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The trade deadline has blown through and there has been little action so far.

The only major move of the day has the Reds sending Ken Griffey, Jr. to the White Sox for prospects. Great move by the Sox who are in desperate need of offense in the outfield.

Jr. Griffey’s best day’s are probably behind him, but he can generate offense for the final two months of the season to help the Chi Sox.

Other trades:

LHP Arthur Rhodes to the Marlins

I will keep you updated on any more activity if a deal is announced following the deadline.

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3:35 Update:

The first wave to reach the shore was a tsunami as we get word that Manny Ramirez has been traded to the Dodgers and Jason Bay has been traded to the Red Sox.

In exchange, the Pirates received a combination of four prospects from both the Sox and Dodgers.

The Dodgers have won the NL West today, in my eyes. And the Sox get a younger player who is just as productive as Manny. And most importantly: he wants to be in Boston.

If anything else breaks, I will keep you updated, but again:

Boston receives: Jason Bay

Dodgers receives: Manny Ramirez

Pirates receives: 4 prospects.

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Today is one of my favorite days in all of sports — MLB Trade Deadline Day.

I gave you a list of sellers in the NL two days ago. Today, I will give you a list of the AL sellers as well as some of the juiciest gossip as we get closer to the deadline.

AL East:

Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays have a respectable record and a talented roster. Expect the 54-54 Jays to sell a few pieces to help make another run next season.

Players most likely to be traded:
Scott Downs
A.J. Burnett
David Eckstein

Baltimore Orioles – The O’s are in virtually the same boat as the Jays. Good, young roster. But they have expendable pieces that could be sold to help build the future.

Players most likely to be traded
:
Kevin Millar
Luke Scott
Jeremy Guthrie

AL Central:

Kansas City Royals – The Royals have made tremendous strides this year and have won four games in a row current to July 30. But they have what teams want: corner outfielders and veteran bullpen pitchers.

Players most likely to be traded:
Jose Guillen
Horacio Ramirez
Ron Mahay

Cleveland Indians – The Indians have sold already, dumping Casey Blake and CC Sabathia. But for a team that is going nowhere fast, they can unload more today.

Players most likely to be traded:
David Dellucci
Juan Rincon
Paul Byrd

AL West:

Seattle Mariners – Before I get to the M’s, I want to mention that the A’s technically are sellers in this division also, but they have sold all their chips and I do not expect them to make any moves prior to the deadline. But to the Mariners, they are a huge mess. With a fired manager and GM already in this season, expect fire sale time if teams want their players.

Players most likely to be traded:
Jarrod Washburn
Arthur Rhodes
Raul Ibanez
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That’s it for my list of sellers, but now, let’s talk about a little gossip and give some percentages on guys being moved.

The juicy story is about Manny Ramirez as ESPN’s Peter Gammons is reporting that the Red Sox are ready to dump their disgruntled outfielder to the Marlins for a slew of young players.


I am a casual fan of the Red Sox and I have always been a fan of Manny, but enough may be enough in this situation and it’s going to be a sad end to a great run if Ramirez is moved, but it appears inevitable.

For the Marlins, they would be getting an A-List slugger for the stretch run to help them stay in the race for the long haul with the Mets and Phillies in the NL East.

Chances this gets done: 55-45 – I know Manny has been rumored to go many-a-times in his career, but I think it’s legit this time and I really believe last night will be his final game as a Red Sox.

Other big names on the block:

Jason Bay : 25-75 – The Pirates seem content to keep Bay for the future and with good reason. He is, afterall hitting .280 with 22 dingers on the season with a .900 OPS.

Greg Maddux: 65-35 – The Padres have no use for him anymore this season. But Maddux only wants to stay on the West Coast, so the question is: Do the Angels, Dodgers and Diamondbacks have use for him? You can never have enough experienced arms in the playoffs and someone will pick him up.

Will Ohman: 90-10 – Every team wants a left-handed reliever at the deadline and Ohman has been the best of the bunch this year for the Braves with a 3-0 record and 2.84 ERA in 55 appearances for the Braves. The most impressive stat: .160 average against lefties.

I will give you a complete list of trades tomorrow as they happen.
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Our college football game has been a hit so far, so let’s keep it rolling. According to my picks, right now, the standings are as follows.

East:

South Carolina: 2-0 (1-0)
Georgia: 2-0
Florida: 2-0
Kentucky: 1-1
Tennessee: 1-1
Vandy: 0-2 (0-1)

West:
LSU 2-0
Auburn 2-0
Mississippi State: 2-0
Ole Miss: 1-1
Alabama: 1-1
Arkansas: 1-1

Let’s dive into Game three.

Game of the Week:
Florida 34 Tennessee 17 — Too much Tebow, not enough Tennessee offense in this game. Meyer and Co. steal one on the road in game three.
Upset of the Week:
Mississippi State 24 Auburn 20 – The Tigers will be looking forward to their much anticipated matchup with LSU next week and will be tripped up by a talented Mississippi State team in Starkville.

Blowout of the Week:
LSU 55 North Texas 3 – LSU will be hungry to make a statement against a poor North Texas squad just seven days before their matchup with the Plainsmen.

