The Wake-Up Call greets you each weekday with news, views and a few Tampa Bay area sports offerings to anticipate for the day and night. We encourage suggestions and contributions.
As each disappointing weekend passed, Coach Bobby Bowden said the Florida State Seminoles (2-4, 0-3 in the ACC) redefined their goals.
It began with the best intentions.
Heading into the Labor Day night home meeting against Miami, the Seminoles were focused on winning their division and reaching the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game on Dec. 5 at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
"When we started off the season, we talked about being undefeated,'' Bowden said Wednesday on the weekly ACC football coaches teleconference. "Then you lose a ballgame and you talk about how you can still do it with one loss.
"Then you lose two games. Forget that. Go to another line. Well, we can still win the conference, win our division.
"You lose three games in your division, man, there ain't no sense talking about that any more. You talk about the next ballgame, wanting to win it and get back on the winning track. That's what we need to do, get back on the winning track.''
So Bowden is nothing but realistic heading into tonight's ACC game at North Carolina (4-2, 0-2), which has endured a disappointing conference start of its own.
But here's the thing.
FSU is not yet out of the ACC Atlantic Division race.
That's more of a commentary on the mediocrity of the ACC Atlantic teams, rather than FSU's ability to suddenly find itself and turn on the jets.
Once again, the road to Tampa looks bumpy, treacherous and unpredictable.
Here are the current ACC standings (conference record, followed by overall record in parentheses).
Boston College 3-2 (5-2)
Clemson 2-2 (3-3)
Wake Forest 2-2 (4-3)
Maryland 1-2 (2-5)
North Carolina State 0-3 (3-4)
Florida State 0-3 (2-4)
Virginia 2-0 (3-3)
Georgia Tech 4-1 (6-1)
Virginia Tech 3-1 (5-2)
Miami 2-1 (5-1)
Duke 1-1 (3-3)
North Carolina 0-2 (4-2)
Who knows about the Atlantic Division?
Wake Forest could've taken a major step forward last weekend, but the Demon Deacons were drummed at Clemson, 38-3.
"Everybody has talent, and if you don't play good on Saturday, you have what happened to us at Clemson, you get embarrassed,'' Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.
Realistically, the Coastal Division could wind up in a three-way tie between Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
How do you solve that one?
After all, Miami beat Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech toppled Miami and Georgia Tech stopped Virginia Tech.
In that case, let's say all three teams finished with a 7-1 ACC record. The champion would be the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings, according to the ACC's three-way tiebreaker. Right now, that's Miami, putting the Hurricanes, at least for the moment, in the Coastal's driver's seat.
Something to consider: UM's Nov. 28 game at South Florida, a nonleague contest. Losing against USF - or maybe even registering a narrow victory - could greatly affect the BCS standings and perhaps swing the Coastal Division race.
Miami really can look no further than Saturday's home game against Clemson, its first ACC opponent in a month.
And let's not forget the Virginia Cavaliers, who, at this moment, are the only team unbeaten in ACC play, partially obscuring the eyesore opening home loss against William & Mary and the overall 0-3 start.
Virginia, by the way, hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday - and the Yellow Jackets incredibly haven't won in Charlottesville since 1990.
So trying figure all this out is really fruitless. This weekend's results are bound to prompt another twist or turn.
"People give up so easy, and I'm referring to the fans,'' said Bowden, who had the last ACC team, the 1999 Seminoles, that played in the national championship game. "In 1986, we went 6-4-1, went to the Hall of Fame Bowl and beat Indiana in Birmingham. The next year, we had probably the best team we've ever had at Florida State, second in the country.
"I'm so positive with this group of guys that sooner or later, they're going to break out of it. We're just thinking about winning the next game. I don't look at the conference championship any more. But there's still a mathematical chance, I guess.''
There is, indeed.
At 0-3 in the league, believe it or not, FSU still can craft the possibility of reaching a BCS bowl game. In the ACC, it's never over until it's over (and then it still might not be over).
The road to Tampa looks trickier than ever.
University of Tampa volleyball coach Chris Catanach goes for his 800th career victory at home on Friday night at 7 against Lynn University. The No. 8-ranked Spartans are 20-2 overall, 7-1 in the Sunshine State Conference, while Lynn is 17-6, 4-4.
UT faces Nova Southeastern University at home on Saturday afternoon at 4.
This is Catanach's first attempt at the 800th win. He reached 799 after a perfect weekend at the South Region Crossover tournament, defeating West Florida, Arkansas-Monticello and West Alabama, each in a three-game sweep.
The Tampa Bay Sports Leadership Summit panel discussion - entitled "The Arrival of the Young Professional'' - will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Oct. 30 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Jaeb Theater.
Panelists include Rays president Matt Silverman, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins, Rowdies owner Andrew Nestor and Lightning player Steven Stamkos.
Here's the idea: Each of the men reached a prominent position in their sport at a young age. How did it happen? How did they prepare for the moment? What are the advantages (and pitfalls) of being a young up-and-coming person in sports. You'll hear everyone's story.
Admission is $10 or a new or "gently used'' sporting good (all of which will be donated to Tampa Bay area youth leagues).
There is free parking for the first 40 cars at the performing arts center valet lot (it's $1.20 an hour at the nearby Poe garage).
The event is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and Emerge Tampa Bay. To R.S.V.P. for the event, go to www.emergetampabay.org.
Marcus Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan, will play basketball this season at the University of Central Florida. But which shoes will he wear? That's the question.
UCF has a deal with Adidas to provide shoes and apparel for the men's basketball team. The younger Jordan wants to wear Jordan Brand shoes instead of Adidas.
"It's a level of importance with the Jordan Brand and my family,'' Marcus Jordan told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's no disrespect to Adidas. I have a high level of respect for Adidas, but I'm going to be wearing Jordan shoes.''
UCF plays USF at the Sun Dome on Dec. 16.
Former University of Florida football coach Ron Zook, now at Illinois, is ranked second on The Sporting News Today's list of the top five college-football coaches under fire.
Zook is 19-35 in 4½ seasons (10-26 in the Big Ten). His only victory this season was against Division I-AA Illinois State.
Here are the top five hot-seat coaches (along with potential replacements, suggested by Matt Hayes of The Sporting News).
1. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville.
• Replacements: Kyle Whittingham, Utah; Kevin Sumlin, Houston.
2. Ron Zook, Illinois.
• Replacements: Butch Jones, Central Michigan; Skip Holtz, East Carolina.
3. Al Groh, Virginia.
• Replacements: Mike London, Richmond; Tim Murphy, Harvard.
4. Tommy West, Memphis.
• Replacements: Charlie Strong, Florida; Terry Bowden, North Alabama.
5. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M.
• Replacements: Gary Patterson, TCU; Tommy Tuberville, formerly of Auburn.
Happy birthday to former USF men's basketball coach Bobby Paschal, who helped the Bulls to the only two NCAA Tournament appearances (1990, 1992) in program history. Today, Paschal turns 68.
Here's the answer to Wednesday's trivia question:
USF men's basketball has featured four 1,000-point scorers who graduated from a Tampa high school - Charlie Bradley (Robinson, 2,319 points at USF); Terrence Leather (Robinson, 1,195 points); Jesse Salters (Chamberlain, 1,177 points); and Fred Lewis (Chamberlain, 1,105 points).
Here's our daily sports trivia question, featuring a Tampa Bay/Florida spin. Try your luck by commenting below.
Since joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State won at least a share of nine consecutive ACC football championships. Which school broke FSU's string and won the outright ACC title in 2001?
Check for the answer in Friday's Wake-Up Call.