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We have a lot of readers here. More than I ever thought we’d have.

Today is the day following an LSU football game. Normally, I’d be jam piling today’s update with all things LSU. But instead, I just want to ask that you out of state viewers pray for Louisiana.

If things stay as they are now, things will not be so great for us . . . AGAIN.

I am in a Florida hotel room. I am safe. Are you?

If there is anyone out there who did not leave yet, please, I am begging you, get out! The storm could hit anywhere on the Louisiana coast and no one is safe. Are you willing to play Russian Roulette?

Please, get out and spare yourself. We lost 1,000 for Katrina. That’s 1,000 too many when we have nearly a week’s notice to get out of dodge.

You are all in my prayers.

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GAMEDAY!!!

Guys, I will not be as detailed and as in depth as I would be on a “normal” gameday, but because of the storm and all of that business, I will be a little shorter today than I normally would be on a Saturday update.

But anyway, it’s officially gameday and even though the opening kickoff is a little earlier than anyone ever expected, LSU will take on Appalachian State tomorrow morning in a special matinée kickoff at 10:00 a.m.

I gave you guys the keys to victory for each team yesterday and I stand by my choices for both sides.

The question I get from everyone is “who will the delay help?”

In my opinion, it helps LSU more for the following reasons.

1. The Butterfly Effect – Andrew Hatch, Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson are not exactly the kings of experience. I think being able to just wake up and go play, will help them, rather than having to sit around and wait all day long.

2. Heat – It will be hotter now than it was going to be before and I already told you guys that I think the heat is a big advantage for LSU. So keep an eye on the number of players cramping on both sides as that can play a big role in the game.

Official Prediction:

I think the morning kickoff combined with it being a season opener will make the better part of the first half very, very sloppy and pretty difficult to watch. But I think come the middle of the 2nd quarter and down the home stretch, I think LSU’s brute strength and super depth will dominate the game and I think LSU will head to the lockers with around a 10 point advantage and then cruise to about a 24 point lead before coasting.

Official Prediction:

LSU 34

ASU 9

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Now to the other topics at hand. Hurricane Gustav is pouncing out in the Caribbean and while the new forecast track has continued to shift Gustav further and further to the West, it will still be a major problem to Coastal Louisiana if the storm continues on its current track.

I never have been and never will be a meteorologist, but my gut tells me that Gustav will veer westward and make landfall around the Lake Charles area.

But either way, everyone who reads here is in my prayers tonight and let’s hope God sends this storm elsewhere.

I will update following tomorrow’s game with a full, in-depth recap.

I know the past 24-36 hours have been stressful for everyone. Let’s hope the Tigers can take our minds off the stresses of Gustav for a few hours and then we can get more good news later in the day with a little push to the west.

God Bless!

This week’s edition of MMA Weekly is pretty much the exact opposite of last week’s edition, and focuses more on smaller organizations than last week’s UFC filled post. Today, I’ll give my 1st evaluations of the Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock fight slated for October 4 on CBS.

Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock

It’s official folks. Oct. 4, 2008 will see the battle between young and old live on CBS as Kimbo Slice (3-0) takes on UFC veteran ex-champion Ken Shamrock (26-13-2) as part of EliteXC’s 3rd live network TV broadcast.

Personally, I don’t see this fight leaving the 1st round. And while most of you may be thinking, “Shamrock’s got this in the bag,” or “Kimbo’s gonna murder this old guy,” it’s really not that simple. Let’s look at some factors.

Kimbo’s only been tested once. In three professional fights, only one has gone past the 1st round, and he won via a controversial stoppage over career tomato can James Thompson. Slice looked out of shape during the Thompson fight, and on the ground, it became very evident he was not comfortable. Against Shamrock, the ground is the last place Kimbo will want to be.

Ken Shamrock in 2008 is no longer the “World’s Most Dangerous Man”. He has not won a fight since 2004, and his last 5 fights have all been losses via KO or TKO in the first round. Needless to say, he hasn’t looked sharp in any of these fights either, and his last loss was to a Robert Berry, a guy I’ve honestly never heard of.

Age v. Experience. At 44 years old, Shamrock is TEN years older than Slice. Now is this were a 30 year old in his prime fighting a 20 year old, this wouldn’t seem like such a big ordeal, or even as much as a 34 year old fighting a 24 year old, but this is different. And while Shamrock’s career fight total is more than ten times larger than Slice’s, he’s also taken a ton of beatings recently.

The Boxer (brawler in this case) v. the Wrestler (grappler in this case). While the argument isn’t completely exact, this is pretty much what I think we’re gonna see. If Ken Shamrock wants any chance at beating Slice and saving not only face, but his career as well, he’s gonna claw and scratch Kimbo to the ground. Slice may not be a striking genius, but the man can throw a punch. A hard, fast, knockout punch. And history tells us that Shamrock’s jaw may be making the transition to glass.

