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Rabalais: QBs beating Father Time

Associated Press photo by MICHAEL CONROY In this Sept. 6, 2007, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, right, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees meet after the Colts won 41-10 Colts in an NFL football game in Indianapolis.

It’s said that age is just a number. That’s never more true than when you become that number. When I was a lad — we’re talking pre-cable TV, 8-track, death to disco days — quarterbacks were done by their mid-30s. Well done. It wasn’t uncommon to see Joe… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Important season lies ahead for Ingram

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints running back Mark Ingram looks back while cradling the ball as he breaks into the open on a run Saturday.

Welcome to the story of Mark Ingram and the Very Big Year. Sure, 2009 was a big one for the Saints running back. He wasn’t with New Orleans then, but he spearheaded a backfield that included current Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson as he went on to become Alabama’s… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Jimmy Graham glad contract squabble with Saints over

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints tight end Jimmy Graham makes a catch during the first day of practice of training camp Friday in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Jimmy Graham stood in the bright West Virginia sunshine Friday and uttered five words, five little words that could have saved all those on the New Orleans Saints’ planet and in its orbit a lot of trouble if he’d said them five months ago: “I’m an all-pro tight end,” Graham… Continue reading →

Rabalais: These Tigers should relish the underdog role

Associated Press photo by Butch Dill -- LSU coach Les Miles speaks Wednesday to media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days in Hoover, Ala.

Here’s a little fact that you probably already knew, but this just confirms it: We “media experts” aren’t so expert a lot of the time. The Southeastern Conference will release the media’s preseason all-conference team and predicted order of finish Thursday from the writers and broadcasters… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina not all talk

Associated Press photo by Butch DillSouth Carolina football oach Steve Spurrier speaks to media at the Southeastern Conference media days on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala.

HOOVER, Ala. — It’s talking season for college football, and no one gives better quote than Stephen Orr Spurrier. The man who once asked if the Florida State Seminoles called themselves the ’Noles, why couldn’t he call them the Semis; who cracked you couldn’t spell “Citrus Bowl” without the “UT” for Tennessee; and who brashly… Continue reading →

Graham, Saints deal a win for both

Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) lets out his customary yell after the national anthem as the New Orleans Saints took on the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, November 10, 2013.

When a harsh phrase like “grievance hearing” enters the conversation, it’s not easy for both sides to get past the hard feelings and tough talk to work a deal. That the New Orleans Saints and Jimmy Graham — who is now and forevermore a tight end, amen — were able to strike an accord on a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Putting a bow on LSU’s sports year

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Jeremy Hill runs for a touchdown against Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey, left, and defensive back John Lowdermilk last season in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. Hill brought plenty of distractions to the TIgers, but also will be difficult to replace on the field.

How should we remember LSU’s 2013-14 athletic year? There were great highs and bitter lows, but looking back there is a definite “Meh” factor to the whole year. There are at least two sides to every story, and that was true for just about every achievement or disappointment LSU athletics and athletes had this past year.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Pelicans bank on proven big man, not potential

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMANNew Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will miss Saturday's game against the San Antonio Spurs, but his left ankle injury is not considered seriouis the team reported.

If you wanted the New Orleans Pelicans to make a play for LeBron James, you’re disappointed. And unrealistic. It looks like the Houston Rockets will angle for the world’s current No. 1 player, though. That has to be part of the reason Houston shipped center Omer Asik to New Orleans in a pre-draft deal Wednesday in exchange… Continue reading →

Rabalais: La’El Collins not regretting returning to LSU

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- LSU Tigers offensive tackle La'el Collins speaks on his decision to stay with the Tigers for his senior year during an announcement on Tuesday at LSU in Baton Rouge.

Had he chosen differently, La’El Collins would be in some NFL city somewhere having just completed his first round of OTAs and mandatory minicamp. But instead he was at All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge on Tuesday night, cutting up with his teammates and seeing whether he or LSU coach Les Miles in the lane to his… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Hendrick Motorsports’ success satisfying for Lance McGrew

Photo by Geoff Burke/NASCAR via Getty ImagesChase Elliott talks with crew chief Lance McGrew on pit road before the Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in September.

NASCAR rarely takes a week off once the season begins in February. That’s especially true for Hendrick Motorsports. Stock car racing’s most dominant team is having an unusually impressive 2014 even by its gold-plated standards. Three Hendricks drivers — Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and the ever-popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. — stand 1-2-3 atop NASCAR’s Sprint… Continue reading →

Rabalais: On Jimmy Graham, golf and one-hitters

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Notes on a scorecard from Pinehurst No. 2, but they keep rolling off the edges (if you watched the U.S. Open, you get what I’m talking about) … -- An NFL arbitrator Tuesday will begin the process of asking if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck whether it’s really a wide receiver.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Ex-LSU golfer Smylie Kaufman gets taste U.S. Open

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Smylie Kaufman hits a tee shot on the sixth hole at University Club as a member of the LSU men's golf team in 2011.