Other Scores:
Georgia 31 South Carolina 20
Kentucky 37 Middle Tennessee 10
Vanderbilt 24 Rice 13
Alabama 52 Western Kentucky 7
Arkansas 14 Texas 37
Ole Miss 48 Samford 6
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Our MMA list has been fun and we have two fighters left. What makes lists like these so fun is the level of debate and discussion that can be brought into these lists, because with the 10 best fighters in the world, you really can not go wrong with any of these fighters.

Today’s guy is one of the stars of the sport and at 29 years of age, he figures to continue to be a star in the sport for the next decade.

No. 2 pound-for-pound best MMA fighter in the world: BJ Penn – Penn may not be the best. He may not be the most dominant, but he has fought in four different weight classes and has been the UFC champion of two classes and that versatility puts him in the upper echelon of the sport.


Currently the UFC Lightweight Champion, Penn dismantled challenger Sean Sherk in May to retain his title.

What’s next for Penn? The winner of GSP and Fitch on December 27.

Our number one fighter tomorrow. It is not hard to guess who that will be if you are a fan of the sport.
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Headlines:

Beijing air pollution index improves – Why do I get the feeling these Olympics will show just how much of a Mickey Mouse Operation China has for a country? I just have the feeling it will be a circus.

Bulls give Deng 6 years, $80M – Probably a little overpaid. No, never mind, probably a lot overpaid. Deng averages 17 points and six boards a game. How many NBA players average 17 points per game, you ask? Try 50. Guys like Deng are a dime a dozen.


Saints top pick Ellis joins camp
– It’s about time, rookie. Let’s hope missing a week of practice does not hurt the rookie DT.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

There is only one Al Bundy.

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That’s all for me today. Have a beautiful Thursday.

Today was an active day in the Gisclair household in regards to sports news.

First, my beloved Houston Rockets made a huge splash in the trade market, agreeing to send reserve guard Bobby Jackson, Donte Green and a future first round pick to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Ron Artest.

No bones about it. My beloved Rockets have arrived. With Artest joining All-NBA defender Shane Battier, the Rockets have the guns to take down the Celtics on the perimeter. And with Tracy McGrady and Yao, they also have the offensive fire power to beat out high rollers like the Lakers and Hornets.

The big thing will be health. McGrady and Yao are notoriously injury prone. Adding another star to the fray puts an added level of pressure for all three to be healthy so they can have enough chemistry together to win in the postseason.

But I think anytime you only have to give up a bench player and a roll-the-dice first rounder for someone who is arguably the best defensive player in the entire NBA, you have to do it and the Rockets are now officially an upper-echelon team in the West.

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My favorite baseball club, the Atlanta Braves also made a splash in the trade world yesterday, selling first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Anaheim Angels for Casey Kotchman and a prospect.

Good move for both teams. The Angels get Teixeira, a big-time switch-hitting slugger for the stretch run. And the Braves get an above average first baseman for the next three seasons at least, so it works for both parties involved.

Is Teixeira a rental for the Angels? Maybe, maybe not. Scott Boras is from Orange County, Cali where the Angels play and he has good ties within their front office, so it is more than possible that the Angels can re-up their slugger beyond this season.

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Yesterday, I started a new, 12-day segment in which I will predict each game in the SEC schedule.

Let’s get crackin’ with the game two’s.

Upset of the Week:

Arkansas 24 UL-Monroe 30

Arkansas has next to nothing on paper and traveling to Monroe, I see UL-Monroe shocking the SEC again and making Bobby Petrino 0-2.


Blowout of the Week:

Georgia 55 Central Michigan 6

Two cupcakes down, two blowouts in a row for the Dawgs.

Other Scores:

LSU 49 Troy 13

Florida 27 Miami 23

Kentucky 31 Norfolk State 12

South Carolina 34 Vanderbilt 13

Tennessee 44 UAB 17

Alabama 35 Tulane 0

Auburn 41 Southern Miss 9

Ole Miss 14 Wake Forest 24

Mississippi State 52 Southeastern Louisiana 3

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It’s Top three time in our MMA list.

Today’s fighter does not reside in the “A-League”, the UFC, but he has dominated throughout his career, no matter who has been put in front of him.

What’s next for this man is uncertain at the moment, but a rumored date with Randy Couture down the line would be hands-down the highest selling fight in MMA history.

No. 3 best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world: Fedor Emelianenko – Fedor has been in the octagon
just more than 5:00 minutes in his last three fights and has scored first round knockouts in five of his past six fights.

The former Pride and now current Affliction heavyweight has been at the top of his weight class for nearly a decade, having a 29-1-1 career with the only loss coming eight years ago.

With each win becoming more and more dominant, some say Emelianenko has no more competition inside his sport, a compliment that makes him No. 3 on our list.

No. 2 tomorrow.

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Headlines:

Favre faxes reinstatement letter – This is the most publicized letter in the history of the US Postal Office. Hopefully this brings this whole issue closer to its end.

Ichiro reaches 3,000 hits in career – If Ichiro gets to 3,000 MLB hits, he will possibly have to go down as the best hitter of all-time.

