Best part

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

of August? Hope

You know what the best part is about being a sports editor?

You may think it&8217;s going to all the games in the area, and even making it to a few college and professional events. You may even think it&8217;s meeting new people all the time.

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Well, you&8217;d be wrong.

The best part is clearly the food.

On almost anything you cover, somebody has food and it&8217;s free, at least for the reporters. That was definitely the case for me this past Friday at Tensas Academy&8217;s &8220;Meet the Chiefs&8221; night.

The jambalaya was incredible, and it was even more interesting to talk to the coaches, players and fans all the way out in St. Joseph.

There will be somewhere between 14 and 19 players on the field for Tensas this season, depending on who you ask. While having that few players would be a tall order for any team at any level, the optimism was high on the Tensas campus.

And isn&8217;t that the beautiful part of this time of year? With over a week still remaining before even the jamborees for most teams in the area, hope currently springs eternal.

We&8217;re still moving around and talking to teams in the area, so I won&8217;t go around making any predictions just yet, but it is exciting to think about the possibilities this coming year.

While last year was a sub-par year for many teams in the area by all accounts, sports reporter Rick Breland and I foresee several big turnarounds.

At the college level, polls have started coming out, and LSU was ranked ninth in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Thus far the Bayou Bengals have been one of the more divisive teams heading into the season. Some self-proclaimed experts are picking them to contend for a national title, while others are seeing a potential Tennessee-like collapse.

I&8217;ll be heading to media days Sunday to get a first-hand look myself, but as an outsider looking in at this point I picture a pretty good season that should see them in contention for another trip to Atlanta. The Auburn game will tell the tale.

I&8217;ve yet to catch a practice at Alcorn, so I can&8217;t yet speak to the talent level up there. I do know there were several staffers excited about the upcoming season the last time I made the drive up there.

As I said, that&8217;s the great part about this time of year. Right now Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Kentucky are just as close to winning the SEC as Auburn, Georgia and LSU, and that&8217;s a beautiful thought, isn&8217;t it?

While sitting around in 100-degree heat isn&8217;t exactly making me think football season, I&8217;ve never been more excited to see it arrive. If anyone has any requests or questions as the season moves along, my day is never too busy to talk to a reader. Don&8217;t hesitate to call, e-mail or stop by to see me.

My sincere hope is that this season will be the best football season The Natchez Democrat has ever presented to its readers.

Hey, hope springs eternal.

Tim Cottrell is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3632 or by e-mail at