The S on my Chest (Size, Speed, Strength). Let’s be honest. Shamrock has no physical advantages in this fight. Slice is 3 inches taller and 35 lbs. heavier than Shamrock. Shamrock has made a career at fighting around 205 lbs. whereas Slice is usually around the 235 lb. mark. Also, Shamrock has naturally gotten slower over the years, so his ability to shoot in on Slice will not be as effective.

All things considered, right now, I’m leaning toward Kimbo Slice via TKO. But that’s subject to change.

Have a nice weekend!

P.S. Keep Louisiana in your prayers!

LSU officials ruled earlier today that the LSU/ASU game will be moved ahead from 4:00 p.m. to 10 a.m.

There is now officially one day until LSU kicks off its college football season and the Tigers have been shielded from the outside world’s Gustav Doom and Gloom and have focused solely on Appalachian State this week.

I just said it like that to clear up any excuses that will potentially be said if LSU does not play up to par Saturday.

This team is focused on the task at hand and Appalachian State is the only thing on their mind. They will be ready to play Saturday and if not, it has nothing to do with Gustav. More on him later.

But I gave keys to victory for every SEC school in their respective Week 1 matchups earlier in the week. But today, I shall hop into this matchup.

Keys for LSU:

1. Control the trenches – LSU can very easily lose this game if they do not pound the football down the Mountaineers’ throats every chance they get. If LSU is unable to run it, they may be unable to win it.

2. Manage depth – LSU has more than 85 scholarship players. And each and every one of them may be needed in the 105+ heat indexes forecast for kickoff. LSU is deeper than the Mountaineers at every position. They have to utilize that.

Keys for ASU:

1. Early success – LSU is not a team equipped to play from behind this season. If the Mountaineers can jump on LSU and throw them on their heels early, they have a real chance. If not, they will have their starters out of the game by the third quarter.

2. Second Threat – Armanti Edwards will probably get his. But will anyone else get theirs? The LSU defense is too good and too talented to lose a 11-1 matchup, so the Mountaineers have to get some other production elsewhere.

I will give you my official predictions about it all tomorrow.
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The thing everyone wants to know is if there will even be a game at all on Saturday and as best I can tell you guys, it still is. I think that both teams do not want the headache of pushing back their opener, so I do not think under any circumstances the opener will be cancelled. If anything, I think it may be pushed up to say a noon or 1 p.m. opener. Either way, just keep your eyes open so you all can be prepared if something is announced.
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I am going to begin a new Top 10 list today after completing my last one yesterday. This one will be a little different.

Top 10 Most Overrated Professional Athletes

No. 10 Most Overrated Professional Athlete – Jake Delhomme

All you ever hear about is “man, the Saints messed up getting rid Jake and going long-term with Aaron.” And while yes, the contract extension for Brooks may have in hindsight been a mistake, Jake was not the answer either. Despite taking a defense-oriented team to the Superbowl in 2003, Delhomme has done a whole lot of nothing since, spending more time in the trainer’s room than on the field.

Delhomme is definitely a starting quarterback in the NFL. But he is nowhere near the higher-end level player ESPN makes us believe. He is probably outside of the Top 20 in the list of NFL starters and is definitely outside of the Top 15.

No. 9 tomorrow.
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NFL game:

NFC South:
Carolina Panthers – 7-9 – The Panthers will be better. Just not back to their Superbowl form of years past. Definitely not with Steve Smith out for the first four weeks.

Atlanta Falcons – 3-13- Matt Ryan. Seriously? Matt Ryan?
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NFC North:
Chicago Bears – 6-10 – Kyle Orton? Really? If the Bears had anyone legit at QB, they would be a 10-12 win team, but not Kyle Orton.
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NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?
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NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.

Arizona Cardinals – 10-6 – Yes, the Cardinals will be 10-6. They got better significantly in the trenches in the draft and I think Early Doucet will be the sleeper of the entire NFL Draft, sneaking into slot alongside Boldin and Fitzgerald. I see the Cardinals raking in easy four easy wins against the 49ers and Rams.
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AFC North:
Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5 – Willie Parker is the most underrated player in the NFL. And the Steelers also have a more seasoned Ben Roethlisberger under center for what is quietly one of the best offenses in the NFL. If the Steelers get more defense than they project, they are a sleeper Superbowl team.
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AFC South:
Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.
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AFC East:
Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

New York Jets – 9-7 – Brett Favre makes this team a threat. But they are a hair short of championship caliber this season.