Donaghy gets 15 months prison – The infamous rogue referee got his day in court. I think his sentence is fair. Yes, he was guilty of the most severe gambling scandal of recent memory. But he also helped the NBA a lot in its quest to rid this problem from the game forever.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

I don’t think this one will ever get old.

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That’s it for me today, people.

Have a great day!

The big news of the day comes from major league baseball. The poor got poorer yesterday as the Atlanta Braves placed both their ace pitcher Tim Hudson and their best hitter Chipper Jones on the DL with Hudson being out for the season with ligament damage in his throwing elbow.

What a year for the depleted Braves who have been without John Smoltz, Peter Moylan, Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzales, Mike Hampton and now Jones and Hudson.

That’s a lot of talent on the shelf and this makes the Braves now definite sellers at the trade deadline.

With that being said, yesterday, I promised you guys a look at my opinion of the buyers and sellers at the deadline. Today, I will give you my sellers beginning in the National League:

NL East Sellers:

Atlanta Braves – With the Hudson injury, the Braves are done. They ideally would like to part ways with Mark Teixiera, but they may not be able to find a suitor and may have to eat the final two months of his deal.

Players most likely to be dealt:
Mark Kotsay
Will Ohman

Washington Nationals
– The Nats have been done since May and will be looking to get prospects.

Players most likely to be dealt:
Austin Kearns
Odalis Perez
Luis Ayala

NL Central Sellers:

Cincinnati Reds – The Reds have a chance to be very active, having what everyone wants: powerful corner outfielders.

Players most likely to be dealt:
Adam Dunn
David Weathers
Bronson Arroyo

Houston Astros – The Stros were buyers in getting Randy Wolf, although I have no clue why. But if the right deal comes forth, I expect the Stros to sell for youth.

Players most likely to be dealt:
Mark Loretta
David Newhan
Darin Erstad

Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates already sold Xavier Nady to the Yankees, but they have more pieces that will be attractive to teams before the deadline.

Players most likely to be dealt:
Jason Bay
Jack Wilson
Zach Duke

NL West:
San Francisco Giants – The Giants are a train wreck looking for pieces to build around Tim Lincecum

Players most likely to be dealt:

Brian Wilson
Dave Roberts
Rich Aurilia

San Diego Padres – The Pads are going nowhere fast and can help themselves at the deadline.

Players most likely to be dealt:

Greg Maddux

Scott Hairston

Heath Bell

I’ll give you the AL tomorrow.
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I will begin a new feature called the SEC Puzzle today in which I will predict each SEC team’s entire schedule one game at a time.

Today, let’s tackle the opening game predictions.

Week One Game of the Week:

Alabama 17
Clemson 33

This game will have all of the Week One luster as both teams may be in the preseason Top 25. But I see Clemson as having too much for the Tide and walking away with a comfortable win.

Week One Upset of the Week:

Tennessee 28
UCLA 31

Tennessee has two huge disadvantages going into this one. The first is the travel hangover. The second is with a new regime at UCLA, the Vols have nothing concrete to prepare for. Those two factors make this one an upset in my eyes.
Week One Blowout of the Week:

Georgia 48
Georgia Southern 0

A top three team vs. a cupcake = a rout. Expect Georgia’s backups early in the second half.
The Rest:
LSU 44
Appalachian State 17

Florida 56
Hawaii 10

Kentucky 27
Louisville 37

South Carolina 31
NC State 13

Vanderbilt 13
Miami (OH) 23

Arkansas 38
Western Illinois 6

Auburn 44
UL-Monroe 10
Ole Miss 21
Memphis 16

Mississippi State 34
La Tech 14

I’ll give you all Week Two tomorrow.
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We are down to the Final Four in our countdown of the best of the best in the MMA world.

Today’s fighter needs no introduction, so let’s hop right into it.

No. 4 best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Artist: Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira

The current UF C heavyweight champion comes into our list at number four after a successful career in PRIDE and a two-fight winning streak in UFC, including a submission win against Tim Sylvia to win the heavyweight title.


Nogueira is next scheduled to coach in an upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter before taking on Frank Mir.

The one hurdle Nogueira is yet to clear? Fedor Emelianenko, who has a 2-0-1 record against Nogueira.

Top three time tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Gymnast Hamm not going to Beijing
– Sad news and a big hurt for the USA Olympic team as Hamm is the best the USA’s got. Hopefully the others can pick up the slack.


Payton frustrated with DT Ellis’ holdout
– What team owns the highest drafted unsigned player? You guessed it: the Saints. Let’s hope this doesn’t impede Ellis’ progress, because he is much needed. Message to Mr. Benson: Open your wallets for once in your life and pay the man.

Diamondbacks close to acquiring Teixiera – Just a rumor for now, but if so, a huge get for the D-Backs who already have one of the best 1-2 punches at the top of their rotation for playoff time.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

New fans will be singing this song elsewhere if the rumors are indeed true.

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That’s all for me today. Have a good Tuesday.

