Dec 13, 2012

Nov 12, 2012

LSU Bowl Projections

Now that we're nearing the end of the season (only two games left for the Tigers, can you believe it?), fans can start dreaming about their postseason vacations. With Texas A&M's victory over #1 Alabama, LSU's bowl picture has cleared up and become more cloudy all at the same time.

LSU will be going to a top-tiered bowl this year, but exactly which one remains to be seen. LSU's best hopes of securing a BCS berth is to cheer on Florida State when they take on Florida at the end of the season. If LSU can get into the top 4 of the BCS, they are guaranteed a bid, and a likely bid to a new BCS spot - either in Arizona or southern California. Tiger fans will like the sound of that much more than another trip to Jerry's World in Dallas (especially since the Tigers play their again to open next season). 

While the Cotton is probably the most likely scenario, especially with Texas A&M being such a hot commodity after their upset over 'Bama, that top 4 finish assures the Tigers of landing in the BCS and not having a bowl take the lower-ranked Aggies over LSU. If LSU is outside of the top 4, LSU is still an attracted at-large team for BCS bowls, but only if there's no second SEC team in the top 4. Then LSU would be in competition with the loser of Alabama/Georgia SEC title game, Florida, South Carolina or Texas A&M for the BCS at-large spot in either the Fiesta or Rose Bowl. 

Here's a look at where some "experts" have the Tigers playing in January:


- Cotton (Dallas, Texas)

- Fiesta (Glendale, Az.)

Sports Illustrated

- Cotton (Dallas)

College Football News

- Cotton (Dallas)

CBS Sports

- Fiesta (Glandale)

SB Nation

- Outback (Tampa, Fla.)

Oct 8, 2012

Sep 24, 2012

Saints need their mojo back

What is going on around here? The Saints were finally looking like the team we thought they'd be. They were ahead 24-6 over the lowly Chiefs and had the game at hand, then the next thing you know, Saints fans are watching Ryan Succop's field goal sail through the uprights and 0-3 is exactly who the Saints are today.

There's no sugar-coating this, the Saints are a bad team right now. They have no direction and are like a rudderless ship. Of course, that's exactly what they are without head coach Sean Payton.

What was crazy about the Chiefs lost was how bad both the offense and defense looked in the second half. Saints coaches placed mirrors in each player's locker after the Carolina loss last week so there would be no finger pointing and everyone would look at themselves first. Well, I guess the offense wanted a reason to have to look at themselves in the mirror because they joined their atrocious defensive counterparts this week and stunk up the Superdome in the second half.

What happened to this team? The offensive line couldn't block anyone and the receivers have a bad case of the droppsies. Runningbacks can't get more than a few yards and Drew Brees is forcing way too many passes into coverage and suffering interceptions as a result.

That's not even to mention the defense, which is playing some of the worse football Saints fans have seen in the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era. Running backs are all looking like hall of famers and receivers are catching first down after first down with nary a defender in site. Little to no pressure is being put on opposing quarterbacks, and the once beaten down former coordinator Gregg Williams, is now being looked at in a new light, bounty scandals and all.

To not feel left out in the mirror gazing, sure-footed Garrett Hartley missed what could have been the game-sealing field goal in that unbelievable second half as well.

So where do the Saints go from here? These are all professionals and they won't just give up, but the odds and the schedule are against them. Looking at the next few weeks, the schedule is brutal (Green Bay, San Diego, Denver, Philadelphia and Atlanta are five of the next six games).

This may be one of those years where Saints fans can start reciting the old school Saints unofficial slogan, "Wait 'til next year!" Of course, next year can't come soon enough because then, Sean Payton will be walking through the door and the team will have it's mojo back.

Sep 7, 2012

Football is back! The Giants and Cowboys kicked off the regular season this past Wednesday and the rest of the league gets started this weekend. For Saints fans, the start of the season can't come soon enough. With bounty-gate, the ESPN-crafted eavesdropping story and Drew Brees' contract dispute, this offseason is one that fans soon want to forget. Here's a look at my take on how the season will play out: 

NFL Playoffs:
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Houston Texans
AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC West: Oakland Raiders
Wild Cards: Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers

NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
Wild Cards: Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears

AFC Championship: Patriots over Texans
NFC Championship: Packers over Saints

Super Bowl: Packers over Patriots

#1 Pick in 2013 Draft: Cleveland Browns

League Awards:
MVPDrew Brees, QB, Saints
Offensive Player of the YearTom Brady, QB, Patriots
Defensive Player of the YearDeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys
Offensive Rookie of the YearAndrew Luck, QB, Colts
Defensive Rookie of the YearChandler Jones, DE, Patriots
Comeback Player of the YearAdrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
Coach of the YearChan Gailey, Bills

