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Cole Pepper: Gators First Place Seed In March Madness, Jaguars Make Several Roster Moves

University of Florida

It's March, and sports fans know what follows can only be madness. Cole Pepper took a look ahead at the tourney and gave an update on the Jaguars recent off-season moves in his weekly sports wrap.

Florida Gators No. 1 overall seed heading into NCAA Championship tournament

March Madness is officially here and the Florida Gators are the odds on favorite to win the national championship.

Florida is not only a N0. 1 seed, they are THE first overall seed in the Big Dance. Just about everyone will pick Florida to go deep, maybe to the Final Four and maybe to win it all.

So what could stand in the Gator’s way? In the top half of the South bracket, UCLA, Virginia Commonwealth and Colorado are the most talented teams.

There is also a chance for a rematch with Kansas in the regional finals. Florida beat Kansas in December in Gainesville. Florida has lost in the regional finals each of the past three years.

Jaguars free agency moves

The past week for the Jaguars was a busy one.

They have re-signed Chad Henne, traded Blaine Gabbert for a 6th round picks and added six players through free agency, including defensive linemen Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Ziggy Hood, linebacker Dekoda Watson, running back Toby Gerhart and left guard Zane Beadles. They also re-signed DE Jason Babin, so they are clearly focusing on upgrading the defense.

This week, the Jaguars will be taking a close look at some potential top draft picks with on-campus workouts scheduled for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater and UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, both of whom are expected to be first round picks.

Credit Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT
Runner and walkers await the start of the 2014 Gate River Run.

Gate River Run draws record registration

Saturday, the Gate River Run saw 17,727 runners start the 15K race and one woman—Shalane Flanagan— finish with an American record at the distance. It was the second most to register for the race in River Run history.

I think if you start listing the major cultural events in our city, the River Run has to be in the conversation along with Florida-Georgia, One Spark and TPC as the best attended events.

Jacksonville University coaching moves

JU has decided not to renew the contract of basketball coach Cliff Warren. Warren is the winningest coach in school history but has had three straight losing seasons.

There have been some JU fans who would like to see someone in the JU family brought in, like former Boston Celtic Dee Brown, who is an assistant coach with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Former Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith’s name has been thrown around as well.

If I was to guess, I would think that AD Brad Edwards has a name in mind, perhaps from his days in the South Carolina athletic department.

Jacksonville Sharks fall in season opener

Yesterday in Orlando, the Sharks opened the season with a 49-47 loss to the Predators when a late two point try failed. The Sharks' home opener is in two weeks.

You can follow Karen Feagins on Twitter @karenfeaginsand Cole Pepper @ColePepper

Karen found her home in public broadcasting after working for several years as a commercial television reporter. She joinedWJCTin 2005 as the host of 89.9 FM’s Morning Edition and has held many different roles at the station in both radio and television. She has written and produced documentaries includingBeluthahatchee: The Legacy of Stetson Kennedy and Jacksonville Beach: Against the Tide and directed the oral history project, Voices of the First Coast.