Okay, so a week or so back, I wrote a long opinion article on my feelings about guys like James Posey, who was then in contract negotiations with his current team the New Orleans Hornets, and their journeymen like careers, playing for the highest bidder each year in order to rack up as many rings as possible without forming a bond with the fans in a single city they play in.

Well, in a strange twist, there’s a new bidder in town for role players like Posey, and he doesn’t just offer deals for MLE (Mid Level Exception) guys.

Enter European professional basketball.

As if the NBA free agent market wasn’t unpredictable enough, it just got more interesting with the recent signing of former Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Childress to Euroleague powerhouse Olympiacos.

Yes, Josh Childress who was the drafted 6th overall in 2004 .

Yes, Josh Childress who was the 6th man on an Atlanta Hawks team who took the eventual NBA Champion Boston Celtics to seven games this year.

Yes, Josh Childress who is going on only his 4th year in the NBA, but has already developed into quite a important role player.

Yes, that guy just left the NBA for the Euroleague. Well, not just the Euroleague, but the Euroleague, the beautiful women of Greece, and an unprecedented 20 million dollar contract.

Wow. 20 million dollars after taxes. A three year deal, so roughly 6.5 million dollars a deal. All this for a guy who doesn’t even start. However, he’s exactly what the European teams are trying to attract; he’s young, tall, and extremely athletic, a rarity in the Euroleague.

While this may only seem like a minor loss in the eyes of the league, it can be looked as the beginning of something that potentially may be a big problem.

In the summer of 2010, the free agent will be buzzing louder than maybe ever before. Why? Because the heir to the basketball throne, LeBron James will be a free agent, should he not renegotiate with Cleveland between now and then, a move that most do not see him making, considering the favorable amount of attention he is getting from both the New York Knicks, and the now-New Jersey-but soon to be if Jay Z has any say-Brooklyn Nets. Now we all know LeBron is from Ohio, but it’s also well documented that he and Mr. Carter (Jay Z’s government name) have a very friendly relationship. Many think he will bolt for the big lights of NYC come 2010.

But imagine this. James, whose made it very well known he wants to be a billionaire, may have a new suitor in the form of any one of the Euroleague clubs. If a club can afford to give Josh Childress $20 million over three years, imagine the bidding war for James.

$75 million over two years?  $250 million over 4 years?  I know it seems crazy now, but this may soon be a reality. I’m not 100% positive, but I don’t think the Euroleague has a salary cap it must follow. Could you imagine the game’s youngest, most talented player, jumping ship and leaving the NBA for the one thing it can’t give him, more money?

If you don’t believe the Europeans won’t shell out for the goods, think again. In 2007, rap sensation 50 Cent went on a European tour that spanned nearly two months. His nightly salary? Anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million dollars a night. Yes, I said nightly, and yes, I said 1 million.

His average show fee in America?

Roughly $100,000.

Even current “best rapper alive” Louisiana native Lil Wayne went on his 1st European tour earlier this year. When asked about why he finally decided to cross the pond to headline his own tour and do promotion in Europe, he simply responded, “Money.”

So if they’re going to shell out big money to see a guy perform once, what makes you think they won’t shell out more to see someone who might the greatest performer of his craft for a year?

You don’t have to answer that. No, not you.

Well, not unless your name is David Stern.

Stern’s dream to have players from the NATIONAL (see definition of national) Basketball Association play home and away games in other countries might come true.

Problem is, they might not be playing for the NBA anymore.

Hey folks. I apologize for a late update on Sunday. I had the entire thing completed in time to get it up in its usual time, but a weather-caused power outage caused me to get it out way late.

Anywho, I got a lot to say today, so let’s get the party started.

Today is Football Monday, so without a lack of a headline story on the table, let’s get cranking. In the past Monday’s, I have broken down the top quarterback and running back depth charts throughout the SEC. But today, I will switch gears a little bit. In the spirit of the preseason, I will give you teams 25-15 in my preseason Top 25 and also give you my predictions for two NFL divisions.

Preseason 25-15:

25. Alabama – Big recruiting = big strides in year two for Saban’s Tide
24. Penn State – Joe Pa looks to make a run in the Big 10 in what will be his last season
23. Pitt – Only LSU ended their season on a higher note than Pitt did
22. Oregon – A lot of talent gone from last year, but stockpile is deep
21. Wake Forest – This team just wins
20. South Carolina – I just think this is the year the Cocks break out
19. Texas Tech – Some people have them far, far higher, but we’ll believe it when we see it
18. South Florida – Slowing becoming the most established program in Florida
17. Illinois – Most athletic offensive team in the country
16. Tennessee – Sleepers to win the Eastern Division
15. BYU – Could go undefeated and then get bulldozed in a BCS game
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Now for the NFL stuff. Here are my picks in the AFC East and AFC South:

AFC East:

1. Patriots – Too much Brady, too little competition. Projected record: 13-3
2. Jets – I put them second because they may get Favre. Without him, they’re behind Buffalo. Projected Record: From 10-6 to 6-10 depends on Favre situation
3. Bills – An upstart in the NFL but not enough talent yet. Projected record: 7-9
4. Dolphins – Cowboys with Parcells = 9-7. Cowboys without Parcells = 13-3. ‘Nuff said. Projected record: 3-13

AFC South:
1. Jaguars – Yes, the Jaguars. Restocked wide outs put the Jaguars over the top of the aging Colts. Projected record: 12-4
2. Colts – Manning injury woes and Harrison health problems put the Colts in second. Projected record: 11-5
3. Texans – Could this be the year they finally make the playoffs? Projected record: 8-8
4. Titans – Will this team ever get Vince Young some help? Projected record: 7-9

We’ll keep this going later in the week.
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The big story outside of Green Bay today was that Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez said prior to the team’s 9-2 romp of the Yankees that he would welcome a trade out of Boston if the situation presented itself at the trade deadline.


