With baseball in full swing and the college basketball season in the books, the plethora of opinions circulating out there are far too numerous to count.

While fans are spending a large majority of the time grumbling about John Brady or Smoke Laval, they need to realize that  there are a great deal of good things going on in Tiger town and beyond.


Sure the basketball team lost yet another player and the baseball team is looking far from Omaha quality right now, Seimone Augustus continues to rack up lots of hardware, D-D Breaux's gymnastics team is eyeing a national championship and Tiger Rag has a new columnist on board sure to knock your socks off.


But it seems when there is a steady stream of negativity floating around out there, that is all anyone wants to talk about, so let's do it.


It is all here, in our latest rant.




  The hottest topic of the week has been the downward spiral of the LSU baseball team. Usually Tiger baseball is the gold standard of college baseball. With the legacy of Skip Bertman, the mystique of Alex Box Stadium and the greatest fans in the land, LSU baseball is second to none. Well, they aren't just second – try sixth. The Tigers were swept last weekend, their third straight series defeat, by South Carolina and fell to sixth place in the SEC Western Division. With a highly competitive SEC this season, the Tigers should make the NCAA Tournament, but is sometime doesn't happen and fast, LSU could be on the outside looking in of the SEC Tournament.




  This is a "what have you done for me lately" society so the main thing people are going to remember is LSU getting swept by South Carolina. However, Smoke Laval and Co. get some kudos for nice win over Rice last week at the Wally Pontiff Classic held at Zephyr Field.




  To the LSU softball team. While it is not totally their fault having to replace a multitude of players form last year's No. 3 ranked team, the Tigers have fallen far from grace and currently stand at 5-12 in the SEC. LSU's lineup is dominated by freshmen, who coach Yvette Girouard knows will only get better, but right now times are tough.




  While the softball team is having a rough go at it this year, they can find some solace that Girouard picked up career coaching victory No. 1000 two weeks ago. Congratulations coach.




  Welcome aboard Doug Thompson. The former LSU pitching great has signed on as our expert baseball insider and will be featured in the next five issue of Tiger Rag. We will conduct Q&A sessions with the former Tiger all-American picking his brain for insight and stories as LSU works through the SEC baseball slate. Feel free to e-mail any questions you might want answered by Doug to matt@tigerrag.com.




  To the Baylor Lady Bears. Kim Mulkey-Robertson and her team were awarded for playing the best basketball at the right time by winning the women's college basketball national championship. Unfortunately, Baylor's title came at the expense of a 68-57 win over LSU. But Lady Tiger fans found some solace in the fact Michigan State rallied from 16 points down to knock off arch rival Tennessee. LSU will be back, but so will the Lady Bears. Can't wait to see them go at it next year.




  To Seimone Augustus. The junior guard has picked up just about every award possible as Augustus is everyone's national player of the year. Being named the winner of the Wooden, Wade and Naismith trophies, Augustus was the unanimous national player of the year by the AP and every other news service.




  To Ross Neltner's departure from the basketball team. A promising young talent that showed a great deal of improvement during his second season at LSU, Neltner has chosen to leave Baton Rouge for more playing time elsewhere. With a highly talented class coming in, Neltner may have seen the writing on the wall. But saying he plans to transfer to programs of the likes of Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan or even Wake Forest is absurd. If he isn't playing a whole lot at LSU, do you think he would do otherwise at one of those schools?




  To the Tiger basketball program. Barring a Brandon Bass leap to the NBA, a great deal of national experts think the LSU Tiger hoops squad could be pretty good next season. Losing just two senior, Antonio Hudson and Xavier Whipple, and possibly Bass and Glen Davis returning with the arrival of Tasmin Mitchell, some say LSU could be ranked as high as 10th in the preseason next year. Stay tuned.




To former Lady Tiger coach Sue Gunter. The 40-year coaching veteran was named to the College Basketball Hall of Fame. Congratulations.




  To the construction project on Tiger Stadium's west side. While LSU has been downplaying reports that the deck is behind schedule, one unnamed LSU official said that when the east upper deck was being built in 1999, at this point in the construction, most of the deck was in place. Being in Tiger Stadium last Saturday for LSU's second spring scrimmage, the support structure has not even been completed yet. LSU officials said the seating area will be complete for the season opener against North Texas, but it has been said the finishing touches will not have been applied at that time.




And finally, a great big thumbs up to coach D-D Breaux's LSU Gymnastics squad. The Tigers swept the meet's team and individual honors which catapulted the third-ranked LSU gymnastics team to the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship. Behind four scores of 49.050 or better the Tigers tallied a 197.125 in winning their second straight regional title and their third in the last four years. The win sends LSU to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for April 21-23 in Auburn, Ala., for the seventh time in the last eight years. No. 10 Oklahoma will join the Tigers at the national meet after earning runner-up honors with a 195.550. New Hampshire (194.700), Arkansas (193.950), Pittsburgh (193.100) and Rutgers (191.350) rounded out the meet's team standings. "This is always the hardest meet of the year," said LSU head coach D-D Breaux. "It means so much because it is the only meet that can get you to that next level. The team did a great job. They never let up all night. We had a minor break on beam, but we kept the pressure on them and they responded with five great sets. We couldn't have asked for more."

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