New England Patriots – 12-4 – The Patriots went 16-0 this year and they could darn well make another run at perfection again. But I think last year taught them that it’s most important to peak in January and not in October, so I think they will be more conservative during the season.

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AFC West:

Denver Broncos – 8-8 – Jay Cutler has made strides, despite my player hating. But the Broncos just do not have the talent they used to have. Losing Brandon Marshall, probably their only NFL-worthy receiver for a few games, doesn’t help matters much.
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More blanks removed tomorrow.

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I told you all we’d do our football pick’em game. Well here were our staff’s picks for this week.

1. Vanderbilt +4 (underdog) at. Miami (OH)

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Vanderbilt

2. S. Carolina -13.5 vs. NC State

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: S. Carolina

3. Michigan -3.5 vs. Utah

Cody and Scotty: Michigan Casey and Richard: Utah

4. Mississippi -7.5 vs. Memphis

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Ole Miss

5. Mississippi State -8 at Louisiana Tech

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Mississippi State

6. Oklahoma State -7 at Washington State

Cody, Richard and Scotty: Washington State Casey: Oklahoma State

7. Florida -35.5 vs. Hawaii

Casey, Cody and Richard: Florida Scotty: Hawaii

8. USC -19.5 at Virginia

Casey, Cody and Richard: USC Scotty: UVA

9. Alabama +5 at Clemson

Casey and Cody: Bama Richard and Scotty: Clemson

10. Kentucky +3.5 at Louisville

Casey, Richard and Scotty: Louisville Cody: Kentucky

11. Tennessee -7.5 at UCLA

Casey and Cody: Tennessee Richard and Scotty: UCLA

12. Colorado -11 at Colorado State

Cody and Scotty: CSU Casey and Richard: CU

13. Texas -24 vs. Florida Atlantic

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Texas

14. Auburn -26.5 vs. UL-Monroe

Cody: Auburn Casey, Richard and Scotty: ULM

15. LSU -25.5 vs. Appalachian State

Scotty: LSU Casey, Cody and Richard: App State

DAY 1 STANDINGS:

Casey 2-0

Cody: 2-0

Richard: 2-0

Scotty 2-0

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Headlines:

NFL reinstates Pac Man Jones – It’s about time when you take into account that he should have never been suspended in the first place.

Top-seeded Ivanovic ousted in Open – Women’s tennis is at a weird crossroads. Does anyone really think Ivanovic is the best player in the world? Of course she isn’t. The Williams sisters are the best. They just do not play often enough to earn the ranking.

Beckett to be examined by Andrews – It could be bye bye Bo-Sox if something is wrong with their ace.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

The LSU football team continued its preparations for the season opener (if it’s played . . . But more on that later) yesterday with another workout.

John Williams continued his work imitating Mountaineers’ quarterback Armanti Edwards and everyone on the squad has been raving about his work ethic and his willingness to play scout team despite being such a highly touted recruit out of high school.

I think that although he may be in the back of the depth chart now, Williams has earned a lot of playing time in the future with his heart this week and if LSU controls Armanti Edwards they way they hope to, he will be the unsung hero that no one will talk about or hear about.

The question I keep getting in emails is about the quarterbacks and the situation really is the same as it’s always been. I see Hatch starting with Lee playing sparingly and then Jefferson mopping up (if necessary).

The other question I am always asked is who each player compares to. And that is also hard to answer, because you can watch a guy all night in practice, but until the bright lights shine, you never know what will happen. So here is my best shot:

Hatch compares the most to Matt Mauck before his injury in that he is fearless (perhaps too much so) and is a short pass and scrambler QB.

Lee compares the most to a guy like a John Parker Wilson or a Brandon Cox in that I do not see him ever becoming the big-time Heisman candidate quarterback. But he can make the throws necessary to win you the games you need to win.

Jefferson is a JaMarcus Russell type with probably less raw talent, but more speed. I do not know if Jefferson will ever blossom to be the quarterback Russell was, but he just makes two or three throws a day that just make you say ‘wow.’

Les Miles hinted he would name a starter on Thursday, but don’t count on it. I think what he meant by naming a starter is that he would privately the team who would be under center.

If I were a betting man (and I am), I would go with:

Hatch: 85%

Lee: 14%

Jefferson 1%

 

But the biggest question right now is whether there will even be a game with TROPICAL STORM Gustav strutting his stuff just outside the Gulf.

I put tropical storm in caps for a reason. I am sick and tired of hearing about the big, massive hurricane that is out there. It’s not that. When it becomes one, then I will worry.

People can say “yeah, but it is supposed to be a Cat 3.” And my response back is that yesterday’s forecast had it as a Cat 2 by now and it’s a mere weak Tropical Storm. So let’s let this play itself out before we panic.