I am a fan of the Sox, but it’s probably time for Manny to go. He is one of the greatest hitters of my generation and he has two World Series rings, but he is at an age, 34, where he is beginning to have problems putting his money where his mouth is on the diamond. I think the Sox should sell him away while he still has value, because I see him taking a major drop in the coming years.
If something breaks, I’ll be all over it. The baseball trade deadline is one of my favorite days of the year.

Chances Manny actually moves:
7 percent

I’ll give more percentages tomorrow for some of the other big names on the market.
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After a day off from the MMA list, let’s hope back to it. Today we get into the Top Five and we are really starting to tackle the cream of the crop in the MMA world. Today’s man is currently wearing UFC gold and could be as high as No. 1 on someone’s list depending on who you talk to.

But we have this man at No. 5 for the time being.

No. 5 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world: Georges St. Pierre

I watched GSP get destroyed a little more than a year ago with my own two eyes by Matt Serra in Houston, dropping St. Pierre from the ranks of UFC’s elites and having some questioning whether the UFC Welterweight Champion was as dominant as some originally thought.


But 15 months later and with wins against Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes and Serra now under his belt, there is not much doubt who the best Welterweight in the world is.

Next up for GSP will be arguably his biggest challenge of his career: An August 9 meeting between the champion and contender Jon Fitch, who comes into the fight red-hot with a smoking 15 fight winning streak.

No. 4 comes your way tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Favre a no-show at camp for now – Will this ever just go away?

Nadal wins fifth straight tournament – Nadal is hands-down the best player in the world. Federer you say? Bounced in the third round of this same event.

Johnson wins at Indy – I actually watched this race with intention of writing about it upon request from a contributing member. Good race in all. But can someone in the know more about the sport tell me how to fix the tire issues on this track? It would be sad to see one of the sport’s stars lost in an accident because of a tire.
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YouTube Video of the Day:

This is a few days old, but wow. Just wow.


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That’s all for me.

Have a great Monday!

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has dropped the ball again. After saying on the air that former LSU standout Glenn Dorsey was the Top 10 pick most likely to have an extended holdout, Dorsey busted ole Mort’s bubble yesterday, inking a five year deal with the Chiefs worth more than $50 million.

Rarely in today’s age of sports is an athlete actually worth the money, but Dorsey is a million dollar prospect both on and off the field.

On the field, Dorsey is the last person to leave practice and the first player to arrive while dumping his heart and soul into every play. Off the field, Dorsey is just as valuable as he is hands down one of the most approachable and personable of all of LSU’s players from this past season.

I am happy for Glenn and his family. For those of you who watch the NFL but do not religiously cheer for a certain squad, keep an eye on the Chiefs as they also have former LSU standout Dwayne Bowe who had a terrific rookie season in 2007.

It’s always good to see LSU guys do well, especially when they are like Glenn and deserve to do well, so Geaux Chiefs!
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Yesterday I gave to you the writer’s predictions for the SEC this season. Today, it’s my turn.

I see the SEC West as a mess. I see Auburn, LSU and Alabama all as near equals with Mississippi State nipping at the big three’s heels. LSU is the most talented top-to-bottom of the three squads, but the old saying is that if you have two quarterbacks, then you really do not have any quarterbacks, so their position at the top to me is a bit rusty. Here is my breakdown for the 2008 season out west.

1. Auburn – LSU has a better team by year’s end, but not in Week 4 when they play.
2. LSU – Hatch and Lee = Marcus Randall. Marcus Randall = subpar season (by LSU’s standards) in 2004
3. Alabama – Just not enough depth yet
4. Mississippi State – Can beat any of 1-3 on any given Saturday
5. Ole Miss – Helpless
6. Arkansas – Even more helpless. No McFadden + No Jones = possible 0-8 SEC record

The East is extremely top heavy and is probably the tougher of the two leagues on paper with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee all arguably as strong as any Western Division team. For an Eastern Division pick, I am rolling with Mr. Tebow and Co.

1. Florida – Florida and Georgia are a dead-tie. But I like the Gators over the Dawgs in their head-to-head to avenge Georgia’s classless antics in this past season’s matchup.
2. Georgia – Will tie the Gators in the league, but lose the tiebreaker via head-to-head.
3. South Carolina – This is the year we see major strides from the ole ball coach
4. Tennessee – Could a fourth place finish spell the end for Fulmer?
5. Vanderbilt – Helpless
6. Kentucky – Bye Bye Woodson = Bye Bye relevance.

