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Former LSU athlete Xavier Carter advanced to the finals in the 200m qualifying at the US Olympic Trials yesterday, marking the second event that the former LSU wide receiver and track star advances to the final in.

Earlier in the Trials, Carter made it to the finals of the 100m dash, but finished short of the Olympic team with a poor final run.

But the 200m is Carter’s race and I think he will have about a 50-50 shot to get inside of the field for Beijing.

Carter will have one less big fish to swim against in the final as gold medal favorite Tyson Gay pulled up lame in his semifinal run and did not make it to the Final.

People here do not always give Carter the love that he deserves, because of a couple of run-ins with the law and because he was on the scene in a couple of former LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux’s infamous mishaps, but Carter did one thing yesterday that made me proud to call him a Tiger.

With Gay on the track in excruciating pain and with the runners who qualified for the Final celebrating on the track, Carter stepped out of the lime-light and went and saw how Gay was doing to see if he was feeling well.

When asked about it after the race, Carter said that although Gay is a competitor in the grand scheme of things in the professional track world, he is also still a teammate of his when it comes to the Olympic world as they are both competing to represent the same country.

Kudos to you, Xavier and I hope you the first to cross the tape tomorrow in your Final.

This weekend is indeed rivalry weekend in baseball and two of the biggest rivalries of them all had dramatic, ninth inning finishes yesterday.

In the Bronx, the Yankees got out of a bases loaded, no out jam to preserve a 2-1 lead. The best closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera entered the game with a two-run lead for the Bombers, but gave up a run before loading the bases full of Bo Sox with no one out.

But Rivera, as he always seems to do, retired Coco Crisp, Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo to ice the win for the Bombers.

Tomorrow’s fourth and final game in the series will pit veteran knuckle baller Tim Wakefield against the Yankees rookie Joba Chamberlin.

In St. Louis, the Cardinals scored three ninth inning runs to overcome a 4-2 deficit to take the win 5-4.

Rick Ankiel threw the final shovel of dirt on the Cubbies, scorching a 2-run single into center to give the Red Birds the win.

Of bigger concern for the Cubbies is Wood’s status as closer. Sure, he has been great with just a 2.91 ERA including today’s three run ERA killer, but Wood has also blown five saves on the season. I don’t necessarily think that the Cubs will go out and get a closer at the trade deadline, but I do expect them to look to make a move or two to shore up their bullpen just in case Wood continues to fall in love with bad habits.

Speaking of the trade deadline, ESPN is reporting that the CC Sabathia sweepstakes are heading up and that the Milwaukee Brewers are the front runners to land the Indians’ tank pitcher. Chalk me up as one who does not get why the Brew Crew are so head over heels for Sabathia. For one, the Brewers need the prospects. With other ace Ben Sheets also free agent eligible, it seems as though they should be trying to keep a refurbished farm system in case both Sheets and Sabathia would walk.

I understand the need to win now, but I do not understand doing so when it endangers the next five and maybe 10 years of your franchise. If they Brewers do this, they better be very sure that they can bring back one of the two aces.

We are now into the top three of our SEC coaches list and each of the three finalists have a national championship in the past five seasons.

Today, we make a trip into the SEC West with a man who is not loved in the hearts of those in Baton Rouge, although he was once the toast of the town, similar to his current position in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

No. 3 coach: Nick Saban

Saban developed a long NFL pedigree in the 1980s and 1990s before becoming a college guy in 1995 with Michigan State where he won 35 games, including a 9-2 season in 1999. Nick began his head coaching career in 1990 with Toledo, but returned to the NFL to sharpen his skills.

Saban left for Baton Rouge following that season where he made it to five straight bowls, winning three of the five, including the 2003 BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma in New Orleans.

Saban then left the Bengals and spent two seasons in Miami before returning to the college game with Alabama last season where his Tide finished 7-6.

With all of the three remaining coaches on the board, they can all finish 1-2-3 in any order without much debate from me, but Saban takes No. 3 for me, because of his teams’ inability to play focused football all 12 games of a season.

With LSU, Saban had a home loss to UAB, a last second win against Troy and a Hail Mary loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl, while also needing a Hail Mary to beat a far outmatched Kentucky team in 2002.

At Alabama, the Tide continued to play sometimes uninspired football, losing to Mississippi State with the dagger being a home loss to ULM.

Saban probably trumps the two remaining coaches on the board in recruiting, but I put him at the three-spot, although on any given day, I might put him No. 1 or No. 2. It’s really that close.

No. 2 comes tomorrow.


Venus beats Serena in Wimbledon final
– Even the biggest dufus can get one right every now and again. I picked Venus and she pulled it out for me, marking the first athlete to overcome the infamous Gisclair jinx. Venus and Serena are hands-down the two best players in the world when they dedicating themselves to their sport, something they seem to be doing more of now than in the past few years.

Duhon signs with the Knicks – Feel good story for an overall good guy. Duhon is a fellow Louisiana guy who has always done things with the utmost class in his career. I surely hope he can go in and take care of a woeful situation with the Knicks.

Bills’ Kyle Williams agrees to extension – Good to see an LSU guy getting paid. Williams was told his whole career that he was too small, too short, too weak, etc… You name it, he heard it. But the former Tiger has plodded along at every level and has done what he knows best: excelled. All the best, Kyle.

That’s it for today. Have a good Sunday.

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July 2008
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