It’s no longer June and I think one can say the dog-days of summer are officially upon us.

Yesterday the greatest athletic director in the history of LSU and one of the greatest sports minds to ever grace the LSU campus, Skip Bertman served his last day as the LSU AD, turning over the reigns to former Duke AD Joe Alleva.

Bertman’s era was truly the Golden Era of LSU sports as all 20 sports advanced to the postseason under Bertman and more than five LSU sports reached the pinnacle of their respective sports and finished in the national Top 5.

For most, Bertman’s legacy as LSU AD will be the man who brought two crystal balls to the LSU football team, but for me, Bertman’s legacy is more the balance that he brought to the LSU Athletic Department.

Bertman emphasized and realized that the only thing better than winning the SEC and beating up on Alabama and Florida in football is winning the SEC and beating up on Alabama and Florida in all sports, so Bertman allocated more budget money to smaller sports and as a result, LSU has become a national power in all sports.

The laundry list of accolades accomplished by Bertman’s Tigers is long and impressive, but here are the highlights in my eyes.

1. Two football national titles
2. Men and women’s track dominance
3. Five women’s Final Fours
4. Men’s basketball Final Four
5. Baseball return to prominence
6. Gymnastics first ever Super Six
7. Soccer first ever NCAA Tournament win

It’s been a fun ride and you will be missed, Skipper. I do not know the M.O. on Joe Alleva, but odds are he faces an uphill battle if he wants to match the success of the man before him. But the good thing for Alleva is he is inheriting a gold mine.
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The NBA free agency period began a few hours ago and several big fish are on the market. But despite the talent, not a lot of movement is expected because very few teams have cash to offer to free agents. Here are three teams to keep an eye on in the free agent period.

Philly – The 76ers have a big-time free agent of their own in Andre Iguodala to take care of, but they will have a basket full of money to offer to other players on the market if they choose to move away from AI. If things get sour in the AI negotiations, could Philly make a run at Elton Brand or maybe even Gilbert Arenas?

LA Clippers – For the same reasons as the 76ers. The Clippers have Elton Brand and Corey Maggette who can bolt for greener pastures, so if things go wrong for the Clippers, they can also make a run at West Coast boy Gilbert Arenas. Reports also say the Clippers are hot on the trail of Baron Davis, who opted out of his deal with the Warriors.

New Orleans– The Hornets traded their first round draft pick for a basketball full of Portland-money and with the renewed cash, the Hornets are in position to sign and trade to get a player to help their team. The juicy rumor is Ben Gordon. The problem in the way is whether or not Chicago would be willing to make a sign and trade agreement with the Bees to make it work.
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It’s July 1, who did you have as your pick to be the team with the best record in baseball? I’d care to say no one would have picked the Tampa Bay Rays, but they are indeed the team leading baseball following a 5-4 win against the Red Sox last night.

This team is legit. They have speed, power, starters and relievers. The only thing they do not have is experience and a fan base.

I do not know if this team will win the AL East or if they will even make the playoffs, but they are a legit contender and they will play deep into the fall at or near the top of the standings. I, for one and glad, too. It’s high time someone challenged the Yankees the right way — with in-house talent and scouting, not with hefty checks.
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Countdown:

So far all three of the coaches in our countdown have resided in the SEC West. Today, we will dip into the east for the first time.

The No. 7 coach is a former national champion and has led his program to several BCS bowl bids in his career. But in the past few seasons, his team has sagged a big behind the rest of the league, dropping him to No. 7 in this highly competitive sweepstakes.

No. 7 coach: Phil Fulmer

Fulmer took over as the coach of the Vols in mid-season in 1992 and began his career on a high note, finishing the 1992 season with four consecutive wins. Fulmer then signed arguably the greatest Volunteer of all-time, Peyton Manning and won seven conference games three seasons in a row from 1995-97, including the SEC Title in 1997.

Following Manning’s graduation, Fulmer had his finest hour, winning the National Championship in 1998 behind the solid quarterback play of Tee Martin.

But since Martin’s departure, the Vols have fallen on difficult times (by their standards), having nine-season SEC Championship drought.

But Fulmer is still one of the SEC’s best and the ring on his finger is proof of that. It is just a testiment to the SEC that someone so renowned is just No. 7 in his own league.

No. 6 comes tomorrow.
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Headlines:


Woods: Left knee has been Injured entire PGA career
– So Tiger has been hurt for the past 10 years, huh? What does this mean for the rest of the world now that he will finally be healthy? Grand slam anyone?

Landis loses final appeal
– Will this guy just go away already? In a sport that is desperately trying to get clean, Landis just keeps sticking his name in the news to remind everyone of the dark and gloomy past. Just go away.

Jamison signs to $50 M deal, Arenas looking for $100 M – Big money being poked out by the Wizz-kids. I may be in the minority here, but I am of the belief that they should have blown this ship up and started over. Will they ever win a championship with Arenas? No. Then why give him 100 million?

That’s all for me, folks.

Have a great Tuesday.

P.S. The Troy football site is still not working here. I will switch computers tomm and give you all their preview tomm.

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