The Wire

  • VIDEO: Bill Hightower for Governor airs its first TV ad

    State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) will air his first TV ad in his campaign for governor next week. An advance look at the commercial, which focuses on term limits, a flat tax and cutting spending, can be seen here:

  • President Trump threatens to veto federal budget because it doesn’t fully fund border wall

  • Alabama Rep. Roby’s re-election campaign nabs endorsements from pro-business groups

    Excerpt from a campaign news release:

    “Martha Roby continues to do an outstanding job for the hardworking people of Alabama. Her steadfast support has allowed job creation and an environment where people can do better for themselves and their families.”
    Alex Whaley, II, Alabama Associated General Contractors PAC

    “As the voice of small business, NFIB knows good small business policy starts with electing good small business candidates. Therefore, Martha Roby’s reelection is critical to the small businesses in Alabama’s Second District, and we look forward to working with you on the issues most important to them.”
    Sharon Sussin, National Political Director, National Federation of Independent Business Fed PAC

4 days ago

Talladega Superspeedway lands sponsor for October’s main event

(Image: Talladega Superspeedway, View from O.V. Hill South Tower -- Jeff Poor / Yellowhammer News)

Talladega Superspeedway announced today that the company would sponsor its October NASCAR Monster Energy Cup, which is one of sanctioning body’s 10 “playoff” events that determine who is the champion of its premier series.

The event scheduled for October 14 will be known as the 500. In previous years, the event had gone with the “Alabama 500” moniker without a primary sponsor.

The sponsor,, in a Texas-based company that focuses on specialty lighting. According to a release from the track, the company started with two employees and had grown to more than 240 people and “has over 2500 orders daily from 30,000 new customers each month.”


“We can’t wait for the 500 to get here,” Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch said in a statement. “What a company is to partner with, one that strives for excellence with cutting-edge technology and so many incredible lighting products to take care of their customers’ needs. Our fans know that when they come to Talladega, we will do everything in our power to make sure they have an incredible time. We are the most competitive track in all of NASCAR, and we welcome Kim and his staff to the Talladega Superspeedway family.”

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

(Image: Talladega Superspeedway, View from O.V. Hill South Tower — Jeff Poor / Yellowhammer News)

2 months ago

The University of Central Florida’s ‘national championship’ win could bring Auburn license plates to Florida

(Screenshot / CATECOMM)


(Screenshot / CATECOMM)


Down in Tallahassee this week, a bill was filed in the Florida Legislature to create a specialty license plate recognizing the University of Central Florida as national champions for their 2017 undefeated season.

That legislation also includes a Florida license plate for Auburn fans.

The UCF Knights defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-27 on New Year’s Day in Atlanta’s Peach Bowl to cap off a 13-0 perfect season.

Days later, despite Alabama beating Georgia in the game for what most considered to be the national championship, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation declaring the University of Central Florida national champions.

Along with that proclamation came HB 1359, a bill sponsored by Auburn alum and Tampa Republican State Rep. Jamie Grant and UCF alum and Orlando Democrat State Rep. Guillermo Smith. If passed, it would make available to Floridians the UCF national championship plate and the Auburn vanity license plate.


Grant has backed past efforts to bring Auburn plates to Florida, all of which have come up short.

However, riding on the coattails of a University of Central Florida “national championship” plate, some think this bill has a better chance of being passed into law.

Behind the scenes, Democratic consultant Kevin Cate, the founder of the Tallahassee-based public relations firm CATECOMM and also an Auburn grad, has been heading a PR campaign.

He has created websites, one for those backing a UCF “national championship” plate and one for those backing the Auburn plate, that shows proponents of the bill how to contact their members of the Florida legislature and urge them to support it.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

2 months ago

Watch the ‘Rammer Jammer’ explode after last night’s Alabama victory over Georgia

Alabama fans cheering the ‘Rammer Jammer,” Jan. 8, 2018, Atlanta (University of Alabama/Twitter)
Alabama fans cheering the ‘Rammer Jammer,” Jan. 8, 2018, Atlanta (University of Alabama/Twitter)


Ladies and gentlemen … the Rammer Jammer you’ve been waiting all season to hear:

Roll Tide, Alabama. Roll Tide. 

2 months ago

‘Roll Tide … now will you marry me?’ Alabama lineman wins championship, then wins the girl

Brad Bozeman (SEC Network/Twitter)
Brad Bozeman (SEC Network/Twitter)

While his teammates were celebrating their historic come-from-behind victory over Georgia last night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Alabama center Bradley Bozeman focused on more important things.

The 319-pound junior from Roanoke, Ala., dropped to one knee and asked his girlfriend to marry him.

Exit question: Would he have still asked if Alabama had lost … or better yet, would she have still said yes?

We kid, y’all.

Roll Tide!

2 months ago

ROLL TIDE: Two heroes emerge in Alabama’s epic national championship victory over Georgia

The crowd celebrates after Alabama wins the National Championship against Georgia in overtime (Yellowhammer)
The crowd celebrates after Alabama wins the National Championship against Georgia in overtime (Yellowhammer)


The first words a relieved looking Nick Saban said to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after winning his sixth national championship — five with the Crimson Tide, one with LSU — Monday night:

“Was that a good game or what?”

No doubt.

Georgia dominated for most of the game, but the Tide came from behind to tie the game and win 26-23 in overtime.