Jul 26, 2012

Dell Demps Still Wheeling and Dealing

Dell Demps still isn't through tweaking the Hornets roster. In yet another solid move in an A+ offseason, the Hornets are acquiring center Robin Lopez and PF Hakim Warrick from the Phoenix Suns in a three-team trade that also involved the Minnesota Timberwolves. Finally, fans and the Times-Picayune can stop complaining about the Hornets lack of a "true" center. While Lopez may not be the long-term answer in the middle (then again, he may actually be), this is still a great move for the team. 

Anthony Davis will get some minutes at center and that may eventually be his position in the pros, but right now he's too fresh and too thin to spend all his time banging with the bigs. Lopez will help in that area. He can man the middle and hopefully, show Davis a few things he's learned about playing center in the NBA.

There's still some details being worked out on the deal. No word yet on if Eric Gordon's heart is being sent back from the Suns, but some articles have the Hornets shipping soon-to-be-retired Brad Miller's contract to Minnesota, while others say this can't be done per the CBA since we just acquired that asset from the Timberwolves themselves a few weeks ago, so Miller may be going to Phoenix. Needless to say, the Hornets aren't giving up much in this deal -- along with Miller, supposedly, NOLA gives up some future 2nd round picks (the same ones from that original Minnesota trade?) and PG Jerome Dyson, who was outplayed in summer league by teammate Brian Roberts.

Now the question is, are the Hornets finished? The likely answer is nope. Warrick joins a now crowded group of bigs, so his time in the Big Easy may not be a long one. They may hold on to him for the time being, but he could be traded during the season for another asset.

Just think, last year the Hornets were a mess and now they are one of the more exciting young teams in the league who are turning into must see TV for NBA fans. The future certainly is bright for the Hornets ... now, if we could just see some movement on that rebrand.

Update: Whoops, the deal may not be legal. 

Jul 13, 2012

The Deal is Done

Finally! Drew Brees has agreed to a 5 year, $100 million contract with the Saints. Man, that's a lot of Jimmy John's sandwiches. Congratulations to both Drew and the Saints, now, let's play some football.

Jul 5, 2012

The Future

The future sure does look bright for the Hornets - new owners, followed up by a great draft:

Oh, but it is New Orleans, and this has been the most newsworthy offseason in Big Easy sports history so you knew the shoe was going to drop soon. And it has with the Hornets' biggest star basically saying he doesn't want to play in New Orleans. First, he says his heart's in Phoenix and now he feels like the Suns are more committed to him than New Orleans.

The Hornets have made it clear that they want to build around Gordon, but somewhere along the way, he didn't receive the memo. The Hornets have done everything right since free agency started. They let him test the market and let the league decide his value. They had no reason to negotiate with him, since they could let someone else do the dirty work and simply can match whatever offer Gordon signs. But now that he is making it clear he wants to be with the Suns, what should New Orleans do? Do they let him walk? Of course not. The decision now is if they can work out a sign and trade before Gordon signs the Suns offer, which he can do on July 11, or if they just match the deal and try to patch up the relationship.

Gordon is worth building the team around. He's one of the top young shooting guards in the league and was the biggest asset acquired in the Chris Paul trade last year. He does have a injury history (he only played in nine games last year) and now could be a distraction in a very young locker room. The fans won't easily forgive him either. In New Orleans, one of the most important things fans want players to do is embrace the city. New Orleans is a unique place and the players who get it (Drew Brees) embrace it fully and become one of its native sons, but those who don't embrace it and talk "negatively" about playing here, have a hard time making up for it.

Needless to to say, the Hornets have a big decision to make and the next week or so should be very interesting.

May 31, 2012

Hornets Land #1 Pick!

After a tough season, including trading away Chris Paul and being laughed at for being owned by the NBA, the Hornets are finally having the last laugh. Local ownership has been brought in, there's talk of a rebrand and now  New Orleans is set up for the future after landing the top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Good days are ahead Hornets (or Pelicans, Brass, Angels, Dukes, etc. whatever the new name turns out to be) fans.

Apr 18, 2012

NFL Releases 2012 Schedule

The NFL has released the 2012 schedule and like everything else the NFL does, it was big news. For the Saints, there are lots of interesting take-aways on this year's slate of games.

