Jake Delhomme threw five interceptions in the loss. Baltimore stunned top seeded Tennessee in a defensive battle 13-10.

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles continued their improbable run, beating the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in a dominating defensive performance, 23-11, while Pittsburgh outslugged San Diego 35-24 to become the only home team to win during the Divisional playoffs. It marks the first time since going to a 16 game schedule that two teams that did not win at least 10 games played each other in a conference championship.

The Philadelphia Eagles will head to Arizona for a 3pm (ET) kickoff of the NFC Championship game, while Pittsburgh will host division rival Baltimore at 6:30 pm (ET) in the AFC Championship game.

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