Content tagged “Sport”

Open Air Bicycle Repair

Some might consider Open Air Bicycle Repair to be a washer shy of a tight fit.

'225 Weekender': Amateur basketball tournament bounces into BR

If you're longing for a little basketball action in the middle of summer, 225 Weekender reports the Capital City is the place to be this weekend. T.T.G. Productions is hosting its inaugural Capital City Classic Pro-Am Basketball Tournament Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Sports Complex at BREC's Perkins Road Community Park, 7122 Perkins Road. The event runs through Sunday and features basketball players of all skill levels from around the country competing for a $5,000 grand prize. Day passes are $25, and weekend passes are $35. Team registration ends Friday and costs $575. Get the scoop on more local events taking place this weekend in the new 225 Weekender e-newsletter.

'225': Hang time with LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva

In July, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva is appreciating a few quiet moments, right before the LSU football frenzy invades all of Baton Rouge. He'll see something football related every day once the season starts in August, but that makes the month special. "I get excited for the start of every year," Alleva says. "It's almost like a rebirth every year. That's one thing nice about college sports. There are a whole lot of freshman coming in, there's new energy, and there's always excitement around the start of a year. It's fun and gets my juices flowing." In the cover story of the latest issue of 225, sports writer Lee Feinswog spends a day with the LSU athletic director. "Alleva never could have imagined 40 years ago that he'd one day be a grandfather in Baton Rouge," Feinswog writes. Alleva came to LSU after a long career at Duke University. There, he replaced AD Tom Butters in 1998, and his experiences as a family man at Duke prepared him for the LSU job, where every move...

Fear rises over increased spending on college sports as top conferences push overhaul

The denizens of the wealthiest districts of college sports, universities like Alabama and LSU, are still institutions of higher education, The New York Times observes in a report on a key NCAA vote today. But athletics have become ever more central to their missions and their bottom lines, thanks to the juggernaut programs that generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Recruiters fly on private planes, athletes train on top-of-the-line equipment and teams compete in mammoth stadiums that are the envy of many professional teams. It is not uncommon for a university's athletic budget to exceed $60 million. And all of that has taken place under the NCAA's old rules. Today, the NCAA is expected to approve a measure to give more autonomy to the sports powerhouses that compete in the five biggest conferences: the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pacific-12, the Big Ten and the Big 12. With more control, the conferences are expected to agree to...

Miles laments loss of juniors, expresses confidence in Tigers heading into season

LSU head football coach Les Miles acknowledges that the team's 2014 version is younger than most other teams in the SEC, but he says its members will be ready and able to compete at the highest level of college football when the season kicks off on Aug. 30. "You'd kind of like to not lead college football" in the number of juniors skipping their senior year of eligibility to play pro ball, Miles said at today's luncheon of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, but you live with it. "I recognize this is a youthful team, but there is some insistence that the culture we have created will continue. And that means team in front of self," he said. After expressing confidence in every aspect of his offense and defense, as well as outlining the strengths of specific players, Miles was asked whether he would consider playing two quarterbacks. "I'm thinking about it," Miles said, adding...

Regional soccer tournament boosts BR hotel revenue by 41%

Revenue for Baton Rouge–area hotels jumped by more than 41% during one week last month when the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Championship tournament was held in the city, according to figures tracked by lodging industry firm Smith Travel Research. Visit Baton Rouge released the figures, which show that from June 19 to June 26, local hotels collected $6.7 million in revenue, compared to $4.8 million during the week in 2013. The first day of the tournament saw the largest spike in hotel occupancy, at more than 43% over the same day in 2013. The tournament was held at the Burbank Soccer Complex and drew thousands of soccer players, fans and families from 11 Southern states, according to the VBR news release. Last week, VBR announced that local hotels took in a record $3.4 million during the fifth annual Bayou Country Superfest over Memorial Day weekend and saw a modest...

Queens for a day

Professional basketball player

NCAA to investigate Les Miles' time at Oklahoma State

The much-criticized exposť by Sports Illustrated last fall on NCAA violations within the Oklahoma State football program—which included LSU coach Les Miles' time there from 2001-04—is apparently accurate enough for one governing body to take a closer look. The NCAA is investigating Oklahoma State for possible rules violations in its football program, an Oklahoma State spokesman confirms, according to an ESPN story published on Monday. Miles was 28-21 during his time with the Cowboys, including three bowl appearances, after inheriting a program that had losing seasons in 11 of 12 previous seasons. He was portrayed by Sports Illustrated as helping start a stampede of sex, drugs and cash at the Stillwater campus. The story, which was part of a five-part series, details cash exchanging hands between Oklahoma State boosters and players after the 3-7 Cowboys upset No. 4 Oklahoma, 16-13, in Norman, Oklahoma, in Miles' first year in 2001. Miles denied that and other...

Cox reaches agreement to carry SEC Network

Cox Communications announced today it has reached an agreement with ESPN to carry the SEC Network when it launches next month. Cox says the SEC Network will be available to its customers with the "digital essential tier" package, which is priced at $69.99 a month. Information on the exact channel positions will be announced soon. ESPN has also reached agreements with AT&T U-verse, DISH, Google Fiber and NRTC to distribute the SEC Network. Cox, ESPN and SEC officials all cheered the agreement reached today in prepared statements. "This is great news for alumni and fans across our footprint who will enjoy the action and rivalries that have become synonymous with LSU Tiger Athletics and SEC sports throughout the entire region," says Jacqui Vines, senior vice president and general manager of Cox's Southeast Region. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says: "As one of the largest cable television distributors in the U.S., including five states in the SEC footprint, this agreement with Cox has a...

BREC suspends golf clinics, introducing new program in August

The golf clinics that BREC held at its public courses for the past two years have been suspended due to staffing reductions, a spokesperson says. BREC recently notified golfers that the clinics, which formerly had been held about once or twice each month, would no longer be held as of June 3. Erin O'Neill, BREC publicity and marketing manager, says a new program of PGA-recommended clinics called First Swing are scheduled to begin in August. The First Swing clinics will be available for youth, women, men and families, O'Neill says, and they will teach newcomers the basics of the game. The timing of the clinic suspension and a public input meeting taking place this week on the future of BREC's seven golf courses are coincidental, she says. "We had a great demand for the clinics, but the postponement does go back to staffing," O'Neill says in an email to Daily Report. The public...

