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Sunday, July 26, 2009


It's hard for college baseball coaches to get big-time national exposure.

So for LSU coach Paul Mainieri, his trip to Chicago may end up being priceless when you consider the exposure he got on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Besides getting to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' during the seventh inning stretch, Mainieri got to hang around and talk to the Cubs announcers on a WGN game. On a Sunday. When baseball fans with cable watch the Cubs game.

Mainieri got to talk about LSU players and former players. And while baseball recruiting isn't the same as football or basketball, exposure is exposure and with a national title and some more national TV exposure, it's good to be Paul Mainieri.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bit of a surprise

When the results of the preseason media poll were released today at SEC Media Days, it was a bit of a surprise.

Alabama was picked first, LSU was picked second and Ole Miss was picked third in the West.

That Alabama was picked first isn't that surprising to me. No, it's not because of the back-to-back recruiting classes. It's because every Bubba Gump with a pen and a notebook is at SEC Media Days voting for the home state schools.

You could probably look it up, but I'd be willing to bet that Alabama and Auburn have fared better than any other teams in the preseason football polls at SEC Media Days.

Anyway, I was a little bit surprised that LSU was picked second. It's not that I don't think LSU has the talent to contend in the West. But Ole Miss has an experienced team with a proven quarterback returning.

I guess there are some that won't believe in the Rebels until they actually get to Atlanta.

LSU, meanwhile, could finish anywhere from first to third in the West, in my opinion. And that is exactly what makes this one of the more intriguing LSU seasons in recent years.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LSU up next

After two days and eight schools, LSU will finally be up on Friday at SEC Media Days.

You can bet Les Miles will be asked if he voted for Tim Tebow for All-SEC quarterback. Miles tweeted today that he did.

You can also bet he'll be asked about his coaching staff changes and what happened in 2008.

Past that, I doubt seriously Miles drops any bombshells on Friday. But you never know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mainieri at Wrigley

So what was supposed to be a trip to Chicago to see the Cubs play this weekend, turns out to be a little more for LSU coach Paul Mainieri.

He'll sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame'' on Sunday at Wrigley Field.

I guess it's good having friends in high places -- Mainieri and general manager Jim Hendry are longtime friends. And LSU certainly has its influence on the Cubs roster with Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot.

Just some more good exposure for LSU's baseball program.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's almost here

Football is almost here. SEC Media Days begin on Wednesday. LSU is up on Friday.

My only quibble is with LSU not bringing Chad Jones as one of the two players. From a media standpoint, there probably isn't a more intriguing player to bring to Birmingham. He could talk about the new defense. He could talk about winning the College World Series. He could talk football and he could talk baseball.

Of course, that's probably why he'll be in Baton Rouge this week. Coaches are notorious for wanting everything to be under their control and the interviews, shall we say, boring. I would imagine talk of a football/baseball decision is that last thing Les Miles wants on the agenda for Jones.

Still, it would have been great to have seen the dreadlocked one in Birmingham on the big stage.

(And don't give me that Hoover stuff, it's still Birmingham to me).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recruiting update

I've got a story going tomorrow on LSU's recruiting class ranking No. 5 by Scout.com.

To some, it may not seem like a big deal. But when you consider this is a down year in the state -- and I truly believe that -- then it is quite the accomplishment.

Now here is the good news for LSU fans. At least one national recruiting analyst thinks the Tigers should have top-10 classes every year.

Scout.com's Scott Kennedy had this to say about LSU:

"I'm never surprised when LSU is high in the rankings. Should the Tigers take care of their own state, which in itself is a top-10 talent producing state every year in sheer number of signees, then LSU should consistently be a top-10 recruiting team.''

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cecil Collins update

South Florida Sun Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde has a good column on former LSU running back Cecil Collins.

You can read it here .

Collins was always one of the most fascinating players in LSU history. You may remember how he burst on the scene nationally at a time when LSU wasn't the player it is now on the national stage.

A lot of fans pinned their hopes on Collins at the time and that proved to be a huge mistake.

