Coming into Saturday’s game between 13th-ranked Miami and Florida State, both teams were looking to get their running games going. The Seminoles did have their best rushing game of the year, but it was not enough to keep the Hurricanes from earning a last-second 24-20 victory, breaking a 7-game losing streak against Florida State.
It all begins for real tonight at Amalie Arena. The Tampa Bay Lightning open the 2017-18 season against the Florida Panthers, the first of four meetings between the two teams. For the Lightning, they seek a return to the playoffs after missing the post season by a single point last year. If they can avoid significant injuries to key players, always a big “if,” they have every reason to expect to be playing hockey well into the spring.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots into Raymond James Stadium tonight for the national anthem and a little football. Odds makers have installed the Patriots as 5-point favorites, but this year’s model has a few chinks in the armor, especially the league’s lowest-ranked defense.
The good news is the Rays improved on last year’s on-field performance by 12 games in 2017. The bad news is they still finished at 80-82 and miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Despite the improvement, the team made some significant changes this week on the major league coaching staff. With some coaches who spent more than a decade with the team now gone, Manager Kevin Cash has who he wants around him.
A little more than one season removed from a winless season, the University of Central Florida Knights have returned the Associated Press Top 25 poll. A day after an impressive 40-13 romp over Memphis, UCF came in at No. 25. The 3-0 Knights are one of four Florida teams in the top 25. It is their first time in the rankings since the end of the 2013 season.
Saturday’s college football action in Florida is expected to leave fans of the state’s major football schools happy by the end of the day. Every one of them is favored to win today. The 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes began the weekend on Friday by going to Duke and easily handling the Blue Devils 31-6.
The preseason for the Tampa Bay Lightning is now in its final week. Only three games remain before the regular season begins on October 6. Tonight, Tampa Bay has a rematch with rival Florida at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The Panthers beat the Lightning on Sunday at Amalie Arena, 4-2.