BREC to hold public input meeting on golf courses

BREC is hosting a public input meeting to get ideas for its seven golf courses as it works to develop a long-term operations plan for the courses. The meeting is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, at the BREC administrative building, 6201 Florida Blvd. BREC says it has hired consultants from the National Golf Foundation "to evaluate all aspects of BREC's golf operation, collect ideas from players and residents, and use that information to develop a new long-range operations plan for BREC golf." The consultants will lead Wednesday's discussion. "The National Golf Foundation is one of the most respected and knowledgeable organizations in the game of golf. They understand the trends impacting the game nationally and have already spent hours touring BREC's seven courses and collecting data to help determine how we can continue to improve our operation," says BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight in

Cox still negotiating with ESPN over carrying SEC Network

While ESPN is touting its planned SEC Network—which launches Aug. 14—as a collaboration between “the most competitive athletic conference in the country and the most innovative production partner in the sports industry,” the development of the network has not been universally well-received by all sports fans. They're worried about losing access to some popular SEC sporting events, which, until now, have been virtually free to view. Adding to their fears is the fact that ESPN has yet to nail down carriage agreements with all of the nation's cable and satellite distributors—including local distributor Cox Cable. A Cox spokeswoman tells Daily Report that Cox is actively negotiating with ESPN for carriage of the SEC Network on its channel lineup but that no deal has been inked. “Our goal is to have these negotiations completed in time for the network launch on Aug. 14 and in time for the upcoming football season,” says Cox Public Affairs...

Jenni Peters

There are so many reasons Jenni Peters is an inspiration. She turned a $100,000 investment into a $2 million business. She ran competitively for Nike. She has trained local teams for the Boston Marathon. She has an impressive array of race medals hanging from the bookshelves in her office—and an even more impressive collection at home. She's 58 years old and still runs 30 miles per week.

Beer sales at major universities show mixed results regarding profits, public safety

Looking beyond the ongoing $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium that's on schedule to be completed in August, LSU officials are considering a number of options for enhancing the experience for the more than 100,000 fans that will now be able to watch football games in person on Saturdays. As LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told the Baton Rouge Press Club earlier this week, that could include larger, more comfortable seats, as well as expanded and improved restrooms, among other ideas. And then there's the possibility of beer sales inside the stadium. "I think at some point—I don't know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now—but I think at some point, I think it's going to happen," Alleva told the Press Club when asked about the possibility. He added that "it's something that we have to study and look at in the future." LSU wouldn't be the...

Dakota Roemer & Denver Benton

Sporting event participants usually register on one website, then leave it to make travel arrangements on Travelocity or another site. "It's two separate things," says Roemer. "What we wanted to do was marry the two"—and give events a predictable means to profit.

'225 Weekender': Race in the Happys5000

The fifth annual Happys5000—also known as the Downtown Spectacular 5000 Meter Road Race—will take place downtown on Saturday evening. As 225 Weekender reports, the social sporting event mixes food, music, art and exercise. The event kicks off with open registration and music from Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue at 5 p.m. at the North Boulevard Town Square. The run starts at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Fourth and Convention streets. A beer mile kicks off at 7:30 p.m. After the race, restaurants including Tsunami, Schlittz and Giggles, Fresh Junkie, Brew Ha-Ha and many more will serve up food and drinks, while the Remedy Krewe will provide the music, beginning at 8 p.m. Awards will be handed out at 8:15 p.m. Registration is $30. The event was started in conjunction with Happy's Running Club in 2009. Get the scoop on more local events on tap for this weekend in the new 225 Weekender...

A sporting chance

Information technology director, Louisiana Racing Commission

A troubled search

Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Planning Commission were quick to praise themselves at a special April 23 meeting for the thorough and transparent way in which they have conducted the search for a new planning director.

Plan in the works to bring golf back to former Oaks at Sherwood

Pickles Kelly, owner and operating manager of Caddyshack Driving Range, Bar & Grill, is working with the new owners of the former Oaks at Sherwood Golf Course to reopen the 18-hole course that closed abruptly last summer. "It's not a done deal by any means, but we are definitely in discussions," says Ryan Dornier, who purchased the course in November with his father, Randy Dornier Sr., and brother, Randall Dornier Jr., about four months after the course was closed by its former owners. "If it's a win-win for everyone, then it's certainly something we'll be interested in." The Dorniers, who purchased the property with plans of turning part of it into a tennis center, have begun offering lessons and hope to open as a full membership tennis club this summer. The club will be named The Legacy at Bonne Esperance. Kelly, who is looking to lease the course from the Dorniers, says she...

Sally Calongne

The ball was in her court. Baton Rouge native Sally Calongne had returned to her hometown in 2009 after a four-year stint at a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, eager to re-enter the Capital Region tennis scene.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova buys ownership stake in BR native's company

Baton Rouge native and LSU alumnus Holly Emery Thaggard, who in 2007 launched a skincare product line focusing on UV protection called Supergoop!, has announced that tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has invested in the company and is now a co-owner. "As an avid user of Supergoop! daily, for a number of years, I was drawn to not only the quality of the product but also the opportunity to educate people around the world about the importance of practicing safe sun habits every day," says Sharapova in a prepared statement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Thaggard's brother, Stephen Emery, a Baton Rouge native who now lives in New York, is also a partner in the company. Thaggard says Supergoop!, which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, has averaged triple-digit growth annually since its foundation. With Sharapova's becoming a key player in the company, Thaggard says the brand plans to further its domestic distribution and expand internationally over the next five...

Ainsworth new CEO at Marucci; 'Duck Dynasty' star joins board

In step with a succession plan that's been years in the making, the board of directors for Baton Rouge-based Marucci Sports announced today that company co-founder Kurt Ainsworth will take over as CEO. Former CEO Brett Stohlton—who has held the position since Marucci co-founder Reed Dickens stepped down as CEO in February 2012, also as part of the succession plan—will remain an adviser to Ainsworth and the board of directors. Dickens will now serve as chairman of the board, which is also set to be joined by Duck Commander CEO and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson. In a press release issued today, Marucci says Robertson is being brought onto the board to help the company launch a new camouflage division. He's not the only new...

'Business Report': Decimated by recession, local golf industry tries to revive interest in the game

As south Louisiana gears up to host the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans in the coming weeks, the Capital Region continues to cope with the recession fallout that knocked golf from its manicured perch and left survivors doing their best to reinvigorate the game's popularity. As contributing writer Tress Fereday details in a Business Report story from the current issue, golf last saw the gleam of its glory days in the early 2000s—and the game in the Capital Region has since experienced its moment in the rough just as it has in the rest of the country. The local list of shuttered golf courses grew last year, with the Oaks at Sherwood joining Briarwood Golf Course, Fairwood Country Club, Gonzales Country Club and Shenandoah Country Club as victims of an economy gone bad. The Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System lost millions of dollars on its two Louisiana golf courses before finally selling them last year at rock-bottom prices.

Taking a mulligan

As South Louisiana gears up to host the PGA tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans later this month, the Capital Region continues to cope with the recession fallout that knocked golf from its manicured perch and left survivors doing their best to reinvigorate the game's popularity.

LSU officials working to address increased traffic due to Tiger Stadium expansion

While three crews have been working around-the-clock shifts to complete the $87 million south end zone expansion at Tiger Stadium in time for LSU's first home game of the season on Sept. 6, LSU officials have been working on a different project—namely, how to deal with gameday traffic, which was already a problem and will now be a bigger one with some 8,000 additional seats. "It's a problem—the elephant in the room—I'm not going to sugarcoat it," says Ret. Gen. Ronald Richard, president and CEO of the Tiger Athletic Foundation. "Ingress, egress and parking are all an issue." A potential solution for the upcoming season is already in the works, however. TAF recently commissioned a study that addresses parking and gameday traffic. On April 10, it will unveil the results and present a new traffic and parking plan for the upcoming season. "It's going to be the same system, but other things will be involved," says Richard, who declines to disclose details yet. "It's not...