The first thing that pops out is that the Saints Bye week falls in Week 6. Was this a little "twisting of the knife" by Roger Goodell? What this means is that all the suspended parties (Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt and players to be named) will have an extra week on their suspensions. The suspensions are for games, so Vitt's six game suspension will now conclude after Week 7 and Loomis' eight game one will conclude after Week 9.

Another interesting note is that even though they'll be playing without their head coach all year and there has been so much negative publicity surrounding the team that didn't stop the NFL from putting the Saints on primetime four times, including one Monday night and one Thursday night game (to be fair, every team gets a Thursday nighter this year).

The Saints open up with the Redskins, and potentially RGIII, at home and close with Carolina in the Superdome. There should be lots of fun game in between and Saints fans can't wait to see their team rise from these offseason ashes and silence all the haters.

Here's the Saints 2012 schedule:

Sun, September 9, Washington Redskins, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, September 16, at Carolina Panthers, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, September 23, Kansas City Chiefs, 12 noon, CBS

Sun, September 30, at Green Bay Packers, 3:15 p.m., FOX

Sun, October 7, San Diego Chargers, 7:30 p.m., NBC

Sun, October 14, BYE WEEK

Sun, October 21, at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, October 28, at Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m., NBC

Mon, November 5, Philidelphia Eagles, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Sun, November 11, Atlanta Falcons, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, November 18, at Oakland Raiders, 3:05 p.m., FOX

Sun, November 25, San Francisco 49ers, 3:15 p.m., FOX

Thu, November 29, at Atlanta Falcons, 7:30 p.m., NFL Network

Sun, December 9, at New York Giants, 3:15 p.m., FOX

Sun, December 16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, December 23, at Dallas Cowboys, 12 noon, FOX

Sun, December 30, Carolina Panthers, 12 noon, FOX

Mar 21, 2012

Bountygate penalties rock the Saints

The Saints have had lots of bad days in their franchise history, but none more uglier than today. The NFL has issued penalties for Bountygate, and they are severe:

  • The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000. In addition, because the violation involves a competitive rule, the Saints will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective April 1.
  • Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season.
  • Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.
  • Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season.
  • The Saints and the individuals disciplined today are expected to participate in efforts led by the league office to develop programs that will instruct players and coaches at all levels of the game on the need for respect for the game and those who participate in it, on principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship, and to ensure that bounties will not be part of football at any level.
These penalties seem overly harsh, but Roger Goodell has always ruled with a strong hand when it comes to player safety. I feel like these penalties are extreme, but now the Saints have to deal with them.

Losing Coach Payton for the entire year is going to hurt the most. Effective April 1, he won't be around the team. The 2012 Saints will defiantly have a different look and feel than any Saints team we've seen the past few years.

Pete Carmicheal will call the shots on offense and new defensive coordinator (potentially the interim head coach) Steve Spagnuolo will run the defense. Joe Vitt was tabbed to be the interim head coach, but he got a six game suspension himself. It's unclear how Mickey Loomis' suspension will affect the team. Early indications are that he'll be able to run the draft, but no definite answer on that has been given. No matter what, this is a black eye for the franchise.

The issue here is that the Saints were out to hurt their opponents and when asked about the program, multiple people lied multiple times. The league vowed to stop bounty systems from happening again and these harsh penalties should do just that.

But that doesn't make this any easier for Saints fans to swallow.

Feb 9, 2012

Will Ferrell Intros Bulls/Hornets

The highlight of the Hornets season?

Jan 17, 2012

Kicking us while we're down

Heartbreaking ... Sting ... Agonizing ... Hurt ... Stomach Punch ... Unbelievable ... Finality. Whatever word you want to use to describe the feelings after the Saints last minute loss to the 49ers, none of them sound good to Saints fans. Then, to make matters worse, the Giants destroyed the Packers the next day in a game that would have set up the NFC Championship in New Orleans. Talk about adding insult to injury.

What a week it has been for Louisiana football fans. First LSU no-shows the BCS National Championship game, then the Saints fight back from one of their worse performances with 5 turnovers only to lose with 9 seconds left, and lastly, news broke last night that LSU commitment and #1 QB in the country Gunner Kiel was taking his talents to Notre Dame. Anyone else want to kick us while we're down?

Back to the Saints game. I've never had a loss linger with me for days afterward like this one has. Honestly, it does hurt. This team was posed to do something special and everything was lining up for them, only to have it snatch away, not once but twice. After the Saints defense played admirable for 3 1/2 quarters, their coverage disappeared and Alex Smith and Vernon Davis took over and put the Saints away.