Two heroes emerged in the showdown between SEC rivals Alabama and Georgia.

The first: Tua Tagovailoa, a true freshman second-string quarterback who entered the game in the second half in an unexpected, and some would say risky, substitution.

The left-handed Hawaiian completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards and went on to throw a 41-yard touchdown to DaVonta Smith to slide past the Bulldogs in the epic win.

“First and foremost I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Tagovailoa told ESPN after the game. “You know, with Him all things are possible and that’s what happened tonight.”

The second hero is the star quarterback Tagovailoa replaced: sophomore Jalen Hurts, who showed class and maturity beyond his years when told to step aside for his less-experienced and less-accomplished counterpart.

With his signature calm and peaceful smile, Hurts cheered his teammates from the sideline and rejoiced in Tagovailoa’s game-saving leadership.

“[Tua] stepped in and did his thing,” Hurts said moments after the game ended and confetti spewed into the air. “He did his thing for his team. …I’m so happy for him and so happy for this team.”

2 months ago

Kirby Smart supposedly took a picture that might put a damper on his friendship with Nick Saban

Kirby Smart and Nick Saban (Wikimedia Commons)
Kirby Smart and Nick Saban (Wikimedia Commons)


The national championship matchup has a lot of people speculating about the publicly cordial relationship between Nick Saban and his former Tide coaching colleague Kirby Smart, and a recent story by Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News adds, let’s just say, some drama to the mix.

“The Tuscaloosa News learned that on his way out the door, Smart took a picture of Alabama’s recruiting board, which hangs in the inner sanctum of the Alabama football building, and showed it to recruits who weren’t necessarily at the top of that board,” Suttles wrote. 

Why this matters: Recruiting in college football is as competitive as the games themselves. It’s so big, in fact, that it elicits publications and pundits to rank coaches in terms of how well they do it. If Smart actually took that picture, he not only disrespected his friend in Coach Saban and the entire Alabama team – he committed football treason.

2 months ago

Gov. Kay Ivey magnificently trolls Georgia’s governor in a Trump-worthy tweet ahead of the national championship game

Jalen Hurts (
Jalen Hurts (


Georgia’s governor declared a “Georgia Football Friday” last week in celebration of the University of Georgia’s appearance in tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

Gov. Nathan Deal then asked everyone to wear red and black in support of their team, and will close all Atlanta-area government offices early today.

Across the entire state of Georgia, it seems that bulldog fans are going crazy today.

Meanwhile, across the state line, it’s just another Monday in Alabama, and Gov. Kay Ivey (an Auburn graduate, no less) trolled her colleague yesterday in a Trump-worthy tweet. 


3 months ago

Left-wing activists call on Nick Saban to speak out against Trump’s NFL anthem protest criticisms, decline White House invite

( & White House/Flickr)

( & White House/Flickr)



In a press release issued Thursday, the liberal activist group CREDO Action boasted about a petition it claims that more than 72,000 people have signed calling on University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban to speak out against President Donald Trump.

The petition encourages Saban to “disavow” Trump’s criticism of the National Anthem protests by NFL players and to pledge to decline an invite to the White House should Alabama emerge victorious in Monday’s college football national championship game against the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

“Take a stand against Donald Trump’s racism. Disavow his hateful critique of NFL protesters who are speaking out against systemic racism and police brutality. Affirm your players’ right to protest and pledge not to take your team to the White House if you win the national championship.”

CREDO Action is the advocacy arm of CREDO, a self-proclaimed “social change organization” and offers fundraising methods for other liberal groups.

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

3 months ago

Roll Trump Roll! President to attend Alabama-Georgia national championship game

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Then candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Mobile, 2016



President Donald Trump will attend Monday’s college football national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia’ capital city, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein.

Bluestein cites “three people with direct knowledge of his plans” and says Trump will be hosted by Georgia native Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers and his wife, Jamie Ayers. First lady Melania Trump is also expected to be in attendance.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her briefing by congratulating both schools.

“The president would like to start by congratulating two great teams from two great states both in the heart of Trump country,” she said. “We look forward to a fantastic National Championship between Georgia and Alabama next week.”

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

3 months ago

How Paul Finebaum paved the road for Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate


Saturday morning, the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman made a tenuous argument that current U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) could be blamed for the election of Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate earlier this month.

According to a thread initiated by Politico’s Daniel Strauss, the indefatigable Lyman postulates Byrne’s lackluster effort in the 2010 Alabama gubernatorial race led to the election of Robert Bentley.

In an interview with the Decatur Daily, Bentley blamed current Gov. Kay Ivey in part for Jones’ upset election win over Roy Moore.

“Changing the date of the election was the biggest factor in Doug Jones getting elected,” Bentley said to the Daily’s Mary Sell.

Strauss countered Bentley’s claim by saying it was actually Bentley himself that made the Jones’ victory possible.

Lyman followed up by offering an Alabama politics-style version of six degrees of Kevin Bacon and tied what he called “a generally lackluster campaign” from Byrne as why Bentley ascended to the governorship and was able to set all of this in motion.

However, there was one factor that Lyman completely ignored in his synopsis of the forthcoming blockbuster movie “How we got here with Doug Jones in 2017.”

In the 2014 book “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football,” sports talker and SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum credited himself for Bentley’s successful 2010 bid for governor.