In relation to the football game, LSU officials are monitoring the situation and the last word I heard was that Saturday’s game will be played unless something drastic happens between now and then as Gustav is not even forecast to be in the Gulf of Mexico by the time kickoff takes place Saturday.

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We are doing a pick’em game here. Here’s how it will work. It will be me vs. Richard vs. Cody vs. Scotty each week.

In a normal week, we will pick nine college games, three high school games and three pro games.

But with the college-exclusive week, we will be picking just the college kids, so here is the list of 15 that made the cut.

 

 

1. Vanderbilt +4 (underdog) at. Miami (OH)

2. S. Carolina -13.5 vs. NC State

3. Michigan -3.5 vs. Utah

4. Mississippi -7.5 vs. Memphis

5. Mississippi State -8 at Louisiana Tech

6. Oklahoma State -7 at Washington State

7. Florida -35.5 vs. Hawaii

8. USC -19.5 at Virginia

9. Alabama +5 at Clemson

NOTE: CLEMSON IS HOME TEAM, BUT THE GAME IS AT A NEUTRAL SITE, SO DISCARD HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

10. Kentucky +3.5 at Louisville

11. Tennessee -7.5 at UCLA

12. Colorado -11 at Colorado State

13. Texas -24 vs. Florida Atlantic

14. Auburn -26.5 vs. UL-Monroe

15. LSU -25.5 vs. Appalachian State

If any of you at home want to play, you’re more than welcome. If budget allows, the winner will likely win a prize.

I will post our staff’s picks later today.

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Daily Dime:

I have totally abandoned this game for some reason. Right after I got above .500, too. School has been hectic. But I have time to make a full post tonight, so here goes.

Sure thing of the day:

 Reds vs. Astros +9 (OVER) – I will throw a curveball here and go with an over/under pick here. This game will definitely go above 9 runs as Backe and Harang both . . . can’t get anyone out. I expect to see a 9-7 ball game and I see this as relatively easy money.

Upset of the day:

Phillies +125 vs. Cubs – Cole Hamels and the Phils are riding high after taking care of the Mets. I see them taking down the beast that is the Cubs.

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Top 10:

It’s the last player of this list and this was the hardest yet to complete and it was the first one that I had to change in the middle of the list. I initially had LeBron 1 but this man’s play in the Olympic Gold Medal game just showed me what I should have known all along.

No. 1 NBA player: Kobe Bryant

Kobe grew up in the shadow of the NBA’s most dominant player of all-time and collected three championship rings.

But it has been since O’Neal moved on that Kobe really became his own player and has evolved into the league’s brightest star.

With clutch shot after clutch shot and 50-point game after 50-point game, Kobe has etched his place as a first-ballot hall of famer.

I was going to go with LeBron number 1 and Paul number 2, but Kobe taking the world on his back at the Olympics made me see just how dominant he is and I go with him at the top spot.

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NFL game:

NFC South:
Carolina Panthers – 7-9 – The Panthers will be better. Just not back to their Superbowl form of years past. Definitely not with Steve Smith out for the first four weeks.
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NFC North:
Chicago Bears – 6-10 – Kyle Orton? Really? If the Bears had anyone legit at QB, they would be a 10-12 win team, but not Kyle Orton.
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NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?
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NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.

Arizona Cardinals – 10-6 – Yes, the Cardinals will be 10-6. They got better significantly in the trenches in the draft and I think Early Doucet will be the sleeper of the entire NFL Draft, sneaking into slot alongside Boldin and Fitzgerald. I see the Cardinals raking in easy four easy wins against the 49ers and Rams.
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AFC North:
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AFC South:
Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.
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AFC East:
Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

New York Jets – 9-7 – Brett Favre makes this team a threat. But they are a hair short of championship caliber this season.

New England Patriots – 12-4 – The Patriots went 16-0 this year and they could darn well make another run at perfection again. But I think last year taught them that it’s most important to peak in January and not in October, so I think they will be more conservative during the season.

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AFC West:

Denver Broncos – 8-8 – Jay Cutler has made strides, despite my player hating. But the Broncos just do not have the talent they used to have. Losing Brandon Marshall, probably their only NFL-worthy receiver for a few games, doesn’t help matters much.
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More blanks removed tomorrow.
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Headlines:

Merriman postpones surgery, to play this season – Wow. For such a young man with so much left in the tank, this is a bold and honorable move. I pray he does not endanger his career.

Jags DE Harvey signed $23.8 M deal – Alas the final holdout is in camp. This is all so lame anyway and is all the more reason why the NFL needs a rookie pay scale. What is the difference between $23.75 M and $23.8 M?