BREC's trouble spots: Golf and the Baton Rouge Zoo

BREC's golf courses and the Baton Rouge Zoo will complete their own strategic plans this year, separate from the systemwide Imagine Your Parks II plan underway now.

Carolyn McKnight: The colonel in charge

After more than 27 years of working in the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Carolyn McKnight stepped away to work on a local government project jumpstarting minority-owned businesses.

The professional risk taker

"I want to be a professional gambler," Michael Beychok told the aptitude tester his parents had hired to direct the career path of their son, a student at Catholic High School.

Going to bat

From Little League to Major Leagues, when a baseball player swings for the fences, theres a good chance he's swinging a bat made in Baton Rouge.

Smoothie King lands 10-year naming rights deal for New Orleans Arena

Say goodbye to the New Orleans Arena and hello to the Smoothie King Center. The Metairie-based smoothie franchise has landed a 10-year naming rights deal that takes effect today. Under the deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, Smoothie King will have its logo and signage placed on the arena's roof and facade, as well as on the New Orleans Pelicans basketball court, and it will operate two retail concession stands within the arena. Company and state officials are to formally announce the deal this morning. ESPN reports the entrance of the arena will also feature two 20-foot high Smoothie King cups that will be in place in time for next weekend's NBA All-Star Game. "Our mission is to invest locally, regionally, nationally and internationally," Smoothie King President and COO Tom O'Keefe tells ESPN. "This deal satisfies all those goals." Although the...

Local event firm doing set-up for PGA tournament in Pebble Beach

When the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am kicks off next week in Pebble Beach, Calif., a local couple and a few dozen of their contract employees will be front and center at the prestigious PGA golf tournament, making sure the tented dressing rooms and media areas, kiosks and concession stands are properly set up and equipped. It's what Will and Julie Bernard do in their spare time, when they're not tending to the Port Allen truck stop and video poker parlor they own, Cajun Circus Casino. While the casino is their day job, the Bernards are devoting increasingly more time these days to CCI Events, an event company they own that designs and constructs temporary facilities and structures for major sporting events, like PGA tournaments. "They hang walls and chandeliers for all the tents and dressing rooms and media areas that will be in use during the tournament," says Bill Bernard, Will Bernard's father. "They also do all the design and construction work." Julie Bernard, a native of...

'225': Can Johnny Jones reignite Tiger Nation for hoops?

LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones—the former LSU player from DeRidder, who stayed on as Dale Brown's assistant coach for 13 years before finally moving on in 1997—didn't just come home in 2012. "No, he took a program in dire need of a major shot of personality and injected new life into the Tigers, all the while saying and doing all the right things," writes 225 contributing writer Lee Feinswog in a feature on Jones from the current issue. After a rough start last season—Jones' first as head coach—the Tigers became one of the hardest-working teams around, finishing 9-9 in the SEC and 19-12 overall. Johnny O'Bryant III became a wrecking crew down low. The speedy guard Anthony Hickey wreaked havoc in the league with an up-tempo style of offensive play. Most importantly, though, fans appreciated the team. This season, the team has three tremendous freshmen and got off to another strong start. Jones, who went to the 1981 Final Four as a Tiger, has...

Sports roundup: Saints said to need cornerback, better O-line next season … Roddick says Brees beat him the first two times they squared off on the court … Spurrier gets extension at South Carolina, $700,000 raise

Wish list: In his season wrap-up on the New Orleans Saints, ESPN's Mike Triplett says he's not sure if the team is more in need of a cornerback or better offensive line. "The Saints could use another top corner because Jabari Greer's future is uncertain after a major knee injury. But maybe that's their top want," Triplett says. "They need to address the offensive line, because right tackle Zach Strief and center Brian De La Puente are unrestricted free agents. I actually think the Saints would be fine if they brought back the same starting five (they played much better down the stretch than people may realize). But I'm not sure the Saints can afford to bring both guys back." Read the complete season wrap-up.

'225 Weekender': Get your running shoes ready for The Louisiana Marathon

The second annual Louisiana Marathon kicks off this weekend with music, food, speakers and races in an event perfect for the entire family. As 225 Weekender reports, more than 20,000 attendees and 4,000 participants are expected for this weekend's marathon. The three-day event kicks off Friday at 1 p.m. with an expo at the River Center downtown and continues Saturday with a 5K at 8 a.m. and the Kids Marathon at 9:30 a.m. at the Capitol Park Museum. Saturday will also feature a family festival with performances from the Dunham School Jazz Band, Baton Rouge Music Studios students and The Louisiana Youth Orchestra, as well as food and activities in AZ Young Park. A speaker series will kick off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the River Center, featuring discussions from four-time winner of the Boston and New York marathons Bill Rodgers and author/speaker Matt Long. On Sunday, the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon-qualifying run and 13.1-mile half marathon kick off at 7 a.m. at the steps of the...

Sports roundup: LSU's Hill named to CBSSports.com All-Bowl Team … Seafood on the line for Saints-Seahawks showdown Saturday … ESPN columnist: Saints' Sean Payton as impressive as ever

On a run: LSU's Jeremy Hill—who The Shreveport Times is reporting will annouce on Monday plans to forego the NFL Draft and play for the Tigers next season—is one of just 23 college football players to be named on the CBSSports.com All-Bowl Team. Hill garnered the honor by rushing for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. "With LSU clinging to a 14-7 lead over Iowa late in the fourth quarter, Hill made sure LSU wasn't going to lose," the website notes. "He had four carries for 87 yards on the final drive, including a 37-yard score." See the full All-Bowl Team.

LSU offensive line coach Studrawa leaving; tailback Hill reportedly staying

Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will not remain on the LSU staff, LSU confirmed this afternoon. "He left the program to pursue other opportunities," LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette tells The Shreveport Times, which is also reporting that LSU sophomore tailback Jeremy Hill has told those close to the LSU football program that he plans on returning for his junior season next year and will not enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Hill, who is eligible for the next draft as a third-year sophomore, is expected to officially announce that he will stay for the 2014 season at a press conference at LSU on Monday, The Times reports. The deadline for college players to enter the draft a year early is on Jan. 15, so Hill still has time to change his mind and enter the draft. Studrawa, 49, came to LSU as offensive line coach...

Sports roundup: Former LSU receiver Clayton releases self-published autobiography … LSU could be biggest winner at all-star football game today … Road-weary Saints tweak practice routine

Another chapter: Former LSU and NFL wide receiver Michael Clayton has just released a self-published autobiography entitled Chasing My Rookie Year: The Michael Clayton Story. Clayton is set to kick off a publicity tour for the book in Baton Rouge, his hometown, with an event at the LSU Barnes & Noble on Friday, Jan. 17. Clayton played three seasons for the Tigers—including the 2003 national championship team—before being drafted No. 15 overall in the 2004 NFL draft. His best season in the NFL was his rookie year, during which he led all league rookies with 80 receptions for 1,193 yards and 7 touchdowns. Clayton announced his retirement in 2013 and has been working as a sports analyst in the Tampa Bay area since, as well as doing motivational speaking.

