MIAMI, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The nation's top-rated quarterback was not expected to start Wednesday night when Florida meets Maryland in the Orange Bowl.
Rex Grossman, the Heisman Trophy runnerup, and four other Florida players missed a team curfew on the Gators' second night in Miami and will watch the game from the bench -- at least at the beginning.
Sophomore Brock Berlin will make his first start at quarterback and Florida coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that he'll get "an opportunity to play the game."
Ironically, Berlin is strongly considering transferring to the University of Miami because of his lack of playing time with
Florida. Berlin had nine touchdown passes and one interception in mop-up situations after replacing Grossman.
This is the next-to-last bowl game in a long lineup of post-season play. The finale -- the national championship game, pitting Miami and Nebraska in the Rose Bowl -- is on tap Thursday night.
Falcons waive veteran receiver
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Four days before their season finale, the Atlanta Falcons waived veteran receiver Tony Martin.
A veteran of 13 NFL seasons, the 36-year-old Martin has 593 career receptions for 9,065 yards and 56 touchdowns.
The Falcons brought back Martin, a starter on their Super Bowl team in 1998, last June after he spent the previous two years with the Miami Dolphins. He started in nine of 11 games this
season, missing four with a broken collarbone, and had 37 receptions for a team-leading 548 yards and three touchdowns.
The Falcons (7-8) signed wide receiver Shawn Mills from the practice squad to replace Martin.
Sampras loses opening match
ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Hoping to rebound from a sub-par season, Pete Sampras suffered an early setback Wednesday with a
first-round loss at the AAPT Championships, a $357,000 hardcourt tennis event.
Sampras, the second seed, came down to Australia earlier than is his custom to get his year off to a positive start after going
without a tournament victory in 2001, the first time since 1989 that he has gone winless during a season.
Instead, the 30-year-old American was dealt a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat by countryman Todd Martin in a match that was postponed a day due to rain.
Martins snapped a 13-match losing streak to Sampras last year at the Australian Open and Wednesday won his second in a row over
his good friend to improve to 4-17 in the lifetime matchup.
Ivanisevic upset in Qatar
DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic was surprised by a Czech qualifier Wednesday in the second round of
the $1 million Qatar Open.
A finalist here in 1993 and semifinalist on two other occasions, Ivanisevic fell, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, to Radek Stepanek. The second-seeded Croatian lost to a 23-year-old playing in only his
seventh main draw event.
Stepanek improved his career match record to 4-6 and reached his first ATP quarterfinal.
U.S. upset in Hopman Cup; Hewitt ailing
PERTH, Australia, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The United States suffered a round-robin loss to Italy at the Hopman Cup Wednesday and Australia's Lleyton Hewitt fell ill.
The second-seeded Americans fell to 1-1 at the mixed team event after dropping both their singles matches to Italy, which needed to win a playoff against Greece to qualify.
Hewitt, the men's world No. 1, helped No. 2 Australia win its tie against Argentina, 2-1, before undergoing medical tests after "feeling unwell," according to a tournament spokesperson.
The 20-year-old reigning U.S. Open champion, who has had a mysterious respiratory ailment over the last two years, complained of a fever in the last few days.
Despite his condition, Hewitt helped his country improve to 2-0 in Group B. After Alicia Molik fell to Argentina's Paola Suarez in the women's singles, he beat Mariano Zabaleta, 6-3, 6-4, and
teamed with his countrywoman for a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (10-7) win in the mixed doubles.
Auburn aides quit
AUBURN, Ala., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Auburn, which ended the season with
three straight losses, announced Wednesday that offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and his defensive counterpart, John Lovett, have resigned.
Both coordinators served under Coach Tommy Tuberville at Mississippi from 1995-98 and the last three seasons at Auburn.
Auburn finished with a 7-5 record, including a 5-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers were routed, 31-7, by 7 and suffered a 27-14 loss at Louisiana State on Dec. 1 in a game that decided first place in the SEC West. Auburn was defeated, 16-10, by North Carolina in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Auburn's offense finished 10th out of 12 teams in the SEC, while the defense was fourth.