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Five Spot / Quick hitters on the light side

1. VOLUNTEER NEEDED

The Sam Francisco 49ers fired intense Mike Singletary (above) as their coach after a loss on Sunday. The big question: Who had the nerve to tell him?

2. GETTING THE FIRST DEGREE

The Panthers wrapped up the first overall draft choice on Sunday. Carolina QB Jimmy Claussen is trying to be pro-active in saving his job -- he sent Oliver Luck of Stanford a long e-mail telling him about the importance of completing a college education.

3. MUST-SEE TELEVISION

NBC will show the Rams-Seahawks game next week in prime time, with the winner taking the NFC West. Raise your hand if you had that one as the climatic game of the regular season two months ago. Someone? Anyone?

4. WE'VE TAKEN THE LEAD

The Vikings-Eagles game was postponed on Sunday night due to heavy snow. If you are keeping score, that's one game in the last 40 years postponed because of weather in Philadelphia, none in Buffalo.

5. BRING SUN-TAN LOTION

Syracuse is getting ready for its first bowl game since 2004 -- the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Nothing rewards a college football team for a good season like a trip south to the balmy climate of New York City, particularly right now.

-- Budd Bailey

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