Aaron Nola

Occupation: Pitcher, LSU Baseball
Hometown: Baton Rouge
Age: 20

John Peterson

Age: 24
Occupation: Professional Golfer, PGA Tour
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas

Upping the price

Fans are about to pay 6% more for the privilege of watching LSU sports.

Sports roundup: LSU football ranked fourth in 'Forbes' most valuable list … Miles jumps three spots to No. 6 on 'Forbes' most powerful head coaches list … Players react to Saints' roster shake-up

Holding steady: For the third year in a row, Forbes has ranked the LSU football program as the fourth most valuable team in college football, with an estimated value of $105 million. LSU trails only Texas ($139 million), Notre Dame ($117 million) and Alabama ($110 million) on the list. Michigan is fifth at $100 million. LSUsports.net reports the football program is currently in the midst of the best stretch in its history, leading the nation with 14 straight years of at least eight wins and reaching a bowl game this year for a school-record 14th consecutive season. In last year's rankings, LSU was valued at $102 million and $96 million a year before that—when it jumped from No. 7 on the list to the No. 4 spot. See the complete rankings.

Report: LSU spending on athletics far outpaced increases for academics

According to a new database of athletic and academic spending at colleges across the country, LSU's spending increases on academics has kept pace in recent years with the national average, while its spending on athletic programs—especially football—has increased at a far greater rate and one faster than either the SEC or national average. The database, created by The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, shows spending on academics and athletics between 2005 and 2011. LSU increased its academic spending per full-time student by 24% over that span, the report says, which is equal to the average of the approximately 125 schools with a team in the Football Bowl Subdivision. However, LSU increased its spending on student-athletes participating in its 20 athletic programs by 62% over the same span—and its spending on football scholarship players increased 87% over the span. On spending per student-athlete, the FBS average increase was 58% between 2005 and 2011,...

Aimee Simon

Under an oak tree in the shadow of Tiger Stadium stands a very special wall. Inscribed on it are the names of LSU football players who have achieved Academic All-American status, and above them is the name of an organization that has helped many Tiger athletes achieve academic success: the Bengal Belles.

Terry Saban says Tide fans losing appreciation, but Nick isn't going anywhere

Terry Saban has always played a big role in shaping the decisions husband Nick makes regarding his career, and she tells The Wall Street Journal in a new feature focusing on her that people shouldn't put any stock into rumors that Alabama may need to start looking for a new head football coach. "You come to a crossroads and the expectations get so great, people get spoiled by success and there gets to be a lack of appreciation," Terry Saban says of the situation in Tuscaloosa, where her husband is on the cusp of delivering Alabama a third straight national championship. "We're kind of there now." Recent media reports have suggested Nick Saban may be interested in coaching at Texas if that job becomes available. Some reports even said Terry Saban had been house hunting in Austin. When asked if those reports were accurate, Terry Saban called them "rumors with absolutely no foundation." "We're staying," she says. "We're not going anywhere." That statement may mean more coming...

Benny Hopson

"I did it for my son," Hopson says. "Our dream together was to have a golf store."

Sports roundup: Former Saints kicker Andersen named semifinalist for NFL Hall … Aggies looking to keep dreams alive in stadium where 'opponents' dreams come to die' … Coach expects Falcons fans to show full support tonight

Bound for glory: Former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen is among the 25 semifinalists being considered for the NFL Hall of Fame 2014 class, which will be announced on Feb. 1. The NFL released the names of those who had made the semifinal cut on Wednesday. The 15 finalists for the honor will be announced on Jan. 8. Andersen, who played for the Saints from 1982-94 and is the franchise all-time leading scorer with 1,318 points, finished his career with 2,544 points—the most of any player in the NFL. Andersen was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL All-Decade team in the 1980s and 1990s. He made 565 of 709 career field-goal attempts and kicked 302 field goals as a Saint. See the full list of semifinalists.

Sports roundup: Saints owe 49ers 'a couple knockdowns' … Brees said to be inching closer to Manning in MVP race … MLB making 'gigantic move' to instant replay

Ready to rumble: Over the past eight years, few offenses in the NFL have attacked and overwhelmed their opponents quite like the New Orleans Saints. And during that span, few defenses have attacked and overwhelmed the Saints quite like the San Francisco 49ers, ESPN says in its preview of Sunday's game in New Orleans. When they meet, the 49ers (6-3) will try to knock off the Saints (7-2) for the third consecutive year. The 49ers' physical, attacking defense has forced a combined seven turnovers and eight sacks in the previous two games. "Yeah, we kinda owe them a couple knockdowns, you know what I'm saying?" says Saints guard Jahri Evans—who isn't used to seeing many defenses push the Saints around like that. "That's how we feel as a team. And we know it's gonna be physical." Read the full story.

Local investor talks plans for improving pair of north La. golf courses

Some may have thought it a risky investment when local businessman Eugene Ji earlier this year bought a pair of money-losing golf courses in north Louisiana from a Louisiana police retirement system. But Ji—who has served as Mayor Kip Holden's economic liaison with China and helps Chinese investors find opportunities in the U.S., particularly Louisiana—has big plans to renovate the two courses and turn one into a destination resort for business travelers and families. "We are spending quite a few million to improve them," says Ji, who paid $3 million last summer for the Golf Club at StoneBridge in Bossier City and Olde Oaks Golf Course near Shreveport. Ji plans to upgrade the course at StoneBridge, adding new bunkers. But his focus is on Olde Oaks, where he plans to develop 100 rental cottages around the course that will be marketed to vacationing families, business...

Oaks at Sherwood purchased by family with plans for a tennis center

The Oaks at Sherwood golf course, which closed abruptly in early July with a reported $2.7 million in bank debt, has been purchased by a family group of investors who hope to turn part of the 127-acre property into a new tennis center. "We've been working on the details of what exactly we want to do for about the past month now. There's some tennis centers in Covington that we're trying to emulate, such as Franco's Athletic Club, Pelican Athletic Club and Stone Creek," says Ryan Dornier, who purchased the course with his father, Randy Dornier Sr., and brother, Randall Dornier Jr., about a month ago. Both Ryan and Randall Dornier are currently tennis pros and instructors at University Club. As for a timeline on when a tennis center could be developed at The Oaks at Sherwood, Ryan Dornier says "right now, it's all a guess; we don't even have electricity out there right now." He says...

Bob Chedville

"Getting licensed with LSU opened up so many more doors for us," Chedville says, "and will continue to open doors."