Finebaum recalled that having Bentley on his radio show as a guest during the 2010 election cycle to discuss how he was once the “personal dermatologist” to legendary former University of Alabama head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

At the time, Finebaum’s show was syndicated throughout the Southeast, but it had more of an Alabama focus and was still broadcasted out of Birmingham, as opposed to Charlotte, N.C. where it is now.

Finebaum, in his book, claimed that the Alabama football coach was more influential in the state than the governor. The radio host contended that Bentley’s appearance on his show was what propelled Bentley to a win in that election.

Finebaum wrote about Bentley, “When people ask him about me, he says, ‘That’s the man who got me elected.'”

If Finebaum (as he claimed) was indeed the reason Bentley was elected, and Lyman has an argument with his chaos theory of what led to Jones’ win, then couldn’t it be said Finebaum was responsible for now Sen.-elect Doug Jones?

Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.

3 months ago

That time Nick Saban chewed me out at a press conference



Looks like I have a new and improved excuse to stand firm as the only non-Crimson Tide fan in my family:

Nick Saban is my trigger.

I’ve been having some strange reactions to sports news lately but I couldn’t think why …

— First, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that SEC Media Days will no longer be held exclusively at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.

Thinking about SEC Media Days made my eyes start to twitch.

— Then, Phillip Fulmer was named Tennessee’s acting athletic director after John Currie was fired.

My hands began to shake.

— Next, Saban’s defensive coordinator signed on as head football coach for the Volunteers.

SEC Media Days … Phillip Fulmer… Nick Saban … Tennessee … Alabama …

Something about it all made me break out in hives.

And then the memory came back, washing over me in one big wave.

Remember back in the early 2000s when Coach Fulmer was Tennessee’s head coach and he secretly told the SEC and NCAA about a University of Alabama booster who cheated to recruit players? All that led to an NCAA investigation, the booster’s conviction and probation for the Crimson Tide.

I was a news and sports intern at Birmingham’s WBRC in 2003 when Coach Fulmer was one controversial guy in Alabama.

I can’t remember the exact details (and calls and emails to WBRC did not receive a response), but someone in the sports department sent me — unsuspecting, no-clue-me — into SEC Media Days with one question for all the football coaches, along the lines of: “What do you think of what Coach Fulmer did by telling on Alabama?”

Can you even imagine how then-LSU Coach Saban reacted when he realized I was asking him to gossip?

Oh. My. Word.

Whatever he said sent me into a terrified stupor.

In my mind’s eye, he went from looking something like this:


To something like this but worse:

(Alabama Football/Facebook)

So, that’s right: If people can claim that Donald Trump and spiders are legitimate triggers, then I’m claiming Nick Saban as my trigger and that’s why I can’t cheer for Alabama to get to the National Championship (okay, okay I do respect the guy and won’t cry if they win).

Maybe a Saban chewing is a rite of passage? This YouTube video from Josh Snead says it all (I feel ya, Josh):



Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of

(Are you scared of Coach Saban? What would you ask him at a press conference?)

3 months ago

Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have something in common: They’re both vilified for political silence


We have all watched as people in the sports and entertainment world have taken various positions on hot-button political positions only to be told that they are now terrible at their chosen profession.

In the world of entertainment, Patton Oswalt is told he is a terrible comedian and Alec Baldwin apparently now sucks at acting to a sizable portion of those who are politically active for holding the wrong opinions.

In the sports world, look at Colin Kaepernick… OK, that’s a bad example, he was terrible before he decided he became America’s least effective Social Justice Warrior.

You will notice most politically-active celebrities are liberal in nature; there is no danger in being pro-gay marriage, but let a random reality TV star say they support traditional marriage (or any conservative cause) and they will be targeted for destruction.

But a new thread is now emerging. Not only are we mad when people express opinions we don’t like, we are starting to get mad at celebrities who say nothing. Taylor Swift’s silence on the Trump administration is treated by some as an outright endorsement of its activities and decisions. “Is she a feminist? Is she a racist?” Why are these questions being asked? Because she has said nothing. The sound of her silence is deafening … or something.

And don’t think Alabama escapes this nonsense.

Nick Saban, who probably came in third in the Alabama Senate race, is being targeted as a “clueless, gutless, selfish coward” for daring to not say anything about the Senate. But, again, let’s be honest, the real problem is that he didn’t help obliterate Roy Moore.

The lead-up to Roy Moore and Doug Jones’ election Tuesday should have been Saban’s shining career moment to show true leadership and humanity. By remaining silent on the numerous allegations that Moore was a pedophile, Saban showed he does not care about the plight or protection of young women and girls.”

The piece also said he didn’t care about black people, all because he is preparing for a College Football Playoff game against Clemson and not lecturing his fans about politics.

The people who write these articles scolding Saban and others for not using their powerful positions as a weapon, would be demanding he be fired if he dared stated he didn’t believe the women or that he was voting for Roy Moore. They would declare that it was not his place to try to influence his football players or fans of the Crimson Tide. They would write screeds about how Saban was using taxpayer-dollars to promote his political views; they might even call for him to be charged with a crime.

They are phonies.

This stuff only cuts one way. They want their liberal views expressed and highlighted, and all other views silenced, as they are on ESPN. This isn’t about wanting people to be more politically-involved, this is about continuing to bully people into thinking the “right way” and punishing people for thinking “incorrectly”.