SEC Champ: Florida – Too much Tebow and Harvin. This is the year the Gators again win the SEC.
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I will put off the MMA list for a day because time dictates I keep this update a little shorter than usual, so let’s get straight to headlines.

Headlines:

Margarito beats Cotto by knockout – Wow, what a fight. Few fights live up to the billing, but this one definitely did. It’s high time Margarito gets the dap he does worldwide, because that dude can fight.

http://sports.yahoo.com/box/news;_ylt=AiFPhb7UZcSVScxHXctk0Y2dCIh4?slug=ap-cotto-margarito&prov=ap&type=lgns

Phillies spoil Hampton’s return and win 10-9 – I flipped through the channels and saw Mike Hampton pitching. Is this true? Or was my Friday night really that hard on the liver?

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap;_ylt=Ao9vIyY_m0nCz7InCBqe8hY5nYcB?gid=280726122&prov=ap

Brewers share NL Central lead – The Brewers are the best team in baseball right now. I doubted the Sabathia trade, but I seem to be wrong so far. They are playing great baseball.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap;_ylt=AtrJzHVG4xgihkMDqE16sOk5nYcB?gid=280726108&prov=ap
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YouTube Video of the Day:

There will never be another Will Ferrell.

That’s all for me. I hope all of you are having good weekends.

Everyday my top story can be something or another about Brett Favre. Because of that cluster at the top, I have stayed away from the saga for a while, but I will dig back into it today.

According to ESPN, Favre has informed the Packers that he plans to report to training camp in an attempt to call Green Bay’s bluff. The team has said in the past they would welcome Favre to the team if he is willing to serve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup. But Favre has said in the past that he would prefer to be released or traded, so the veteran QB plans to show up to camp and hope that the media circus he generates will be enough to cause the Packers to wipe their hands free of him.


ESPN also reported that the Packers have been fielding offers for Favre and that the reigning NFC runners-up want a first round draft pick for Favre.

The Jets have been one team interested in the future Hall of Famer as they have major quarterback issues of their own with neither Chad Pennington nor Kellen Clemens having proven capable of holding down the fort.

But I still think the most likely suitor for Favre will be the Bucs as they are currently having contract issues with current starter Jeff Garcia and they are the only team interested who is in “win-now” mode, which will be a must for Favre.

Either way, this situation will only get more sticky as the days go on and I will try to keep you updated as best I can and let you know my opinion on the situation as it unfolds.
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The second big story of the day today came from the SEC Preseason Football Media Days as sportswriters across the conference gave their preseason predictions.

Despite being the reigning national champions, LSU is predicted to finish second to Auburn in the West, receiving 21 first-place votes to Auburn’s 48.

But the real surprise comes in the East where Georgia, many’s pick to be preseason No. 1 was picked to finish second in the division behind Florida.

I, personally, whole-heartedly agree. I see Georgia and Florida as a dead-heat in the talent department, but I think the Gators will romp the Bulldogs in their head-to-head matchup because of the Bulldogs’ classless antics in the teams’ matchup this past season in which the entire Bulldog team paraded the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

Here are the rest of the picks as decided by the writers. Before we discount anything, let us remember that they accurately picked LSU to win the SEC this past season.

SEC West:
Auburn (48 )
LSU (21)
Alabama
Mississippi State
Ole Miss (1)
Arkansas

SEC East:
Florida (45)
Georgia (23)
Tennessee (2)
South Carolina
Kentucky
Vanderbilt

Note to reader: Who picked Ole Miss? Seriously.
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We will continue our countdown to seek out the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world today. Today’s selection has a lot in common with Rodney Dangerfield in that he is always solid, but just can not get any respect.

But if this man continues to perform the way he has in his past two fights, he will beat respect out of his opponents.

No. 6 best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world: Forrest Griffin

Forrest is like the San Antonio Spurs if the UFC in that he often gets lost behind some of the superstars of his weight class, but despite the lack of notoriety, Griffin just keeps winning. Currently the champion in arguably UFC’s most competitive division, Griffin knocked Rampage Jackson off his perch earlier in the month, dominating the former champion in a unanimous decision win.


In his previous fight before knocking off Jackson, Griffin submitted Mauricio Rua with a rear naked choke, so despite what some of the haters may be claiming, Griffin is not “lucking” into wins. The dude is really “that good,” and it’s time fans of the sport realize that.

We will hop into the Top 5 tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Yankees acquire Nady
– On the same night the Yanks got closer to the Sox with a 1-0 win, they also acquired the hottest bat on the market in the .330 hitting Nady. I’m telling you guys, look out for the Yanks. This team can win the entire American League if they get enough from Mike Mussina and Joba down the stretch.

Cowboys to waive WR Glenn – I am a big Cowboys fan, and I can say I love this move. Glenn has done nothing for the team but get paid for little output. With Terrell Owens and Jason Witten getting the majority of the balls, the team does not need a multi-million dollar question mark.