Anyway, he's served a lot of time and will soon be getting out. And for better or worse, he has a place in LSU history.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Marcus Thornton update

I know it's only summer league -- and it should be taken with a grain of salt -- but ...

Former LSU star Marcus Thornton scored 26 points on Friday in a summer league game with the New Orleans Hornets' team.

Now, do I think Thornton is going to go out and light people up for 26 in the NBA as a rookie? No.

But I don't think being a second-round pick is an NBA death sentence for him, either. Big Baby has done well as a second-round pick. Paul Millsap as well.

If anything, it should be an encouraging start for Thornton -- and the Hornets.

Friday, July 10, 2009

At the movies

The fact that Nick Saban will be "coaching'' LSU in the movie version of the "The Blind Side'' book about Michael Oher is well-documented.

ESPN has a story here about Saban and the other coaches at different schools talking about "coaching'' their former schools. Besides Saban at Ole Miss, there is Houston Nutt at Arkansas and Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss.

Anyway, the new nugget is that Glen "Big Baby'' Davis actually auditioned for the part of Oher.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

More recruiting

Jamie Newberg of Rivals.com was asked for his top-five recruiting classes at the moment.

The good news for LSU fans is he has the Tigers ranked in the top-five at No. 5.

The bad news is Florida is ranked No. 2 and Alabama is ranked No. 3. (Texas is No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 4).

Anyway, here's what Newberg had to say about LSU's class as it stands now:

"Coach Les Miles and his staff consistently finish at or near the top of the recruiting rankings, and it will happen again for the Class of 2010. The Tigers have commitments from seven four-star prospects, and you can bet more are on the way. The Tigers have done thing with a nice blend of in-state and out-0f-state recruiting.''

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A smart class

I've bemoaned the lack of big-time players and the number of those players in this recruiting class coming up.

But I'll say this, the Class of 2010 may be the smartest class in Louisiana I can remember.

Heck, Vanderbilt already has a couple of commitments from Louisiana kids. And LSU has commitments from Eric Reid (4.75 GPA) and Ronnie Vinson (1,530 SAT score).

That doesn't even go into all of the 20-25 ACT scores I've come across from different players in the state.

What does it mean?

I guess LSU should be OK on the APR at this rate.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Belated congrats

Belated congratulations to Todd Walker for being inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Lubbock, Texas.

Walker not only had one of the sweetest swings in LSU history, he was also one of the school's better clutch hitters. He homered in the 1993 national title game to set the tone (along with a not-so-bad performance on the mound from Brett Laxton) and also had a clutch hit earlier in the tournament against Long Beach State.

Hard to believe that it was 16 years ago and that Walker is now a part of a rich tradition instead of a college kid chasing .400.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Some football talk

You know football season is just around the corner when the temperature is over 100 degrees for oh, two, three, four straight days.

And that's where we are in Louisiana these days.

College Football News.com had its preview of LSU's upcoming season. You can click on the link here.

They may be a tad bit optimistic. While Jordan Jefferson certainly played well against Georgia Tech in the bowl game, he has all of two starts in his career -- none in Tiger Stadium.

I don't think this is a national championship contending year even though the schedule flips over with Florida coming to Tiger Stadium.

That being said, I do think LSU can contend at some point during the time Jefferson and Russell Shepard are at LSU.

However, at this point, it's all speculation. We'll know way more about this team in two months.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

You get what you pay for these days

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva sent an open letter to Tigers fans. In his letter, he points out that every LSU team reached the postseason.

Very good for LSU fans.

He also points out that LSU's success comes in part because, as Alleva wrote, " we are able to fund our sports teams at the highest level.''

Now comes the not-so-good news for LSU fans.

Alleva writes, "Ultimately we will have to look at increased costs for tickets and parking at athletic events.''

Translation: You'll be paying more -- again -- to see the Tigers play.

Of course, many will gladly pay more as long as the results keep coming. And that is the pressure on the athletic department -- to keep winning so the dollars keep coming.

LSU is just like any other athletic program in the country. You get what you pay for these days.