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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Smoke needs to light a fire at LSU

Les Miles was a virtual unknown before last season. Then, in his first year as LSU's head football coach, he helped the Tigers overcome distractions ranging from Hurricane Katrina to a potential quarterback controversy while leading them to an 11-2 record and a 40-3 rout of the Miami Hurricanes in the Peach Bowl.

John Brady, who hasn't had much success in recent years at LSU, and Pokey Chatman, who has emerged from longtime coach Sue Gunter's shadow, have coached the men's and women's basketball teams, respectively, to undefeated SEC records this season.

Then there's the track and field squad, gymnastics team, tennis, rugby, soccer -- you name it and LSU has seen success in the past few years.

So who's the odd-man out? Tigers baseball coach Smoke Laval.

Laval, whose team was ranked second in the SEC West in a preseason poll compiled by league coaches released Tuesday, has not lived up to expectations and a once-proud program is no longer a perennial contender for the College World Series. Sure they've had two appearances in the four years Laval has coached there (in addition to an SEC title), but getting to Omaha isn't the big accomplishment -- winning it is.

Miles had a great season. There's a chance LSU's men's and women's basketball teams could each win the SEC and make noise in the NCAA tournaments. The gymnastics team? Gimme a break - they're the best ever. So the pressure's on Laval to get his program on par with the other sports at LSU and back where it should be -- atop college baseball.

Controversy good for women's game

Leave it to Kim Mulkey-Robertson to know how to make a 31-point loss interesting.

Just throw in a tiff with a rival coach and even folks who aren't women's basketball fans will rubberneck at the train wreck.

This, though, is good for women's basketball. Heck, it's good for men's basketball.

In the SEC's glory days, these dust-ups occurred all the time. Remember Dale Brown vs. Rick Pitino? Or Pitino and Richard Williams?

Controversy can be good. In this instance, it has people caring about the womens' game. And that's something that may not have happened in years past.

From Blowout to Throwdown?

The LSU women drop 88 points on Baylor and then Coach Chats and the KM-R almost drop the gloves at midcourt??? How classic would that have been?

If Chats said something before the start of the game, how does Kimmy hang onto to it for an entire game? Get over it! Clearly, Chats got into her head and Baylor got run out of the building. Reminds me of when Baylor won the national championship last year and someone asked Mulkey-Robertson if she ever thought she could win it all in Waco. Kim almost dropped a S-bomb right there on live TV, but caught herself.

Look KM-R, you're the coach of the defending national champions; start trying to act the part.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Lack of commitment

LSU lost a commitment today when Mobile, Ala., wide receiver London Crawford switched his commitment from LSU to Arkansas.

And we wonder why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce?

I don't know what the proper word to use in recruiting is but commitment isn't it. Just like last year when Ryan Perrilloux was "committed'' to the University of Texas until signing day and then signed with LSU.

As it is, the final three days of each recruiting season are often highlited by players switching commitments.

Here's a thought: If you don't know where you want to go to school don't announce a commitment.

Super Blah

We're supposed to be jacked up about the Super Bowl this year. At least that's what ESPN tells us.

Sorry, not happening here.

I realize there are Pittsburgh Steelers fans here left over from the Terry Bradshaw days. But I just feel no emotion - one way or the other about that team. And this comes from a guy who has covered a game at old Three Rivers Stadium and the last Super Bowl appearance by the team.
As for the Seahawks, they've got a great team. But really, who around here follows Seattle?

So come Super Bowl Sunday, I'm sure we'll have the game on TV in the office. But caring? Not me.

When does baseball start?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why worry Aggies?

Saw where Texas A&M is upset over the Seattle Seahawks' use of the "12th Man" designation for its fans. This is just ridiculous. A&M has bigger problems to worry about than two words. Just ask Florida State if it feels "ripped off" watching Atlanta Braves fans do the Tomahawk Chop at Turner Field. A&M needs to fix the program that so loves the "12th Man" first rather than worry about a team that went 4-2 at home with both losses coming to the only "good" teams on their home schedule.

UPDATE: On Thursday, the Aggies and Seahawks were in court fighting over the 12th Man moniker. Yet another waste of our precious judicial system's time and resources.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kobe's encore

Kobe Bryant returns to the court tonight for the first game after his 81-point effort Sunday. Will he chuck up almost 50 shots again? If he wasn't so selfish, and if his image wasn't so tainted, people would actually care about what he's doing.

LHSAA does the right thing

Kudos to Teurlings Catholic principal Mike Boyer for tabling the six amendment proposal that would have forced a vote on the elimination of spring football. The LHSAA has it right as it is now. If schools don't want to have spring football, then they don't have to have it. The choice belongs to the school. Yes, you can try to make an argument for eliminating spring football. But more harm than good is done that way. Leaving the decision to the schools is the right way to go.