Saban isn’t an idiot. He knows this game and he wants no part of it.

I don’t really make political comments. So, if I say I like one person that means everybody who voted for the other person doesn’t like me. So, why would I do that?”

Nick Saban and Taylor Swift have every right to voice their opinion, but they are under no obligation to amplify your viewpoints.

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.

4 months ago

Quin Hillyer: Malzahn’s odyssey shows state’s harmful tribalism and absurd football over-reactions


Hmmm…. So… Remember back, wow, a six-week lifetime ago, when so many Alabamans were calling for the guillotined head of Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn?

Don’t they look rather silly now that Auburn is in the SEC title game and very much alive for the national championship?

No, this isn’t a sports column, although I started my career as a sportswriter and remain an avid sports fan. And this isn’t a piece intended to show how so many people were such bad judges of coaching talent. Instead, this is a comment on a culture that puts far, far too much emphasis on football, and that over-reacts, far too quickly, to every change in football fortunes.

There’s still a “Fire Gus Malzahn” home page on Facebook. There’s still the Twitter feed of the same name. Way back in 2016 after just a few games, there already was a fan-led GoFundMe page to fire the coach. There still are the newspaper analyses available online from mid-October about how Malzahn was likely a goner and certainly a mediocrity – as in’s Kevin Scarbinsky writing of Malzahn and Auburn that “There is no winner here. If, by winner, you mean a head coach capable of competing for and capturing championships on the state, conference and national levels.”

Scarbinsky continued: “Four years ago, Malzahn was right there. Now it appears that window has closed and been boarded shut.”

Boarded shut? Really?

Why the rush to judgment only part-way through a season? Why the fan uprisings to fire a coach who as recently as 2013 had brought his team within three points of a national championship, who was offensive coordinator for Auburn when it did win a national championship — and who had never had a losing season as a head coach?

And for those who thought an 8-5 season was an entirely unforgivable sin, was there any consideration of whether this was an 8-5 coach who ran a program with integrity or one who ran a sleazy program? Did a program’s integrity matter at all? How about its success, or not, of actually helping kids get educated? If Malzahn had been 8-5 but his program produced a Rhodes Scholar in three straight years and boasted a graduation rate of more than 80 percent, would his critics have been less vociferous?

Football is loads of fun to watch and debate about and even slightly obsess about. Some of us even think that winning really does matter. But as Managing Editor Rachel Byars wrote over the weekend (in a slightly different context, that of the losers’ post-game funks), there is a “type of tomfoolery that runs rampant in our state” which elevates football wins and losses to a position of outlandish importance.

People agonize over football losses, but they pay only lip service to truly important matters such as education (both at the family level and as public policy), much less macro-problems such as Black Belt poverty. I know of a single small school in New Orleans, for example, that regularly turns out more National Merit semi-finalists than the entire county of Mobile. Yet as someone who has lived in each place for years, I can guarantee that New Orleanians are not naturally smarter than Mobilians.

While it would be foolish to overstate the case — clearly, we must grant that the overall New Orleans education level still lags the national average — the higher achievement levels for at least a subset of the Crescent City is an indicator that more citizens there truly stress educational goals than the percentage who do so here.

It’s not that the obsession with football is mostly to blame for Alabama’s low educational rankings and high poverty rate. But the obsession with football is surely at least a little to blame and, more importantly, is symptomatic of a broader outlook that is largely to blame.

The larger problematic outlook is one of insularity and tribalism. Bragging rights about our tribe outscoring your tribe (whether within the state or between it and others) — or of Alabamans thumbing their noses at outsiders because, well, we kick their butts on the gridiron — take on an outsized importance in our culture.

So when a consistently winning coach oversees one or two early-season losses, well, dontcha know he should be fired and tarred and feathered? That’ll learn him, but good, now won’t it?

That attitude is absurd. We can do better than this. We can show more patience, at least until a season’s end. We can consider other factors in the mix, such as arrest records (bad) or graduation rates (good), or a host of others.

There’s nothing wrong with yelling “ROLL TIDE!” or “WAR EAGLE!” There’s nothing wrong with loving football and caring who wins the games. But there’s everything wrong with over-reacting and over-emphasizing football, to the detriment of, well, everything else.

Yellowhammer Contributing Editor Quin Hillyer, of Mobile, also is a Contributing Editor for National Review Online, and is the author of Mad Jones, Heretic, a satirical literary novel published in the fall of 2017.

4 months ago

Iron Bowl has everything on the line for Alabama and Auburn

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics & Kent Gidley / University of Alabama Athletics)

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics & Kent Gidley / University of Alabama Athletics)



How big is this year’s Iron Bowl?

So big that bragging rights is way down the list.

Alabama, No. 1 in the College Football Playoff ranking, heads to the Plains to meet its cross-state rival at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. And victory for the visitors or No. 6 Auburn stamps that team’s ticket to the SEC Championship game next week against Georgia.

If the Iron Bowl winner is Alabama and it knocks off the once-beaten Bulldogs, the Tide will claim a berth in the College Football Playoff. Should Auburn win the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship, the Tigers will likely get into the four-team playoff for the national championship.

“It’s a big game,” Nick Saban said. “Gus Malzahn has done a phenomenal job. The Tigers have improved throughout the year and they’re playing as well as anyone in the nation right now.

