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World of Sports: Brantley, Ponder and Klitschko

I love the boldness of the University of Minnesota. Following the firing of its head coach Tim Brewster after a 1-6 start, Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi contacted former NFL head coach Tony Dungy. Dungy told Maturi that he is not interested in coaching but will help the Golden Gophers in its search for Brewster’s successor. Dungy reiterated on NBC’s “Football Night in America,” where he is an NFL analyst, that he is comfortable with his television gig. It was worth Maturi’s efforts. What if Dungy, who hasn’t coached since he was with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, had said yes? Dungy would’ve been one of the biggest names in the Big Ten, along with Joe Paterno, Jim Tressel and Rich Rodriguez. Dungy would have had the boosters writing checks immediately.

It’s becoming clearer, as the weeks go by, that John Brantley might not be the right fit at quarterback for head coach Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. In an offense that currently relies upon deception and trickery, Brantley’s talent in the pocket is not the answer. Now, maybe it could be a combination of Brantley’s injuries – shoulder, thumb and four ribs – or Florida’s need for a standout playmaker. But, with the more games I view, it seems the Gators need someone to take over this team. Trey Burton, Jeff Demps, Omarius Hines, Deonte Thompson or Chris Rainey – if or when he returns. Breaking the three-game losing streak could take a lot. Finding a consistent difference-maker on offense could take the whole season.

Even after a lackluster 24-19 victory over Boston College, the Florida State Seminoles notched their fifth consecutive win. After becoming the ACC’s first bowl-eligible team, the Noles have 12 days off until their next matchup against North Carolina State. FSU quarterback Christian Ponder, who broke the bursa sac in his right elbow during the first quarter Saturday, threw for 170 yards, two touchdowns and produced four turnovers – three interceptions and one fumble. Even when Ponder was obviously struggling, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher is willing to live and die with his quarterback.

Having Oklahoma, the only team to hand the Noles a loss this season, No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series standings will have FSU fans smirking all week.

No matter the outcome of Monday night’s Jacksonville Jaguars-Tennessee Titans game, the Jaguars need to take advantage of two straight away games prior to the bye week on November 7. The Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville’s next two opponents, have each lost their last two games. Three of those four losses have been to the other three AFC South teams.

In a boxing match with the WBC heavyweight title on the line, someone should have stepped in on Saturday night to protect Shannon Briggs from titleholder Vitali Klitschko. Following the 12-round bout, the 38-year-old Briggs was taken to the hospital in Hamburg, Germany, with a broken nose, broken left orbital bone and a torn left biceps. He was placed in intensive care with the non-life threatening injuries. In a report on ESPN.com, Briggs said, “He [Klitschko] hits harder than [George] Foreman, he’s got incredibly fast hands.” I guess Klitschko’s hands are too fast for Briggs’ corner to save him from any long-lasting embarrassment and/or injuries.

Being a Major League Baseball umpire must be one of the most stressful jobs in sports. Centimeters can determine a ball or strike. If I were to umpire a game, I feel like my strike zone would be incredibly inconsistent. I’m sweating just writing about it.

Whether you have a vote in a major college football poll or not, I think most would have Auburn, Boise State, Oklahoma, Oregon and TCU in their top-five – in no particular order.

In an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, newly-acquired Patriot Deion Branch caught nine passes for 98 yards and one score. Who says New England’s Tom Brady can’t create receivers?


Richard Miller is the host of “Miller On Sports” weekdays on talk radio 600 WBOB from 1 until 2 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays, he broadcasts live from City Hall Pub. You can listen live at www.600wbob.com.

On Sundays, Richard covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for Sporting News Radio. Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2011.

Follow Richard’s daily blog on MillerOnSports.com, join him on Facebook and Twitter, or e-mail Richard at MillerOnSports@gmail.com.

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