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.

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