“There is a lot of significance in this game,” he continued. “(It) makes it more interesting on a national level. As a coach, it’s always a big game. (It) means a lot to players, fans and everyone who is a part of it. Everyone kind of knows what’s at stake.”

Said coach Gus Malzahn: “You add the Iron Bowl and it’s big. Then you add the possibility of an SEC West Championship. It feels like 2013; exactly the same way.”

But first comes the meeting of the undefeated Crimson Tide and the twice-beaten Tigers. Between the two, there is no lack of respect.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the country and I think it’s a well (-deserved) rank,” Malzahn said of Alabama. “On offense, they’re extremely talented. I believe they’re the No. 7 offense in the country. And you look at them on defense, where they’re very talented also, they’re the No. 1 scoring defense.”

Saban isn’t dismissing Auburn either.

“You have to stop their running game and their ability to make explosive plays downfield,” he said. “Defensively they’re very good upfront. (They have) physical linebackers. They don’t make a lot of errors. (They’re a) challenging group to block down in and down out.”

Malzahn said having the comforts of home is an advantage.

“The good thing for us is we’re playing at home,” he said. “We do have experience playing the No. 1 team (Georgia) two weeks ago when we played our best game. And we’re going to have to do that again.”

Bill Clark leads his UAB Blazers into their regular-season finale against 0-11 Texas-El Paso at noon Saturday at Legion Field. And before anyone could ask during his press conference this week, Clark said he and his team have not forgotten about Charlotte, which was winless before upsetting UAB in overtime earlier in the season.

“We don’t care what their record is,” he said. “They’ve been in every single game, a lot of them into the fourth quarter. They don’t look like an 0-and-11 team. They’re fighting their tails off. We feel like we’re going to get their best game.”

In other college action:

Samford (8-3) at Kennesaw State (10-1): Coach Chris Hatcher’s Bulldogs solidified their place in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with their 26-20 win over Southern Conference foe Furman. Now they’ll head east to Georgia to face the Big South Conference at 2 p.m. Eastern.

“This is exciting for us to make the playoffs two years in a row,” Hatcher said. “This team has played extremely well. We’ve played a very difficult schedule this season and we finished strong. I’m really proud for the guys; they’ve earned the right to continue to play.”

Saturday’s game is a rematch of the season opener for both teams, when Samford won 28-23 on Aug. 31. That is the only previous meeting of the two programs.

The winner faces No. 3-seed Jacksonville State.

Delta State (9-3) at West Alabama (9-2): The Statesmen outscored Bowie State 45-35 to earn a noon date with the Tigers of Livingston in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. West Alabama is a No. 1 seed; Delta State is a No. 5 seed.

South Alabama: The Jaguars (4-7) are idle this week before ending the season at New Mexico State.

(By Solomon Crenwshaw Jr., courtesy Alabama News Center)

4 months ago

J. Pepper Bryars: Why do we care so much about football?



Every fall I tell myself not to get too emotional about Alabama football.

“It’s just a bunch of guys I don’t know, who are going to a school that I didn’t attend, who are playing a game with a ball, a game that I have no control over, and whose result doesn’t have any real impact on my life.”

That’s what I always say … but it’s never how I actually feel.

Football, college football, and Alabama football specifically seems to have attached itself to my DNA, wormed its way into my soul, and burrowed itself into my brain.

It’d probably be easier to separate myself from my right hand than separate myself from caring about Alabama football.

But I’m not one of those obnoxious fans who won’t shut up at the water cooler, or that guy who keeps statistics on wide receivers like he’s following the stock market, and I’m certainly not one of those really crazy people.

It can get ugly. Earlier this month an Alabama fan shot an Auburn fan in Mobile after arguing about which team is better (what a stupid thing to argue about, as if there’s any question, #RTR).

I haven’t gone that far, but I have acted irrationally.

Once I was so depressed after Alabama lost to Tennessee that I went out and bought a Jeep to brighten my mood (stupid). And I did de-friend my wife on Facebook for her celebratory comments after that 2013 “Kick Six’ Iron Bowl (she’s an Auburn fan … nobody’s perfect, I guess).

But seriously, it’s just a game, and a game we’re not even playing ourselves.

So what makes us this crazy?

— Born this way

It’s cradle-to-grave, brother.

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t a Crimson Tide fan, and I know for certain that I always will be.

And I’m definitely passing it along to my children.

I’m a Roman Catholic, but when I fell in love with a Presbyterian from an Auburn family I told my would-be wife she could raise our children in her denomination but there was no way my children would be Auburn fans.

Whether that’s good or bad I don’t really know. But it’s the truth.

— Always been this way

The word fan originates from the Latin word fanaticus, which means “inspired, frantic, frenzied,” according to my Collins Latin-English dictionary.

That sounds about right. And if it comes from a language as old as Latin, I suppose there have always been fans.

Psychologists contend that devotion to sports is a primitive yet enduring part of man’s nature. We have always cheered for someone fighting or challenging something else.

Ancient armies often settled disputes by matching their greatest warriors – champions – against one another. The Greeks held their Olympic games. The Romans had the chariot races and gladiators. And the knights held their jousting tournaments and melees.