Team USA romps Canada – These guys are good. Sure, Canada is not much of a squad, but these guys are good. When LeBron James returns from his ankle injury, I can see the United States romping and routing their way to a gold medal in Beijing.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

I caution you against some of the language in this one. I’ve seen this one 1,000 times, but it’s still equally funny every time.

That’s all for me.

Have a great weekend

I will make today a “Baseball Friday” as our top story of the day came from Queens as the Mets beat the Phillies 3-1 to take the NL East lead with nearly 60 games to go in the season.

I will not talk about this game much, but what I will do now is give you my official predictions for the divisions and the postseason.

I am a man who loves credit when I am right, but also admits when I am wrong. In March, I predicted the following:

NL East: Braves
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wildcard: Padres

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Mariners
AL Wildcard: Tigers

Boy, did I ever strike out with the Padres and Mariners and my entire AL prediction list is a complete mess.

But anyway, find me a guy who picked the Rays and I will find you a liar, so here are my picks for the final 60 games of the year.

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Brewers
NL West: Rockies
NL Wildcard: Cubs

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Angels
AL Wildcard: Yankees

NL Champ: Brewers
AL Champ: Angels
World Series Champ: Angels

If it is indeed a Brewers/Angels Fall Classic, what a pitcher’s treat. CC Sabathia has been lights-out since moving to Milwaukee and with he and Ben Sheets going against the fabulous Angels bullpen, baseball fans will be in for a treat.

Just as a bonus:
NL MVP: Ryan Howard – Sure, the dude will strike out 200+ times and sure, his average is below .250, but there is no one that means more to their club’s success than Howard does and his hot streak will help the Phillies hold off the choke-artist Mets.

NL Cy Young: CC Sabathia – This one is a stretch, but hear me out. What spells value more than a dude who is 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in four NL starts? If Sabathia sniffs 10-11 wins in the NL and keeps his ERA below 2.50, voters will have to consider him for the award.

AL MVP: Josh Hamilton – This is the lock of all locks. Hamilton’s story combined with his home run derby performance makes gullible sports writers like myself attracted to this kid, even though his team will be out of contention the last two months of the season.

AL Cy Young:
Mike Mussina – Again, the Moose will probably not win the award, but there is no one pitcher who means more to their club than Mussina. Without Mussina’s 13 wins, the Yankees would be 10-11 games back and would be sellers at the trade deadline. Instead, they are peaking at the right time and are ready to make a push for the postseason.
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We had a football-heavy slate yesterday, so I breezed through Football Thursday. But today, our depth chart preview is back and today we are breaking down the linebackers.

The LSU linebacker crop is very talented at the top of the depth chart, but they can not afford to suffer any long-term injuries as LSU has very inexperienced backups.

But if healthy, there will not be a more athlete group in the nation.

Starting Outside Linebackers:
Perry Riley

6’1 225 junior

Riley will finally get his place in the sun after playing as a reserve for the past two seasons and serving as one of LSU’s primary special team players. The Ellenwood, GA native recorded 24 tackles this past season, including a team-high seven against Louisiana Tech. Riley will be relied heavily upon for the first time in his career, but he has passed every test given to him as a reserve.

Kelvin Sheppard

6’3 228 sophomore

The “other 11” is the only 11 this season after spending this past season as one of LSU’s best special team players. Sheppard playing sparingly this past season after backing up Ali Highsmith, but made plays when called upon, having 21 tackles with two forced fumbles and pass deflections on the season.

Others vying for playing time:

Kellen Theriot 6’1 228 freshman
Ryan Baker 6’0 210 freshman
Shomari Clemons 6’2 215 freshman
Ace Foyil 6’3 229 junior

Starting Middle Linebacker:

Darry Beckwith

6’1 225 senior

Beckwith is not only the captain of the LSU linebackers, but he is one of the captains of the entire roster, having started in 23 games in the past two seasons. Beckwith was one of many Tigers slowed by injury at the end of the 2007 season, but despite playing in pain, one can argue Beckwith is the reason the Tigers won the National Championship this past season as the Baton Rouge native intercepted an Erik Ainge pass with the Vols driving deep into LSU territory in the SEC Championship Game.

Others expected to receive playing time:
Jacob Cutrera 6’4 225 junior
Kyle Prater 6’1 208 freshman

Cutrera will receive a lot of playing time for LSU this season at all the linebacker spots as he is LSU’s most experienced reserve linebacker.
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Yesterday our MMA list took care of a future Hall of Famer in the sport and today we get into the Top 7. Today we move from a proven commodity to a youngster in the sport.

No. 7 best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Artist: Urijah Faber

Faber is the current WEC Featherweight Champion and has been arguably the best fighting champion in all of MMA having successfully defended his crown five times in the past 18 months with three of his five defenses ending in the first round.


In his most recent bout, Faber gained more “street cred” in the sport, dominating Jens Pulver by unanimous decision to again retain his title.

Many pundits have Faber higher on their pound for pound lists because of how well he has controlled the Featherweight division, but we chose to keep Faber a little lower on the list because he has yet to dominate multiple classes like some of the other stars higher on the list.