Sure Drew Brees and company wouldn't go down quietly. First Darren Sproles grabbed the lead only to see Alex Smith run untouched for a touchdown minutes later. Then Jimmy Graham went beastmode and seemed to have put the Saints in the NFC Championship. But then the curse of Gregg Williams struck. The curse of putting safeties in single coverage on tight ends bit the Saints defense and a couple of plays later and Vernon Davis is crying on the sidelines. You have to give credit to both Smith and Davis for excellent throws and catches, but the Saints could have put themselves in better position to stop those plays.

With a minute and a half left in the game, the goal is to let the clock run. Keep everything in front of you and tackle in bounds. Sounds hard? Not really. But the Saints stuck by what they did all year and played man on Davis and he burned them for a long gain. When they finally went zone in the red zone (with everyone thinking the 49ers would play for OT), Davis and Smith stuck the dagger in Saints fans hearts and the dream was over.

Looking back, this was an amazing season, but it will always be remembered for what could have been. Could this have been the Saints last chance to get to the promise land? As long as Brees and Coach Payton are around, this team will compete, but they could lose a lot this offseason. They already are losing Gregg Williams, but not many fans will see that as a big loss. Williams changed the defensive culture in New Orleans, but it is a good time for a change.

There are some big decisions to be made this offseason. The core of this team is in place, but with free agents like Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Carl Nicks, Tracy Porter and Robert Meachem, there are some tough decisions to be made. Brees, Colston and Nicks will be priorities, but it will be tough to keep them all. Brees isn't going anywhere, so it will depend how fast his deal gets done and what money is left for the rest of the free agents. I'd like to see both Colston and Nicks stay, but if I had to guess, I'd imagine Nicks has played his last game in the black and gold. They already invested a lot of money in Jahri Evans and do you need big money tied up in your two guards. Nicks may be the better of the two, but it's easier to replace a guard than some of the other positions.

This will be a long offseason, but an important one. The Saints don't have a 1st round pick thanks to the Mark Ingram trade, so free agency is that much more important. With Brees now 33, the window of opportunity will be closing soon, so the team needs to reload and get right back to work to make another Super Bowl run. It will be hard, but fans need to forget the "what could have been" season and get ready for next year. The Super Bowl is in New Orleans, so the Saints will have even more motivation to become the first home team in the big game.

Jan 13, 2012

NFL Divisional Round Predictions

Some big games this week in the NFL's 2nd round, most notably the Saints at 49ers. A lot is being made of the Saints 0-4 road playoff record and the notion that the Saints can't win outdoors. Are people forgetting their Super Bowl victory, which the last time I checked wasn't in New Orleans and was outside?

The tougher test will be the 49ers defense. They may be able to slow down the Saints power offense, but even then, the 49ers offense won't be able to keep up.


Saints 31
49ers 20

Broncos 21
Patriots 34

Texans 10
Ravens 24

Giants 27
Packers 23

Jan 9, 2012

The Rematch

It's game day for the rematch apparently nobody wanted, except Alabama. To be sure, the second LSU-Alabama game will be more exciting than the first for most of the country. Around the country, fans want to see touchdowns, but in the South, fans like football and the first LSU-Alabama game was old school football. So what's in store for the BCS title game?

I, like most, see more points being scored but I also don't see it being as close of a game as last time. I think one team will pull away and we won't get a dramatic ending. I think there's a major factor to the game that has been talked about, but not enough. The home "dome" advantage has been written off quickly and Alabama actually is coming into the game as a 1-point favorite.

The Superdome is LSU country. It's LSU's second home and they've won a lot of big games there recently -- both BCS title games (against Oklahoma and Ohio State) and Sugar Bowls (Illinois and Notre Dame), not to mention the epic matchups with rival Tulane ... well maybe not, at least playing at Tulane gives them more experience in the dome. That's gives the Tigers the edge and Les will pull out the victory against his arch rival Nick Saban.

Alabama 16
LSU 27

Jan 6, 2012

Wild Card Picks

What a big weekend coming up for Louisiana football fans. The Saints take on the Lions in their first round playoff game on Saturday and LSU takes on Alabama in the BCS Championship game Monday night. New Orleans is going to be rocking, and it's going to be crazy.

Here's my predictions for Wild Card Weekend:

Bengals 21
Texans 13

Lions 20
Saints 38

Falcons 23
Giants 28

Steelers 17
Broncos 6

Jan 3, 2012