Sox complete sweep of Yankees with 11-3 win – The last pile of dirt has been thrown on the Yankees season. No playoffs alas for the Bombers.

YouTube:

 

 

The LSU football team continued its preparations for Saturday’s contest against Appalachian State on Tuesday,
Reports out of Baton Rouge say LSU coach Les Miles may name the team’s starting quarterback on Thursday, but don’t expect that decision to be made public.
Everything I hear from everyone involved is that sophomore Andrew Hatch is still the man for the job and he will get probably 75-80 percent of the reps for LSU.
At tailback, it appears more and more with each passing day that Charles Scott is the man and will get the most reps at that position.

I’ve given in-depth position breakdowns at nearly every position so far. Today, we look at the battle of the DB’s.

LSU: The LSU DB’s are talented and sharp despite their inexperience. The key for this game will be tackling. When the LSU corners have a chance to take a man to the ground, they have to do so. If they don’t, that is when 5-yard plays become 25 yard plays.

ASU: The Mountaineers corners have to stay on their toes and read the LSU offense from the line of scrimmage. If the play is a run, they need to fly to the gaps to help out the linebackers and d-line. If it’s a pass, they have to stay on their men to prevent the big plays. Expect LSU to add deception to that routine with the play-action pass.

Adv: LSU (too much talent)
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SEC:

There is only one more game in the SEC slate to break down this week so here goes.

Tennessee at UCLA 7:00 CDT Monday

Keys for Tennessee:

1. Hit the groung “running” Arian Foster is probably the most underrated player in the SEC. The Volunteers sometimes get too pass-happy. They need to pencil down Foster for 35 touches a game.

2. Forget last California trip – The Vols were manhandled by Cal last year. This is a new season and they need to learn from that experience to win here.

Keys for UCLA:

1.  Sworn to secrecy – UCLA has a new coach and a new offensive coordinator. They have a full range of options they can go to in terms of game planning as the Vols have no film to study on UCLA’s new system. Think Norm Chow is drooling?

2. Conference pride- So much is made about the whole SEC/PAC 10 thing. UCLA has a chance to shut a lot of people up in this game.

Vegas thinks: Tennessee by 7.5
I think: I picked UCLA in this game in my pick’em contest. But I have since had a change of heart. Tennessee wins big.
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Top 10:

There are 2 to go in my NBA list. Neither guy needs introduction. So here goes.

Number 2 NBA player: LeBron James

James came into the NBA with all of the hype in the world and hell, he has been every bit as good as advertised.

But in my eyes, James has evolved from a boy into a man in the past two seasons and has learned how to take his team on his shoulders and will his way to W’s.

LeBron is just so much bigger, so much stronger and so much more athletic than everyone else on the basketball floor at all times. He may be a guard/forward in the program, but he is a defensive end in terms of strength and that has allowed him to evolve into a fabulous NBA player.

No. 1 comes tomorrow.
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NFL game:

NFC South:
Carolina Panthers – 7-9 – The Panthers will be better. Just not back to their Superbowl form of years past. Definitely not with Steve Smith out for the first four weeks.
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NFC North:
Chicago Bears – 6-10 – Kyle Orton? Really? If the Bears had anyone legit at QB, they would be a 10-12 win team, but not Kyle Orton.
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NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?
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NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.
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AFC North:
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AFC South:
Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.
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AFC East:
Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

New York Jets – 9-7 – Brett Favre makes this team a threat. But they are a hair short of championship caliber this season.

New England Patriots – 12-4 – The Patriots went 16-0 this year and they could darn well make another run at perfection again. But I think last year taught them that it’s most important to peak in January and not in October, so I think they will be more conservative during the season.

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AFC West:
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More blanks removed tomorrow.
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I’m pressed for time, so headlines and Youtube are off for today!

Have a good one!

With a running quarterback on the schedule, LSU handed the ball to the strangest of players on Monday to prepare for Appalachian State — freshman cornerback John Williams.

Yes, John Williams, LSU’s ultra athlete who projects to be either a wide out or corner at LSU is doubling as quarterback in practice to help the LSU defense prepare for the dual threat Mountaineer Armanti Edwards.

LSU’s gameplan for Edwards is simple: They want him to throw the football from the pocket.

The Tigers believe that Edwards can beat them when he is throwing on the run and is running the football on what they call “un-broken, broken plays,” but they feel that from the pocket he will be a lame duck.

To make sure that Edwards stays in a box on Saturday, LSU hopes to generate a massive push from their front-four. The believe if that if LSU wins the battle on the lines that they will be able to trick Edwards into interceptions with more players in coverage down the field.