Here’s the interesting part – they all carried banners into their battles and games, with slogans and mascots and colors. They had chants, too.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps a few hundred years ago a knight wearing crimson and white and carrying a shield emblazoned with an elephant broke his lance upon a shield bearing the image of a tiger, held by a knight wearing a blue and orange cloak.

— It’s in our brains

Others say fans are living vicariously through these players. That sounds weak, but there might be something to it, according to Boston psychoanalyst Howard Katz.

He said we have “mirror neurons” in our brains that activate both when we do something and when we watch someone else do something.

So when we see a middle linebacker shoot through the line and clobber the quarterback, and we jump from the couch, muscles tensed, screaming “Yeah! Take that! Whoo!,” Katz contends there’s some small but influential part of our brains that feels as if we were in on the play.

— It’s in our blood

Yep, it’s about hormones.

One study found that testosterone levels increased about 20 percent in fans whose teams won and decreased about 20 percent in fans of a losing team.

Research by an Indiana University professor also found that sports fans feel much better about themselves after their teams win. Diehard fans actually feel more attractive after a win, and feel more confident in their ability to perform mental or physical tests. When their teams lost, those results tanked.

We’re addicted

We’re born this way. It’s part of being human. Our brains and our bodies need it.

And it’s a great deal of fun.

So whether we like it or not, win or lose, it’s probably just easier to accept this addiction and enjoy the emotional roller coaster that is college football.

Roll Tide!

(Note from my wife: War Eagle!)

4 months ago

Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn may not like the GOP tax plan (but you might)

With a most unconventional president in the White House, the current tax plan being considered in Washington is appropriately unconventional as well.

For Alabama, the plan is a mixed bag that is likely to please some but satisfy few.

College football – the sport that is synonymous with Alabama to most of the country – is strangely in the crosshairs with this tax plan.

A proposal in the plan would eliminate a deduction of 80 percent to college athletic departments for the option to purchase game tickets and obtain preferred parking, among other services. If enacted, the provision could fundamentally alter the economics of big-time college athletics.

“Some of these provisions are certainly problematic for robust athletic programs,” said Clay Ryan, the vice chancellor for governmental affairs at the University of Alabama System.

Booster programs like Tide Pride and Blazer Boosters support many non-revenue generating sports, Ryan explained. If the government alters the way they receive tax-deductible contributions, then these sports could see less financial support in the future.

Moreover, many are Title IX programs that have provided opportunity to thousands of female athletes.

The president of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, which includes Auburn University, also expressed his concern about the overall bill in a letter to Congressional leadership.

Another provision could directly affect the salaries of highly paid college coaches.

It would assess a 20 percent excise tax on nonprofit organizations, to be applied on salaries of those making $1 million or more.

In other words, it could cost universities millions more to compensate coaches like Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn.

Rather than causing these coaches to give up vacation homes, however, at worst the plan would likely cause the universities to employ more creative methods to pay for coaches of their revenue-generating sports.

For the rest of us making less than seven or eight figures annually, the plan should be somewhat kinder.

Low to middle-income married couples with children would see their standard deduction almost doubled to $24,400. While that sounds great, the proposal would also take away the dependent exemption, which is currently at $4,050 for each dependent.

The best selling point of the plan – according to its advocates, anyway – is a significantly lower corporate tax rate.

In a state like Alabama that has already been on an economic upswing, the lower rate could mean further corporate investment in the state and the jobs that would come with it.

Then again, all of the above is subject to negotiation in the horse-trading that is common on Capitol Hill.

5 months ago

Alabama Football’s Twitter Account Makes Spooky Change

If you follow Alabama Football’s Twitter feed then you might have noticed a slight change in their cover photo. It’s not a red elephant or a Heisman Trophy-winning running back – its Pennywise the Clown from Steven Kings mega-hit “It”.

Besides changing the photo, the Twitter account gives no explanation of what the image is supposed to mean. Is it just a funny joke for Halloween, or does it have something to do with the upcoming game against LSU? A recent interview of LSU players revealed that the Bengal Tigers don’t fear the Tide (at least publicly). When asked about facing Alabama, players from the LSU locker room said: “we’re bigger, stronger, and it’s time to beat them up.”

Maybe Alabama is sending a message to LSU or maybe it’s just in the spirit of Halloween. It would be interesting to see if there’s a reporter out there that brave enough to ask Saban.

5 months ago

How Jim McElwain’s Misfortune Could Be Alabama’s Gain

The Florida Gators announced the release of head football coach Jim McElwain over the weekend. With only five regular-season games remaining, the Gators have a losing record, and their offense is ranked 109th out of 130 FBS teams. If you’re a Florida fan, then this is about as bad as things get. However, it doesn’t appear the bleeding will suddenly stop with the release of McElwain.

With the loss of continuity in their coaching staff, SEC Country reports that the Gators might also lose some of their top recruits – most notably 4-star WR Jacob Copeland.

Alabama and Florida battled over Copeland’s commitment for a considerable amount of time. The Tide felt fairly confident that they could swing the young recruit until he announced in early August that he would take his talents to the Swamp. But the new change in leadership at Florida has opened up the race again. “Always gotta leave your options open. You never know what could happen at any given moment,” Copeland told reporters after learning of McElwain’s release. “All I can do is wait out the season and go from there. I committed to UF because they were there first and stayed with me. But, at the same time, I got to do what’s best for me at the end of the day. I haven’t lost interest in ‘Bama. That’s why I made my way down there.”

