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According to a source within the LSU football team, both the LSU coaching staff is currently operating and preparing as though they will go into the season with Andrew Hatch as the team’s starting quarterback.

While a lot can happen between now and then and freshman Jarrett Lee can make up ground in fall practices, my source is my strongest one, so it is rock solid that Hatch is the leader in the clubhouse right now.

“Hatch has emerged as the clear front-runner,” the source said. “He will more than likely be the starter to begin the season.”
What this means for LSU is not yet certain as no one has really seen Hatch play “under the lights.” I can tell you from watching practices that Hatch is a tough kid with a lot of grit who can take a major lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

In terms of playing style, he is a poor-man’s Matt Mauck to me in that he relies on his ability to run a lot and he is an accurate short passer with a deceptively good deep-ball arm.

This season is looking to be a mirror image of LSU’s last post-national championship season in 2004. I suspect Lee and Hatch will share time all season, much like Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell did in 04, with the team relying on pounding the ball on the ground . . . Again similar to 2004 when the Tigers had several games with 250+ yards on the ground as a team, including against Ole Miss when Alley Broussard set the single-game rushing yardage record at LSU.

That strategy is fine and that strategy is one that LSU can win with, but only if Hatch or Lee is capable of keeping eight and nine guys out of the box, so whomever Miles deems to have the hot hand will have to have a big impact this season.

More on this story as I find out more.
The big story today in the sports world comes out of the NBA as the 76ers first made a trade with the Timberwolves and shipped the contracts of Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth to the Wolves. The move was a cap-clearer to have more money to offer prize free agent Elton Brand.

Mission accomplished.

Despite public pleading from Brand to lure Baron Davis from the Warriors to the Clippers, Brand spurred the Clippers and signed a maximum contract in Philly, agreeing to a five year deal worth in excess of $80 million.

What a snake job by Elton Brand. For months and months, Brand lied to everyone, saying all it took was the Clippers to make a commitment to winning for him to re-up with the team. Well, Mr. Brand, what do you call Baron Davis? The Clippers would have been a legit threat in the Western Conference if Brand would have lived up to his word, but instead the yellow-streaked Dukie did what Dukie’s do and lied to everyone and sold his soul for the bigger payday. See also: Carlos Boozer, who if you all remember right lied and told the Cavs he was resigning with the team before abruptly agreeing to a deal with the Jazz.

But for the 76ers, the move is a franchise changer. Brand is one of four active players in the NBA right now who averages 20 points and 10 boards per game in his career, joining Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal. Paired with Samuel Dalembert in the paint and joining a starting lineup with Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala and budding star Thaddeus Young make the Sixers a favorite to challenge the Celtics in the East. Let us not forget that without Brand this past season, this team gave the Pistons all they could handle in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs.

But this all reeks of fish to me and I am rooting for the Brand to Philly experiment to fail.

My last Top 10 list was a beast to tackle as darn near every SEC coach can make a case to be at or near the top of any coaching list.

But the list we’re beginning today will be just as difficult and just as polarizing.

Today, I give you No. 10 on my new list: The most difficult college football stadiums to play in as a visiting team.

No. 10: Doak Campbell Stadium (Florida State):

What’s better than having the mascot of your opponent plant a fire-lit spear in the middle of the field to spark fear into the eyes of a visiting team? While that tradition has since faded a bit and so have the Noles winning ways in recent years, there is no better ticket in town than Doak Campbell when the Noles are taking on in-state rivals Florida or Miami.

I was going to keep this stadium off the list but, the team’s one-time 54 game home winning streak that spanned 10 seasons earned the Seminole’s home a spot in our list.

Check back for No. 9 tomorrow.


Cubs acquire Harden from A’s – This is just as big as the Sabathia move for me, because when Harden is on, he is as light’s out as anyone. Any grip the Cubs lost to the Brew Crew earlier in the week, they got back now.

Vick files for bankruptcy protection – How the mighty have fallen. For a man who once signed a nine figure deal with Nike, I bet Vick never expected to be in court for a bankruptcy hearing. But then again, I guess in the same breathe, had he known he would have been in court for fighting dogs, he would have maybe spent his money a little more carefully in the first place.

Top recruit Brandon Jennings to bypass college, go pro – It’s finally happened. With the emergence of top leagues overseas, I have been waiting for this to happen and Mr. Jennings is the first to take the leap. I, personally, wish him well. It isn’t his fault the NBA has a ridiculous age-limit. Why is it that a kid can be old enough to be sent to Iraq, but not old enough to aim for his dream of playing in the NBA?

That’s all for me today, folks. I will keep you posted on the Hatch story as more breaks.

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July 2008