It wasn’t exactly how former LSU golfer Smylie Kaufman scripted it, but he’s starting his professional career on one of the game’s biggest stages. Kaufman tees off at 7:46 a.m. CDT Thursday in the first round of the U.S. Open at famed Pinehurst No. 2, his younger brother Luckie carrying his bag. Luck is something they’ll probably… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Season’s end is emotional for Ragin’ Cajuns

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- UL- Lafayette's Nick Thurman, left, and Carson Baranik stand in the dugout in disbelief after their 10-4 loss against Ole Miss on Monday in the Lafayette super regional.

Few gatherings are filled with more intense and diverse emotions as the post-championship news conference. There is the one set of players and their coach, flush with victory and thrilled about whatever it is they’ve just accomplished or where they’re headed to next. The other group has its feelings laid bare for recorders and cameras to… Continue reading →

Rebels buck their identity as flops by crunching Cajuns

LAFAYETTE — Pack up the fuzzy fake beards. Put away the previously molten hot bats. Take your diamond dreams and store them back in the jewelry box, Ragin’ Cajuns fans. There is no joy in Mudbugville, my friends. Louisiana-Lafayette is out of the NCAA tournament. The Cajuns had a trip to the College World… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Don't blink with Cajuns, Rebels on the brink

Mississippi pitcher Aaron Greenwood (44) is hugged by teammates after winning an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Louisiana Lafayette in Lafayette, La.,Sunday, June 8, 2014. Mississippi won 5-2. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LAFAYETTE — All even. A win for the Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday night, 9-5. An equalizer for the Rebels on Sunday night, 5-2. A ghastly error in center field for each. And so now Louisiana-Lafayette and Ole Miss have pushed each other to the brink. One game, winner take all.… Continue reading →

Even for Tigers, dominance at home doesn’t last forever

Before his team faced Stanford in the championship game of the 2000 College World Series, then LSU coach Skip Bertman reflected on how his team had never lost in such a situation. “The law of averages says we’re going to lose one day,” Bertman said. “But,” he added, holding up a wizened index finger, “it doesn’t… Continue reading →

Atmosphere, controversy, comebacks — this had it all

The LSU Tigers used to play Geauxrilla Ball. Sunday night in the NCAA Baton Rouge regional final, they played Gonzo Ball. The game started in twilight and ended in The Twilight Zone, with some moments straight out of the Bizarro World. Outside Alex Box Stadium, the mood was festive beforehand. Music played. The delightful… Continue reading →

Rabalais: With Aaron Nola in ace mode, Tigers avoid troublesome test

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU's Aaron Nola pitches against Houston on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium. Nola gave up one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Perhaps never did it look like the LSU Tigers need to tread so carefully on their home turf in an NCAA regional. They started Friday with Southeastern Louisiana. There was scarcely a Lions player on their roster who was alive the last time SLU was in the NCAA tournament in 1994, but that didn’t stop them from… Continue reading →

Executive director extols virtues of College Football Playoffs

DESTIN, Fla. — It used to be Bill Hancock’s job to Johnny Appleseed his way across the country, extolling the virtues of the Bowl Championship Series. Now Hancock, the executive director of the NCAA’s new football playoff format, is singing the praises of the College Football Playoff, which comes on line Jan. 1 with semifinals in… Continue reading →

Rabalais: SEC, Big 65 have clout to force NCAA’s hand

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

DESTIN, Fla. — It can’t be overstated how important football revenue is to the bottom line of every college athletic department’s bottom line. It also can’t be overstated how much college football coaches want. The Southeastern Conference football coaches got together in their meeting room at the SEC Spring Meeting on Tuesday, this most exclusive and… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Tigers and Cajuns alike have plenty of Omaha cred

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU shortstop Alex Bregman has a laugh with coach Paul Mainieri after LSU's 2-0 win over Florida to win the SEC tournment  Sunday.

Today, Alabama. Tomorrow … Omaha? For LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette, every trip to the Yellowhammer State (no, really, that’s what it’s called) should be this successful. The Tigers captured yet another title here Sunday in the Southeastern Conference tournament with a tense, crisply played, 2-0 victory over SEC regular-season champion Florida.… Continue reading →