The damage caused by McElwain’s doesn’t stop there. 4-Star running back Dameon Pierce might be another Florida commitment the Tide try to pick up. Pierce was considering Alabama before he made the announcement to stick with the Gators, but now Alabama coaches see an opening to swing his allegiance.

Nick Saban is touted as one of the top recruiters in the game, and it’s hard to beat him when a program is in great condition. Now that there is blood in the water, some consider it almost impossible to hold him off. If Alabama plays their cards right, then Florida’s misfortune might mean Alabama’s gain.

5 months ago

YHRadio: The Ford Faction Takes on a New Challenge, College Football Pick’em Contest

The Ford Faction now has a new weekly contest, College Football Pick ‘Em. Ford, Sam and Zac team up to take on NFL athletes. At the end of the year, the person with the most wins takes home a cash prize for their charity via Yellow Hammer. Trae Elston from the Buffalo Bills as well as JJ Nelson from the Arizona Cardinals weigh in.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Click here to listen in a new window.

5 months ago

WEEK 9: Comprehensive College Football TV guide

For a printable version, click here.

Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

5 months ago

Iowa Community College Football Player Gets Unlikely SEC Offer

Photo courtesy of Daviyon Nixon's Facebook page
Photo courtesy of Daviyon Nixon’s Facebook page

As reported by SEC Country, Daviyon “Big Truck” Nixon is a 3-star defensive tackle from Iowa Western Community College. Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, Nixon is anything but small, and he’s very athletic. Still, even for a man his size and ability, a recent call from the University of Alabama left him “shocked.”

Nixon says the whole thing got started when he noticed that Alabama defensive line coach, Karl Dunbar, began following him on Twitter. Understandably curious why an Alabama coach would suddenly start following a 3-star recruit from Iowa, Nixon followed him back. And what happened next is the stuff dreams are made of.

After following the Crimson Tide coach on Twitter, Nixon received a message asking Nixon to call Dunbar. At the time, Nixon didn’t know what the call was about. However, he had to postpone the conversation due to football practice and meetings. Once he had time, he made the call.

It was at that point that he found out what the coach wanted. Dunbar asked Nixon for his current size and weight. He went on to tell the recruit that he had watched several films of him playing high school basketball and football. “He asked me if I could still run down the court and dunk a basketball. I told him that I could. He then said why not show him that at Alabama.” said Nixon. “I was shocked. I had to ask the coach if he was serious. I didn’t think I’d have this opportunity to get an offer from Alabama. It was just a big surprise. It never dawned on me that Alabama would ever be interested.”

Before the Tide came calling, the Iowa Hawkeyes were the only school Nixon was considering. They had provided extensive help navigating the academic qualifications of the NCAA.

Now, Nixon has a tough decision to make. Does he stick with the only FBS team that believed in him early and provided so much help in meet NCAA eligibility requirements, or does he come to the most dominant and storied program in college football, the University of Alabama?  “It would be very, very hard,” said Nixon. “That’s why I’m taking it slow and thinking about everything. I have until December to make up my mind because that’s when I’m signing.”

Nixon plans on making an official visit to Alabama after his season is complete. It will be interesting to see if Saban and Co. have what it takes to flip this diamond in the ruff.

You can watch Big Truck’s HUDL highlights here, as you close your eyes and imagine him wreaking havoc on opposing offenses wearing Crimson & White.

5 months ago

Why Are There Fewer Alabama Hunters Than Ever Before and Who’s Missing Out?

by Mr. Corky Pugh

Throughout modern history, Alabama, like many of its southern neighbors, has benefited from hunting. In addition to hunting pumping 2-billion dollars into the Alabama economy each year, the positive contributions of hunters on the culture and the conservation of natural resources are irreplaceable. Perhaps most of all, generations of Alabamians have used hunting as a way to create family memories and build bonds that represent a healthy and positive activity in which parents not only spend time with their children but teach them invaluable life lessons.

Nevertheless, Alabama is in the midst of a deeply-concerning, decades-long decline in hunters.

This decline is driven by numerous factors that range from urbanization to social trends. What’s more, many activities compete for discretionary time. Moreover, just as the kids who once played backyard football now spend more time in front of a video game console, our entire society has likewise moved inside, becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world.

To paraphrase Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, a highly-informative book about what Louv refers to as “nature deficit disorder”:  When we were growing up, we knew every root and stick and stone on the footpaths behind our houses. Today’s children have never even been on those footpaths.

Another factor is that the cost of hunting has grown higher and higher over the years, as the economic value was attached to hunting land and related recreational opportunity. The days of free or nominally-priced hunting permits for thousands of acres of land are only a foggy memory.

Cost is a determining factor for most Alabama hunters. Demographic research by the most qualified experts in the country clearly shows that the vast majority of Alabama hunters are not advantaged economically, educationally, or otherwise. In other words, the rank and file hunter in Alabama can’t afford to purchase or lease land, or even join a hunting club, so they are left to the use of public land or an occasional invitation from someone with permission to private land.

The State of Alabama has been and continues to be a national leader in hunting recruitment and retention programs. Here are a few examples:

• Alabama’s Youth Dove Fields have set a standard for other states to follow and are lauded by experts across the country

• Special Youth Hunting Days and other hunter recruitment opportunities have been included in hunting seasons regulations. Special youth hunts are scheduled at places like the Stimpson Sanctuary in Clarke County.