A good dose of news for LSU was that defensive tackle Charles Alexander returned to practice after missing several practices with a sore hamstring. Alexander said he is nearly 80 percent ready and hopes to start Saturday.

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I’ve broken down so many aspects of Saturday’s game and I will continue today with the linebackers.

Linebackers:

LSU – The Tigers have tremendous talent at their starting positions with Darry Beckwith, Perry Riley and Kelvin Sheppard anchoring the ship with reserve Jacob Cutrera serving as the primary backup to each LSU backer. But LSU’s problems lie in linebacker depth and with a quarterback who runs as much as Edwards, it will be tough and vitally important for new coordinators Doug Mallory and Bradley Dale Peveto to keep everyone fresh.

ASU – The strength of the ASU defense is their backers led by All-American Pierre Banks who recorded 100+ tackles this past season. Another kid to look out for in the Mountaineer linebacker corp is DJ Smith who saw time as a starter last season and has looked great for the Mountaineers in fall camp. The ASU backers will be busy Saturday trying to contain LSU’s brutal rushing attack, but they may be up to the task.

Adv: Appalachian State (Pierre Banks could start on darn near every D-I school. LSU’s backers will be good this season. I just don’t like their depth against the Mountaineer’s style of offense).

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One sport is already underway on campus as the LSU soccer team improved to 2-0 on the season last night with a 4-1 home victory over BYU.

These Tigers are for real. After making it to the Round of 32 last season and returning the majority of last season’s squad, LSU is one of the preseason favorites to take home the SEC.

All of the credit in my opinion is owed to Brian Lee, who has instilled the program with a winning mentality and the results have followed.

I know soccer is not the most popular sport around these parts. But if you guys ever have an evening with nothing to do, go check these out these ladies. They are fun to watch.

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Back to football now, here are a couple more breakdowns as we get closer to Thursday’s opening kickoffs.
at 7:00 CDT

Keys for Alabama:

1. Boys become men – Alabama has so many young men on their roster. With ESPN’s College Gameday and the whole world watching, will Bama’s freshmen and sophomores buckle under the heat?

2. Parker Wilson needs to be leader – John Parker Wilson needs to be more like John Elway and less like Wade Wilson for Alabama to have a chance this season. When the Tide folded last season, Parker Wilson was the first person to buckle.

Keys for Clemson:

1. Don’t believe how great you are until you prove it – Clemson has been their own worst enemy in the past 4-5 seasons and have never played well with hype on their side. Well, guess what? Clemson is in the preseason Top 10 and people are expecting big things.

2. Physicality – I can assure you a Nick Saban-coached team will not be afraid to “bring-it” with SEC-style physical play. Clemson needs to up the ante and be willing to punch back or they will be lying on the canvas.

Vegas thinks: Clemson by 5

I think: Clemson makes a statement and rolls over a youthful Alabama squad.

at 2:30 CDT Sunday

Keys for UK:

1. Restock the tool box – No Andre Woodson. No Jacob Tamme. No Rafael Little. The Wildcats need to find new guys to score touchdowns and gain yards.

2. Bring the pain – Louisville is traditionally soft team who wilts when they are hit in the mouth. Kentucky needs to play the way they did against LSU this past season and bring the game to their opponent. If they do so, they will see their opponent’s knees buckle by halftime.

Keys for Louisville:

1. Track shoes – Louisville wants to turn this game into a track meet. The higher scoring the contest gets, the more it fit’s the Cardinals, because the Wildcats do not have enough offensive identity to match them point-for-point.

2. Red Zone offense and defense – Louisville needs to get 6 when they are in striking distance and hold Kentucky to 3 when they are in striking distance. If they do those things, they will win handily.

Vegas thinks:
Louisville by 4

I think: Louisville covers easily at home

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Here are two more previews in my NFL game as that season also gets closer to beginning.

NFC South:

__________

__________

__________

__________

NFC North:

Chicago Bears – 6-10 – Kyle Orton? Really? If the Bears had anyone legit at QB, they would be a 10-12 win team, but not Kyle Orton.

__________

__________

__________

NFC East:

Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?

__________

__________

__________

NFC West:

Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.

__________

__________

__________

AFC North:

__________

__________

__________

__________

AFC South:

Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.

__________

__________

__________

AFC East:

Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

New York Jets – 9-7 – Brett Favre makes this team a threat. But they are a hair short of championship caliber this season.

__________

__________

AFC West:

__________

__________

__________

__________

More blanks removed tomorrow.

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Top 10:

Three people to go in my NBA list. I admit my list has changed after watching the Olympics. Call me a flip-flopper, call me whatever you may, but here is No. 3 on our list.