Not even Saban downplays magnitude of LSU-Alabama showdown

Even Nick Saban isn't protesting too loudly that Saturday night's Alabama-LSU showdown is just another game. The stakes are too high, the recent meetings too competitive and the rivalry just too compelling. "It's probably hard for everybody to think that this is just another game," says Saban. For the top-ranked Crimson Tide's laser-focused coach—who usually spends the week before a big game repeatedly telling reporters that it's just another game, no more or less important than any other on the schedule—that amounts to a monumental concession to what Saturday night's meeting with the Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium means for both teams and fan bases. For Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC), it represents one of the biggest remaining hurdles toward a crack at a third consecutive national title. LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) hopes to spoil that bid and still turn the season into something special after losing to both Georgia and Mississippi by a field goal. Plus it's Alabama. "It's definitely...

Sports roundup: LSU has no fear when it comes to Alabama … Tide wide receiver Cooper says he'll be back to 100% for LSU game … Cowboys head to Superdome for Sunday night showdown

Won't back down: If you check Anthony Johnson's calendar, you won't find Nov. 9 circled. While it may be special to most of the college football world, LSU's junior defensive tackle sees it as another day—another game. "I go week by week," Johnson tells ESPN with a laugh. Even though Saturday stands as the annual Alabama-LSU day to college football purists, it's game No. 10 to Johnson and the rest of the Tigers, says ESPN's Edward Aschoff. "Alabama doesn't faze LSU. Yes, the Crimson Tide are No. 1 and closing in on possibly a third straight national championship. Yes, Alabama has won two straight in this series twice since 2007. Yes, the Tide have dynasty status, but it doesn't scare LSU," Aschoff writes. Read the full story.

ESPN dissects the method behind Les Miles' madness

In an extensive profile on LSU football coach Les Miles featured on ESPN.com today, former Tiger All-American and current Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson insists the only thing better than seeing Miles at a podium or in front of a microphone is a chest-beating Miles leading a team meeting. "He had that walk when he'd come in, his hands in his pockets, real smooth and laid-back," Peterson recalls. "He starts out real low and then gets rowdier and rowdier and starts beating his chest. I mean, it's something else." Peterson is one of a number of former players, coaches and acquaintances to wax poetic on Miles' quirky mannerisms and notable quotables to ESPN. Peterson says Miles "was fun to play for and made it fun every day. That's why he's able to recruit the way he does. I'd go back in a heartbeat and play for him if I had it to do all over again. He just has this special way of getting the best out of guys and making them believe that they can do anything."...

Sports roundup: LSU basketball gets first votes in AP poll since 2008-09 … Tyrann Mathieu wins NFL rookie honor … Jets coach Rex Ryan jabs, praises twin brother as team prepares for Saints

Off the dribble: For the first time since the 2008-09 season, the LSU men's basketball team received votes in the Preseason AP Top 25 poll, which was released this afternoon, the university announced today. LSU, under second-year head coach Johnny Jones, received six points from the writers after getting two points in the USA Today Coaches Poll released Oct. 17. The Tigers open the 2013-14 season with an exhibition contest at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Xavier of New Orleans. The regular season begins Nov. 12 when LSU travels to Amherst to face UMass in ESPN's 24-hour Tipoff Marathon. Tipoff is set for 10 a.m. on ESPN2.

Sports roundup: Saban wants Alabama fans to stop leaving early … Saints looking to add center-hung video board to Dome … Brees' college passing record topped

Calling them out: It's not uncommon to see LSU fans streaming out of Tiger Stadium beginning around halftime when the Tigers are putting a stomping on their opponents. Apparently, Alabama fans are much the same in that regard. So much so that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is calling on Crimson Tide fans who show up in the stands of Bryant-Denny Stadium to do the same as the players on the field. "I've talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game," Saban says. "And, in some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game. Maybe if you're not interested in doing that, you should let someone else go who would really like to go, because I have a lot of people who want to go." CBSsports.com has the full...

'225': Acclaimed movie director Hackford discusses 'Everybody's All-American'

Taylor Hackford's career as a filmmaker is full of career highs, such as An Officer and a Gentleman and Ray. However, Hackford grew up the son of a single mother who waited tables to support him. In his youth, against a California backdrop in the 1950s, Hackford was fascinated by the story of the underdog. In his filmography is another winning study of that subject, Everybody's All-American, which was set in Baton Rouge and celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. In the latest issue of 225, Jeff Roedel has a sit-down with Hackford about the football movie starring Dennis Quaid and John Goodman. The film is based on the novel by Frank Deford, and Hackford says he always saw the material as a story about cultural change: "There is an epic quotient in Deford's novel. I always viewed it as a mythical film about change in America—especially the South, using football as a metaphor."

LSU looks to increase football ticket prices next season; baseball in 2015

The LSU Athletic Department will soon ask the LSU Board of Supervisors to OK implementing a flexible pricing plan for home football games next season, as well as approve an increase to the so-called Tradition Fund for some football season ticket holders. Also, the athletic department is looking to raise the Tradition Fund for tickets and parking for the 2015 baseball season. "This is the first time since 2010 that we have sought a price increase for football," LSU Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva says in a prepared statement. "This increase is necessary for us to stay competitive at the highest level of collegiate athletics, but also because of the rising costs of doing business on a daily basis." As for the flexible pricing plan, the athletic department is seeking approval to price tickets based on opponent and the date of the game. The proposal also calls for a 6% increase in season ticket prices as well as an increase to the Tradition Fund for reserved parking...

Sports roundup: 'Quality loss' puts Saints at No. 3 in Power Rankings … LSU defense comes back swinging … Two Tigers among CBS Sports' Top 100 in college hoops

Barely budging: The New Orleans Saints may have suffered their first loss of the season in New England this past weekend, but ESPN's Mike Triplett calls it a "quality loss," adding "there's no shame in dropping a close game on the road against such a formidable opponent." For their effort and an almost-perfect start to the season six weeks in, Triplett only moved the Saints down one spot to No. 3 on this week's Power Rankings (and notes they were No. 14 on the rankings in the preseason). The Saints are off this week. See the full rankings.

On the green

Odell Wilmer Sr.
Owner, Wilmer Environmental

LA Boxing to become UFC Gym

LA Boxing will formally kick off its rebranding as UFC Gym at a celebratory event next Saturday, Oct. 26—the culmination of a transition that began about eight months ago. Talks between LA Boxing and New Evolution Ventures (NeV), the parent company of UFC Gym, began at the start of 2013, says LA Boxing owner Gabe Miller, and the official merge began in February. Miller says LA Boxing, which first opened on Sherwood Forest Boulevard in late 2009 and recently opened a second location on Perkins Road, was initially drawn to NeV because of their common goals. "We kind of felt like their [NeV's] UFC Gyms were going in the same direction as LA Boxing," Miller says. "There were very, very similar goals and a very similar target market and programs being developed." As talks progressed, it became clear NeV's size could really push LA Boxing's product forward. Says Miller, "They're a much larger company than us, and we kind of felt like their marketing, their proven success, their track...