We will give you No. 6 tomorrow.
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Headlines:


10 players, one coach suspended in WNBA brawl
– All-in-all, what a joke. Candace Parker starts a fight and gets one game. Lisa Leslie tries to break up a fight and also gets one game? Get real. If the NBA tried to pull shenanigans like this . . ., then they would have ratings like the WNBA does.

Pack may put off retiring Favre’s jersey – Ya think? I think the ceremony loses some of its luster, especially if Number Four is suiting up for the Packers’ opponent, the Vikings in Week 1.


Warriors re-sign Ellis to $66M deal
– Good get for the Warriors as Ellis has long been one of the most underrated players in the league. With BD gone, this becomes Ellis’ team and I expect big things from the former high school star.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

Remember these guys? The closest thing to them play an exhibition tonight on ESPN against Canada. I will be watching. This team got game.


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That’s it for me. TGIF to you all!

For the second time this week, the big news of the day comes from the hometown NFL team as the Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with Pro Bowl wide receiver Marquis Colston on a three-year contract extension.

The extension ties down the Saints young and fabulous receiver for three extra seasons and also avoids what had the makings of a potentially ugly contract situation in the future as the dominant receiver was still making late-round money but giving first-round production.


All-in-all, this is arguably the best move the Saints have made all offseason. It is no surprise Colston would be loyal to the only team to give him a chance to play in the NFL, but it is still great on the Saints’ part to cool the situation before things got heated in the future.

So all-in-all, a great first day of camp for the Saints.
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Les Miles took the podium today at the SEC Preseason Media Day press conferences and talked for more than a half hour about the Tigers’ season.

You can find the full transcript at http://www.lsusports.net, but I have pulled some of what I feel to be some of Miles’ most memorable and telling quotes of the day.

On if the team has added pressure from being the defending national champions:
“The ’08 is where we’re at. We’re not defending. We’re not dealing with rankings. This is a brand new year. If we’re defending, come see the trophy, it’s in our trophy case. We’re not defending it; it’s there. We got a brand new team.”

On the team’s quarterback play:

“I think Jarrett Lee, Andrew Hatch, both guys had good springs. Both guys are learning the offense. They had an entire summer of study where the receiving core, gathered them, ran the passing that we run, really helped identify to our quarterbacks where they’re gonna be. I think they’ve made good progress through the summer. I’m not going to go by Jordan Jefferson, a true freshman, a guy who will may have to play. We have three quarterbacks on campus that have grant and aids.”

On the team’s offensive line:

“ It has to be a big, strong advantage for us. I want it to be one of the more physical lines in the country.”

On the team’s situation at punter:
“Brady Dalfrey will be the new punter, it appears. Has had a great summer. He will develop as two-a-days come on.”

On returning to the Swamp to play Florida:

“If I had to look back on the last three years, maybe the game that we played, you know, not well was the Florida game. I just want to go back to Florida and say, Okay, let’s play well.”

On dismissing Ryan Perrilloux:

“First of all, any time you get rid of a student athlete, it’s not something that you enjoy. You don’t look necessarily at the real positives. I certainly wish him the very best and hope that he takes this lesson and goes on.”

Much more at http://www.lsusports.net

I recognize today is Football Thursday, but I will hold off on my linebacker preview until tomorrow because our top two stories of the day were both from the gridiron.
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It’s time to get into the Elite Eight in our quest to find the best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Artist.

Yesterday, we went on a Rampage and tackled Rampage Jackson. Today we go old-school and roll with the Natural.

No. 8 best pound-for-pound MMA fighter: Randy Couture

Couture has been in the UFC since the old-fashioned tournament days, winning the UFC 13 heavyweight tournament in 1997.

In his decade-long career, the natural has reached the summit of the heavyweight division twice and also the peak of the light heavyweight division, before retiring a year ago after picking apart Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74.


At 45, Couture has only a few fights left in his tank. But the same people who consider the Natural to be over the hill are the same folks who lost their money two years ago when the Natural ripped Tim Sylvia limb from limb to regain the UFC heavyweight championship.

It is unknown if Couture will ever get his current contract dispute with the UFC worked out, but the veteran still has many pay per view cards to headline should he choose to do so.

No. 7 tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Goodell watching Favre situation – Ah, yes, Roger Goodell. An expert at sticking his nose into places it doesn’t belong. Let’s see, with Adam Jones not in trouble and Chris Henry found not guilty, there is no one for Goodell to wrongfully assume to be guilty before their trials, so he sticks his nose in another place it does not belong.

Hester skips Bears camp in holdout – The Bears better get this right fast, because Hester is their everything on offense and special teams. Without him, they better hope the defense can put a lot of points on the board.

Sabathia 4-0 after 3-hitter – Wow, has CC been ridiculous or what? Is it possible that he can win the Cy Young? If he stays this hot and wins 10-11 games in the NL, he has to be considered.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

This is simple and straight forward.

Is your blood pumping yet?


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That’s all for me today, folks. Have a great Thursday!

P.S. We are only around $75 or so short of our goal and are nearly able to purchase our software. Special thanks goes out to those who have helped. I can not tell you how much you’re helping and how much it means to the Sports Palace.

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