No. 3 NBA player: Chris Paul

I know I will get heat from this one from my fellow Louisianians who live, breathe and die Chris Paul (only when the Hornets are winning, of course, because when they are not, they don’t go to the games). And Paul is a terrific player, but I see LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as trumping Paul in that they are better defenders.

The thing that helps CP3 in this race is that he is so youthful and if we did this same list 5 years from now, Paul would maybe be a clear-cut number one. But his defense is sometimes a liability. Just ask Coach K who watched Paul give up 20+ points to the Spanish guards in Sunday’s gold medal game.

No. 2 comes tomorrow.

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Headlines:

Giants contact Strahan about return – I hate to say it, but I told you all so. I speculated about this all last night and it appears to be true. I don’t like Strahan and I don’t like people who pretend to retire and then return, so this is a perfect fit for Strahan.

Shamrock to fight Slice at Elite XC card this fall – Cody talked about this earlier and I am sure he will give you his opinion of the fight later. I personally think this could be a pretty even fight because Shamrock is so seasoned and so technically sound where Slice is just a brawler.

Texans’ WR Williams’ career probably over – Williams was injured on a special teams play in Friday’s loss to the Cowboys. I am sorry that this turned out to be so serious and I hope nothing but the best for the player and his family.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

With this man still fighting free agency, he are 10 reasons the Hornets should sign him.

Your eyes are not deceiving you.

The latest rumor, coming from a confidential source inside EliteXC, has stated that Kimbo Slice will be fighting MMA legend and former UFC champion Ken Shamrock. The source has said that the press release is just awaiting approval and should be released sometime later today.

Just last week, Shamrock was no longer being considered as a possible opponent by most, including myself, because he has stated that he was concerned with fighting his brother Frank Shamrock and him only. However, EliteXC was never able to make that fight happen.

The leading candidate for the Slice fight appeared to be Sean Gannon, the only man to have ever “defeated” Slice in any of his famed YouTube battles. The re-match was supposed to be a huge sell for EliteXC’s October 4th card. But like the Shamrock v. Shamrock fight, apparently EliteXC wasn’t able to make that happen either.

I’m still unsure how I feel about this. I personally like Ken Shamrock, and I wish he would have retired after the 3rd Tito Ortiz fight, but I suppose he wants to go out on a win. Do I think he can take Slice? I’m not sure. Yes, he is a UFC and MMA legend, but he hasn’t looked sharp in any of his recent fights, most of which were losses via KO or TKO.

I’m not going to make my pick just yet, but I will say this. This is definitely a smarter move right now for EliteXC, whom many are saying is in financial no man’s land. Signing Gannon and making him a headliner against Slice would have pissed off many MMA faithfuls who already feel that Slice has no right being a main event guy, especially in a fight against another guy whose only famous due to street fighting. By pitting him against Shamrock, at least one of the two fighters has some substantial MMA background.

More on this later this week, when more information becomes available.

We’ve broken down the LSU/ASU game the past few days here at the LSU Sports Palace.

Today, we will continue to do so by breaking down the offensive and defensive line matchups.

Offensive Line:

LSU – LSU has an absolutely beastly offensive line with four returning starters and a potential blue-chipper replacing the one lineman to depart. It is interesting to note that so far in fall practice, the offensive line has been the group that has handled the heat the best. You’d think big, strong 325+ lb guys would fade in the hot weather, but the LSU big boys have gotten stronger as practices have progressed and I can see the Tigers’ offensive line completely wearing down the Appalachian State defensive line.

ASU – The Mountaineers do not have the size the LSU offensive line does and they do not matchup well man-to-man with the LSU defensive line. But they execute very well their zone blocking scheme to open holes for Armanti Edwards and Co. It will be interesting to see how they perform against the best defensive line they have seen possibly in their school’s history.

Adv: LSU

Defensive Line:

LSU – What do Al Woods, Rahim Alem, Drave Nevis and Tremaine Johnson have in common? They all are not capable of starting on the LSU defensive line. That is no knock on those four guys as they are all tremendous football players, but the Tigers’ are deep and strong at all four defensive line positions, which is important, because those four guys will need to generate pressure on Armanti Edwards to allow LSU to drop guys into coverage to defend the passing game.

ASU – Again, it is sort of difficult to judge the Apps defensive line, because they are not an SEC line in terms of strength and size. But the Mountaineers have a quicker, speedier front that takes care of opponents their own size in their conference. The problem is there is no one Herman Johnson’s size in D-II. The Appalachian State defensive line has 3-4 able bodies. But they will need 6-7 able bodies to withstand the LSU offensive line and the heat on Saturday.