Sports roundup: LSU-Florida game could be decided in secondary … Patriots TE Gronkowski still 'day to day' as team prepares for Saints … Tickets for LSU basketball go on sale Thursday

The game has changed: Big games in the SEC are usually won and lost on the line of scrimmage, which may very well turn out to be the case when the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers face off in Baton Rouge on Saturday afternoon. But Gainsville Sun sports reporter Robbie Andreu says "the real monster matchup is not necessarily the one between the big nasties up front." Instead, he says, the game could be decided in the matchup between LSU's wide receivers and Florida's defensive backs. "This is a game that could be won or lost in the secondary—Florida's secondary, where some of the SEC's best defensive backs will be trying to cover and contain perhaps the most dynamic pair of wide receivers in the nation in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.," Andreu says. Read the full story.

Tiger Stadium named among five best college football stadiums

According to USA Today's Paul Myerberg, the greatest stadiums in college football share the following four qualities: they're really big, they're really loud, they have loads of history and they offer sweeping views for those up in the cheap seats. Tiger Stadium fits the bill, Myerberg says. "What you can count on from LSU's home field: size, intimidation, noise, earthquake-level reverberations, history, aesthetics and noise," writes Myerberg in his rundown of the nation's five best college stadiums. "Those who planned and built Tiger Stadium knew what they were doing. Suffocating, claustrophobic and steamy Death Valley seems carved out of another era—I'm thinking ancient Rome." Also included on Myerberg's list are: Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. (Oregon Ducks); Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska Cornhuskers); Kyle Field in College Station, Texas (Texas A&M Aggies); and Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash. (Washington Huskies). Read

NCAA women's tourney returning to Baton Rouge

LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center has been selected as an early-round host site for the 2014 women's NCAA basketall tournament. The Associated Press reports it will mark the third-straight season Baton Rouge has hosted first- and second-round games. The tournament's first two rounds will be played at 16 sites around the country between March 22 and 25. Precise dates and times will be released later this month. The Lady Tigers are 16-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in Baton Rouge, including 8-0 in first-round games. Last season, LSU won both first- and second-round games on its home floor to advance to the regional semifinals. LSU coach Nikki Caldwell says it's now up to the Lady Tigers to qualify for the tournament again so they can enjoy more postseason contests in their home arena. LSU has more details on the announcement.

Sports roundup: Saints TE Jimmy Graham earns historic honor … Bulldogs hope home field will be big advantage over LSU … NFL MVP Projection: Drew Brees moving up

A league first: The New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham continues to raise the bar for the tight end position. ESPN reports Graham was today named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Month—marking the first time a tight end has been so honored in either conference since the NFL started the award in 1986. Graham caught 27 passes for 458 yards and six touchdowns in four September victories. "He's a big target. He's extremely athletic. He's got this fire and passion and will to succeed and to work at it. He wants to be great. That's all you want in a teammate and in a target," says Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week by the NFL on Wednesday. Read the full story.

Crawfish Aquatics to develop swimming, recreational facility on Siegen

Crawfish Aquatics is planning to submit an application to the Planning Commission next week to develop a 40,000-square-foot swimming and recreational facility at the 4.8-acre property it purchased in August on Siegen Lane near the intersection of Perkins Road. Architect Mark Ripple, whose New Orleans firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple is designing the project, says the first phase of the facility will have two indoor pools for swimming lessons, lap swimming and recreational use, as well as an outdoor recreational pool and splash play area. The facility will also have indoor training and children's play areas. Plans for a second phase include a 20,000-square-foot addition that will house a 50-meter competition pool. "It's going to be a wonderful project," says Ripple, whose brother, Steven Ripple, owns Crawfish Aquatics. "We are moving forward and are planning to have it ready for the summer...

Tackling fuel

It happens every game. Just as linebacker Lamin Barrow is about to tackle his opponents, he sees their eyes grow wide.

'NY Times' takes a look under 'The Hat'

Despite some of the mixed feelings that LSU fans have about their football coach, Les Miles insists in an interview with The New York Times that he is never confronted by unhappy Tigers fans in public. "If they have something bad to say to me, they keep it, they don't say it to me," Miles tells the newspaper in a story titled "Trying To Understand LSU Coach Les Miles." "The people of this state and the community that represents this school have been so kind to my wife and my family. I love them." Also in the feature, fans learn a little about which movies Miles loves and hates, what his drinking habits are—"I've never walked into a bar in this state or in the last eight years as the head coach of LSU, nor have I drank a beer at a public place"—and why he claps the way he does. "You can't be soft-handed; it has to be an aggressive clap," he says before a demonstration. "You keep your fingers out so that you don't get them caught in between, you know what I'm saying?...

Sports roundup: Expect heavyweight fight up front in Athens … Murry reportedly considered transfer from Georgia had Mettenberger beat him for QB job … Brees talks NFL concussion settlement, the read-option and Sean Payton

Ready to rumble: Ego Ferguson tells ESPN he expects a slugfest up front when LSU meets Georgia in Athens on Saturday. LSU's junior defensive tackle knows playing with the big uglies in the SEC means constant fights each week, but this one feels different. "It's like watching a heavyweight fight. It's like [Muhammad] Ali and [George] Foreman go at it," Ferguson says. "It's going to be a battle all day. The way we look at it, we're coming in to prove a point that we can still do it on the defensive line. It's going to be a great challenge, but we're going to be at our best." Read the full story.

Legendary LSU coach, athletic director Paul Dietzel dies at 89

The head coach and architect of LSU's 1958 football National Championship team who later served as athletic director at LSU, Paul Dietzel, passed away early this morning after a brief illness at the age of 89, the university has announced. Dietzel served as football coach from 1955 through 1961 and he returned to LSU in 1978 as athletic director, serving until 1982. After first retiring to North Carolina, he eventually did some radio and TV work on football broadcasts in the Southern Conference and helped with the creation of the Samford University athletic department in Birmingham, Ala. Dietzel, who was the last living member of the 1958 National Championship coaching staff, and his wife Anne eventually returned to Baton Rouge in 2003. One of his last major public appearances came at the opening of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame building in Natchitoches earlier this year. He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. LSU says it will provide further details on...

Tigers' Turner and Johnson off injured list for Georgia game

LSU coach Les Miles says starting right guard Trai Turner and starting defensive tackle Anthony Johnson will recover from recent injuries in time to play on Saturday when the No. 6 Tigers visit No. 9 Georgia. Both players left Saturday night's game against Auburn: Turner with an apparent right ankle injury and Johnson with a left leg injury. Speaking to reporters at his weekly press conference today, Miles said trainers determined Turner, whose ankle was stepped on, has only a contusion, which he referred to as "great news." The coach described Johnson's injury as "basically a bruise," adding that he is "going to be fine" and that both players will "play from first snap on." Miles describes the overall health of his team as "very good" heading into LSU's first significant road test this season. The LSU-Georgia game is set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday. The game will be televised on CBS. Also today, the SEC announced LSU's game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Oct. 5 in...