• The Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has partnered with the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division for many years to conduct youth events, and now even owns an incredible hunting property only a few minutes from Montgomery devoted to youth hunter recruitment.

• Alabama has been a leader nationally in partnership with the Archery Trade Association. The Archery in the Schools Program and Community Archery Parks offer excellent opportunities for this gateway activity to hunting.

• The State of Alabama has an aggressive land acquisition program through Forever Wild, and a “No-net-loss of public hunting land” statute is codified into the law of Alabama.

• Alabama offers game populations, hunting seasons, and bag limits that are the envy of most other states. Ample opportunities for hunting exist on private and public lands across the state. There are 33 intensively-managed Wildlife Management Areas, encompassing 756,000 acres from one end of the state to the other.

In spite of these wonderful efforts, Alabama’s hunting participation and hunting license sales continue to decline.

Once again, the vast majority of Alabama’s are hard-working, middle-class people. Most are only occasional participants; one-third do not even hunt as frequently as every year. That’s why it’s important that Alabama not build its hunting programs around avid, advantaged hunters, but around this much larger population of hunters who are increasingly being priced out of the market. What’s more, only ten percent of those who hunt in Alabama are nonresidents, and the overwhelming majority of our hunters will not travel more than one county away from where they live for hunting.

For these reasons, wise hunter retention programs should focus on factors that include the majority of Alabama hunters. Some key considerations:

Simplify hunting laws: Research shows that overly-complex rules and regulations negatively impact hunting participation, so simplifying these rules would encourage greater participation.

Treat All Hunters the Same: While gun deer hunters are the largest segment of our hunters, archery deer hunters,  fall turkey hunters, rabbit hunters, squirrel hunters, and other small-game hunters all deserve to have the opportunity to hunt at times when conditions are good.

Product-driven hunting regulations are a slippery slope, failing to recognize that most hunters cannot afford to go out and buy the latest fad or waste money on bait or feeders.

Hopefully, with wise efforts to encourage a culture of hunting in our state, Alabama can continue to foster this great endeavor for generations to come.


About the Author: Mr. Corky Pugh spent 35 years working for the state of Alabama, 12 of which he served as Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Mr. Pugh is now the executive director of the Hunting Heritage Foundation, an organization committed to keeping hunting opportunities available for all Alabamians.

5 months ago

Alabama Cheerleader Explores New Heights

The University of Alabama typically makes sports news for its huge linemen, towering receivers, and thundering running backs. However, one small Alabama student has taken the internet by storm.

Isabella Donahue, a University of Alabama cheerleader, posted a picture of her and Rachel Kramer, a volleyball player from Florida, that has the entire internet laughing.

Donahue originally posted the picture with the caption “If you’re wondering how big a 2 foot distance is.” Many were startled at how high Kramer towered over her. According to, Donahue is 4 feet 8 inches tall, while Kramer is 6 feet 8 inches.

The post immediately went viral, as it was spread by the SEC and national media outlets such as NBCSN, SB Nation, and SEC Network. It even prompted others to share their lopsided height pictures as well.

It just goes to show, even viral pictures can come in small packages.

5 months ago

Major Leaguer Who Knelt for Anthem Confronted by Waiter in Alabama Restaurant

According to reports by TMZ Sports and the Washington Post today, Huntsville native Bruce Maxwell—a catcher for the Oakland A’s—was out to eat not long ago with Huntsville city councilman Devyn Keith and another friend recently, when his waiter confronted him about kneeling for the National Anthem.

Maxwell’s account of the story is that he ordered a beer with his meal and was asked to show his I.D. Upon doing so, he said the waiter the waiter recognized him as the only the catcher who TMZ said was the “only MLB player who took a knee this season.”

Upon making this connection, the waiter reportedly confronted Maxwell about kneeling. TMZ quoted Councilman Keith’s account of the story: “He said, ‘You are that guy. You are the guy who took a knee,’ ” Keith said. “And then everything changed.”

Maxwell added, “He goes, ‘I voted for Trump, and I stand for everything he stands for.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, really?’ And our councilman went and got their manager and had some words with him and took him off of our table and put us another person on our table. That’s where I’m from.”

Maxwell texted the Washington Post, who quoted him as saying “I’m really over that happening and it’s BS.”

Councilman Keith, a 27-year-old Democrat said the confrontation was “an embarrassment,” but apparently the restaurant’s management responded in a conciliatory fashion as both Keith and Maxwell promised not to reveal the establishment’s name.

The next day, Maxwell knelt during the national anthem before the A’s win and reiterated his decision to kneel during the Start Spangled Banner. As the Post reported, he stated: “My decision had been coming for a long time. The only way we can come together is by informing. … To single out NFL players for doing this isn’t something we should be doing — I felt it should be a little more broad.”

Maxwell has declared his unwavering commitment to resume his demonstration during the anthem next season, which his employer seems to support. The Washington Post published a brief statement from the A’s supporting Maxwell, which read: “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive. We respect and support all our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Maxwell was born on an American military base in Germany while his father was in the Army. He was a standout prep player at Huntsville’s Sparkman High School (where he and Devyn Keith became friends), and he played college ball at Birmingham-Southern.