Adv: LSU

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We’ve also broken down all of the other SEC action in the past few days. Today we continue to do so with a few other game previews.

vs. 6:00 CDT

Keys for Auburn:

1. Stick to the system – Auburn is going to a new offense — the spread in hopes of finding the magic that teams like Florida and others have found in the past few seasons. But the spread takes a while to master, so if things go bad early, Auburn needs to be patient and stick with it.

2. Stay a mystery – If possibly, Auburn would like to keep all their wrinkles anonymous for as long as possible with an early matchup with LSU on the horizon.

Keys for ULM:

1. Remember the Bama gameplan – ULM beat Alabama by playing steady defense and by playing penalty-free football. ULM is in the same boat again and will need to play near-perfect football. But “impossible” was already achieved once by the Warhawks.

2. No big plays – The spread is predicated to get players in space and to break big plays. ULM must prevent Auburn from having 20, 30 or 40 yard plays as those will prove disastrous.

Vegas thinks: Auburn by 26.5
I think: It will be close to that spread. I am torn here, but I would go with ULM to beat it.

vs. 6:00 CDT

Keys for Ole Miss:

1. Find a back and stick to him – The Rebels lost BenJarvis Green-Ellis and he was their all-everything. Houston Nutt likes to be creative and likes to gameplan for offense. But without a running game, any plan will be in the garbage.

2. Play with fire – Memphis and Ole Miss has become quite a fierce rivalry with recruiting wars hanging in the balance. This is the equivalent of an SEC game for the Rebels, so they need to treat it like one.

Keys for Memphis:

1. Silence the Rebels – Ole Miss’s crowd will be revved up. Memphis needs to avoid a first-round TKO and take the Rebel fans out of the game early.

2. Finish the game – Memphis has been eerily close to closing the deal against Ole Miss so many times in this series in the past few seasons but always came one or two plays short. They need to finish the deal this time.

Vegas thinks: Ole Miss by 8.5

I think: The Rebels have a hard time covering and an even harder time winning. I like Memphis to win this one.

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Daily Dime:

Boo-yeah. Another 2-0 day brings me above .500 for the year. No looking back now as we head into Monday with hopes of taking a big lead on the standings.

Total: 10-8

Sure things: 6-3

Upsets: 4-5

Here is today’s picks as we attempt to win 12 of our first 20 here in this game.

Sure thing of the day:

Twins – 200 vs. Mariners – I doubted Liriano last time out and he burned me. So I will go with him and the red-hot Twins today over the hapless M’s.

Upset of the day:

Houston + 200 vs. the Mets – I have no clue why the lack of love for Houston in this series. The Mets have been big favorites every day. I see the Stros stealing this one.

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I began my NFL preseason picks game yesterday. Let’s continue it today with 2 more teams.

NFC South:

__________

__________

__________

__________

NFC North:

__________

__________

__________

__________

NFC East:

Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?

__________

__________

__________

NFC West:

Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.

__________

__________

__________

AFC North:

__________

__________

__________

__________

AFC South:

Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.

__________

__________

__________

AFC East:

Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

__________

__________

__________

AFC West:

__________

__________

__________

__________

More blanks removed tomorrow.

______________________________

Top 10:

There are three guys to go in our Top 10 list, but I will hold off on that until tomorrow and give a mini Top 5 list all today — The Top 5 storylins of the 2008 Olympic Games.

5. Walsh and May-Treanor win gold again – Is there a better beach volleyball team ever than these two chicks? These two girls are unreal and it was a treat to watch them roll through the Olympics.

4. Bolt “bolts” to 3 golds – I like this guy. Sure, he is cocky, sure he is arrogant. But he can afford to be. He is that much better than everyone else.

3. Chinese gymnast scandal – Those kids are not 16. The IOC can take their investigation and shove it. Those kids are not 16. But they are still amazing, regardless of their age and they put on a show

2. Team USA takes back the gold in men’s hoops – What a game. Spain was a more than worthy challenger. But with the game on the line and the weight of the world on his shoulders, the world’s best player took the game over and rode the Redeem Team home.

1. Phelps wins 8 golds – From blowouts to .001 second wins, Phelps won every way imaginable and stole the show and became the star of these games.

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Headlines:

Umenyiora tears meniscus, done for season – Any chance Michael Strahan comes and rescues the Giants?

Redeem Team takes home gold in shootout with Spain – Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world. Period. It’s really as easy as that. With a team full of stars and all of the pressure in the world on Team USA, guys like LeBron James and Chris Paul deferred to Kobe and he took over and won it for the USA.

Singh beats Garcia in playoff in PGA Tour “playoffs” – Garcia holed about a 25-footer that seemed to seal the win in the first playoff hole, but Vijay matched his putt and then won on the following hole making Garcia the bridesmaid again.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

Encore on Saturday?

The Apps think so.

That’s all for me. Happy Monday, all!

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