Pedaling bikes a burgeoning business in Baton Rouge

Two new bicycle shops have opened in Baton Rouge within the past few months and an existing location is expanding—growth that Beaux Jones, chair of Bike Baton Rouge, attributes to the increasing popularity of biking in the city. "You're seeing the stores and the consumer responding [to the biking movement]," Jones says. "I think it's extremely exciting, but really speaks to a larger trend in Baton Rouge: that we're at a tipping point in the community where people are starting to see the benefits of, say, biking to Live After Five, or biking to the neighborhood grocery store." Mississippi-based The Bike Crossing opened in Towne Center earlier this summer, attracted by the growing popularity of biking in the Capital Region, says manager Matt Gandy. "There are several bike shops [in Baton Rouge] already, so we wanted to offer different brands here like Giant, Scott, and Bianchi," Gandy says. At about 6,000 square feet, The Bicycle Shop's new location 11060 at Cloverland Ave. is...

Sports roundup: Mettenberger, Marshall follow similar career paths to Saturday's matchup … Former Tiger Kevin Faulk included in 2013 SEC Football Legends Class … 'Honey Badger' talks about his return to New Orleans on Sunday

Arms race: The paths of LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Auburn's Nick Marshall will finally intersect on Saturday after following parallel treks. Both quarterbacks started their careers at Georgia, got kicked off the team and then headed to a Kansas junior college before landing once again in the SEC. Now Mettenberger will lead No. 6 LSU against Marshall and the visiting Auburn Tigers Saturday night in Death Valley. "'I'll definitely be interested to see what happens,'' Georgia coach Mark Richt says, adding he likes both ''very much.'' The Associated Press has the full story.

Ohio State officials watching LSU records case closely

Usually around this time of the year, the only reason those at Ohio State University might be watching LSU is to see where they're at in the latest college football rankings. Not this fall. As OSU student newspaper The Lantern reports, the university—which has tapped the same search consultant LSU did in its most recent presidential search, Dallas-based R. William Funk & Associates—is coming under scrutiny for its plans to keep private some of its records regarding presidential candidates. "As the work of the Presidential Search Committee continues, it is important to establish a process that allows candidates to maintain some privacy, and it is with that consideration that the names of final candidates will remain confidential," reads a statement from OSU to the newspaper. "Other details surrounding the process are not as clear cut, however," The Lantern reports. "Various Presidential Search Committee officials have sent mixed messages about their desires...

Benson gets richer, nearly drops off Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans

Although his reported net worth rose $100 million over the past year—to $1.3 billion as of this month—Tom Benson nearly slipped off the 2013 Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, released today. The 86-year-old owner of New Orleans' professional football and basketball franchises fell from No. 360 on last year's list to No. 386 this year. Benson is the lone person from Louisiana on the list, which is getting increasingly difficult to get and stay on. While most of the top names and rankings didn't change from a year ago, the majority of members of the elite club saw their fortunes grow exponentially over the past year, boosted by strong stock and real estate markets. "Basically, the mega rich are mega richer," Forbes Senior Editor Kerry Dolan tells The Associated Press. Dolan notes the list's minimum net income increased to a pre-financial crisis level of $1.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2012, with 61 American billionaires not making the cut. "In some...

Miles denies any knowledge of latest 'Sports Illustrated' allegations

LSU football coach Les Miles tells Sports Illustrated in the magazine's latest article alleging misconduct by the Oklahoma State University football program that he does not know of any girls from a university hostess program having sex with football recruits in an attempt to get them to sign with OSU. "I am not aware of this ever happening, and am quite sure that no staff member was aware of recruits sleeping with this group of students or any other students," the magazine quotes Miles in an e-mail response to a questions about the hostess group known as Orange Pride. In its latest story—the fourth in a five-part series—released today, Sports Illustrated says "more than a dozen Cowboys who played from 2001 to '11 told SI that a small number of Orange Pride members had sexual relations with them or with other prospects...

Sports roundup: Latest 'SI' report says OSU players frequently used, sold drugs while Miles was coach … Vaccaro says NFL fined him for hit on Falcons' QB … AP takes readers on tour of the nation's grandest college football digs

Day 3: Another day, another damning report from Sports Illustrated about Oklahoma State University's football program during and after the time Les Miles was head coach. Today's story from the magazine is the third in a five-part series. The first story alleged OSU players were paid for on-field performances, the second detailed academic cheating and today's story says players routinely used—and even sold—drugs. A tease of Friday's installment in the series says, "Under Les Miles, membership in Orange Pride, the football program's hostess group, tripled as the organization became a key recruiting tool. Players say that a small number of women in the group had sex with recruits." Miles has thus far denied any wrongdoing while coach at OSU from 2001 to 2004.

Bertman defends Miles against 'Sports Illustrated' allegations

Former LSU athletics director and legendary baseball coach Skip Bertman—who hired Les Miles from Oklahoma State University after coach Nick Saban left Baton Rouge following the 2004 football season—says he's shocked by the allegations made thus far in a five-part series of stories being released this week by Sports Illustrated regarding NCAA violations at OSU during Miles' time there. "It stunned me," Bertman tells USA Today. "We checked Les with every background check there is off the field, as well as with the NCAA and with the Oklahoma State athletic department. You can find out if a coach was ever just looked at for even a secondary violation, and he had a clean slate. I worked with Les for five years, and the guy is very, very anti anything close to a recruiting violation or drugs or cheating." Sports Illustrated released the second story in its series—which contains allegations from players at OSU between 2000 and 2011—online today.

Miles implicated in 'Sports Illustrated' series examining cheating at OSU

LSU coach Les Miles is implicated in NCAA rules violations during his time at Oklahoma State University in the first of an extensive five-part series by Sports Illustrated released today. The series of articles, which are to be released throughout this week, details transgressions by the OSU football program dating back to 2001. Among them, OSU is accused of conducting a pay-to-play scheme by which players were given cash bonuses for their performances during Miles' time at the university. In a news release sent Monday, Sports Illustrated gave highlights of the series of articles. The magazine says it conducted interviews with more than 60 former Oklahoma State players who played for the school from 2001-10. Miles was head coach at Oklahoma State from 2001-04, when the program began to emerge from years of mediocrity. Current coach Mike Gundy took over in 2005 and the Cowboys have grown into a Big 12 power. Responding to the pending report on Saturday following LSU's...

Sports roundup: Sept. 21 LSU-Auburn set for 6:45 p.m. kickoff … Beckham Jr. named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week … Saints called 'a player, a contender' again by ESPN

Louisiana Saturday night: LSU's SEC opener against Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 21, in Tiger Stadium will kick off at 6:45 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN, the league office announced today. The Auburn game will mark LSU's third-straight night contest in Tiger Stadium this season. LSU beat UAB 56-17, this past Saturday at home, and this week the Tigers host Kent State at 6 p.m. That game will be aired on ESPNU.

Superdome officials confident lights will stay on

Saints right tackle Zach Strief recalls sadness consuming him when he saw the Superdome go dark during the Super Bowl. Strief had settled permanently in New Orleans since being drafted by the Saints in 2006—less than a year after Hurricane Katrina—and he understood the central role the rebuilt stadium had played in the city's regrowth. "I didn't want the blackout to reflect negatively on the city," Strief tells The Associated Press, "especially after having seen how amazing it was here for the week leading up" to the game. During the months between the dark side of the Super Bowl and the dawn of a new NFL season, the 38-year-old stadium has undergone scrutiny and about $1.5 million in electrical upgrades in an effort to ensure the lights stay on for the Saints home opener this Sunday and every game thereafter. As it turned out, experts say nothing in the dome itself was to blame for the blackout that caused a 34-minute delay during the third quarter of last season's...

'Advocate' launches marketing effort to brand itself as 'official newspaper' of LSU sports

Readers of The Advocate might have noticed a banner headline on the front page this morning billing the paper as "The Official Newspaper of the LSU Tigers." It's part of a new marketing campaign—the daily is also now the official paper of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans—designed to help promote The Advocate as it tries to expand into the New Orleans and Acadiana markets. "This is a business and marketing venture," Advocate general manager Dan Shea tells Daily Report. "It allows us more signage, more visibility, things like that." Neither Shea nor LSU or the Saints would discuss how much The Advocate is spending on the sponsorships, but Shea explains "it's not different than any other corporate sponsorship." Experts, however, say this latest maneuver in the high-profile newspaper war between The Advocate and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune is highly unusual. "I have never heard of anything like that anywhere...

Sports roundup: Dunham High alum takes National Defensive Player of the Week award … Mettenberger says he really plays the game for one person: mom … Higgins returns home to tackle LSU Tigers and SEC beat for NOLA.com

For dad: Dunham High School graduate Collin Ellis, now a junior at Northwestern, has been named the National Defensive Player of the Week for grabbing two interceptions for touchdowns in the team's season opener against California on Saturday. In response, the Chicago Sun-Times has a touching feature story on the personal tragedy that befell Ellis and his family in March 2010, when Ellis' father, Greg, committed suicide. "Some people's dads, you see the look in their eyes," Ellis says, referring to the Northwestern parents who line the tunnel as players walk onto the field each week. "They are super, super proud. I knew my dad would be like that, too. And so sometimes I get emotional. Especially at Cal, I got emotional." Read the full story.

Tiger Stadium construction not expected to impact gameday experience

Despite the massive expansion project underway at Tiger Stadium's south end zone, university officials say fans can rest assured that nothing will get in the way of their normal gameday experience during Saturday's home opener. Senior Associate Athletic Director Eddie Nunez says the construction area's biggest impact will be on fans who typically enter the stadium through Portal B. They'll now have to enter through Gates 1-3 and Gate 14. In terms of navigating around the stadium, the South Lawn will be closed closed due to the construction, so fans traveling from the west to east sides of the stadium should be aware of that and use an alternate route, says Michael Bonnette, LSU's sports information director. Additionally, South Stadium Drive, which has been closed since December 2012, will be reduced to one lane and opened for pedestrian traffic flow and emergency vehicles, according to Gary Graham, campus director of Parking and Transportation Services. Although construction will...

Sports roundup: Quality of prospects Alabama is raiding from LSU on the rise, Guilbeau says … Six to be inducted into LSU Athletics Hall of Fame next week … Concussions in forefront as NFL season opens

The crimson blues: Alabama landing another football prospect from Louisiana is old news, says Shreveport Times' Glenn Guilbeau, but the quality of prospect is rising fast. "From 2007 when former LSU coach Nick Saban took over as Alabama's coach through 2011, Alabama signed seven players from Louisiana who were ranked in the top 25 in the state of Louisiana by Rivals.com," notes Guilbeau. "But none of those were ranked higher than No. 13 at their position in the nation." However, Cameron Robinson of West Monroe is the No. 1 ranked offensive tackle in the nation and No. 3 overall prospect in the country by Rivals.com. He committed to Alabama Wednesday afternoon over LSU on national television. Get Guilbeau's complete take on what the move means for LSU.

'225': Zach Mettenberger on his senior year, his new OC and more

Zach Mettenberger was calm, cool and collected when 225 paid him a visit in late June, just as he was about to shoot a video spot for the pregame announcements shown in Tiger Stadium. "The senior quarterback knows the 2013 season is make-or-break for him. Pressure? He understands it. He also acknowledges that this could very well be his last season starting for a football team—ever," writes 225's Matthew Sigur. Last season, Mettenberger threw for 12 touchdowns and amassed more than 2,600 yards. His completion rate was around 60%. This year, he has a new weapon—Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, who joined the LSU staff in the off-season after coaching for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. "I'm really excited," Mettenberger tells 225. "I'm very optimistic about what we can achieve this year. We're bringing back a lot of good, talented guys, a lot of core leadership that we had last year. Offensively, we're bringing back basically everybody. I'm...

Sports roundup: Fort Worth newspaper predicts TCU win over LSU … With just one online course, Mettenberger's homework 'is football pretty much' … NFL, former football players to settle concussion lawsuits for $765 million

Liking their chances: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram released its predictions for the TCU Horned Frogs' upcoming football season today, and the newspaper is calling for the hometown team to pull out a 27-24 upset over LSU in Saturday's opener. "It isn't the most well-played game, but TCU upsets mistake-plagued LSU," the newspaper predicts. Interestingly enough, the Star-Telegram predicts the Tigers will exact revenge on Jan. 3 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, with a 30-24 win over the Horned Frogs. Check out the newspaper's complete coverage of TCU as it prepares for LSU.

Saints-themed Who Dat burger goes on sale Monday at area Sonic Drive-Ins

Saints fans in the Capital Region soon will be able to enjoy some fast food while showing their team spirit. Sonic Drive-In, the Oklahoma-based fast food chain, will begin selling a Who Dat burger at 28 Baton Rouge locations on Monday. The burger will have a "Who Dat!" logo on the bun and will be adorned with Tabasco-spiced mayonnaise, "onion tanglers" and pepper jack cheese, according to NOLA.com. Each order comes with a pack of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. The Who Dat burger goes on sale Monday in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Alexandria and will remain on the menu through the end of the year.

Sports Roundup: Colston back at practice, impresses Payton … New Orleans Bowl extends ties with Sun Belt … Ben Sheets named volunteer assistant at ULM

Colston optimistic: After missing more than a dozen days of practice since training camp opened in July, Saints wide receiver Marques Colston was back at practice today. Saints Coach Sean Payton says he's inclined to sit Colston for Sunday's preseason game against the Houston Texans. Still, Payton says he was encouraged by what he saw at today's practice. "The key is just making sure we don't hurry it back. It's something that will calm down, but it will take a little time," Payton tells NOLA.com.

LSU will play Thanksgiving Day for the first time in 40 years

LSU's 2014 football schedule is out and it includes some breaks from tradition, namely a Thanksgiving Day game at Texas A&M. That means this season marks the last in a more than two-decades-long string of regular season finales against Arkansas on Thanksgiving weekend, The Associated Press notes. The 2014 schedule opens with a neutral-site game against Wisconsin in Houston on Aug. 30. LSU's seven home contests include Southeastern Conference match-ups with Mississippi State, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. In addition to visiting the Aggies, the Tigers will play on the road against Auburn, Florida and Arkansas, with the Razorbacks game now coming on Nov. 15. LSU's non-league home games come against Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State.