The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

and 5 days ago

College football power rankings: Bama flexes its muscle

(YHN)

One team has solidified its position above all the rest: The Alabama Crimson Tide.

Nick Saban’s squad has been seated at the top of Yellowhammer’s college football power rankings for several weeks. Cruising past No. 3 Georgia, the Tide own the best win of any team this season, and are now seeing the rest of the nation come around to Alabama’s position as the best team in the country.

Here is what our experts had to say about this week’s rankings.

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Zack Shaw’s ballot:

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia
5. BYU
6. Notre Dame
7. Texas A&M
8. Penn State

The lowdown: Alabama looks like they are going to score 40 points in every game. Period. Mac Jones is not a downgrade from Tua Tagovailoa, and each of the other 10 offensive starters will be NFL players. Clemson’s combination of Dabo Swinney, Trevor Lawrence and defensive coordinator Brent Venables makes them the only team I have seen that could beat them. Once Ohio State begins its season this week we will see if the Buckeyes can join that group.

 

Paul Shashy’s ballot:

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia
5. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma State
7. Penn State
8. Cincinnati

The lowdown: The Alabama-Georgia matchup was a national championship-caliber game, as both teams were studded with five stars and first-round draft choices. Alabama was the stronger team down the stretch; they finally turned on their full-throttle defense in the second half. Alabama stays number one in my rankings even though Clemson put on a high-scoring show yesterday. I bumped Georgia to spot number four because of their loss to the Tide.

, and 2 weeks ago

College football power rankings: Bama holds steady; Gators fall out

(Pixabay, YHN)

The slow-motion reveal of a college football season is well underway. It has been more than six weeks since some teams have taken the field, and we have learned a little more about those teams with the passing of each Saturday.

It has become obvious which players took their offseason development seriously (see: Mac Jones) and which teams appear to have bypassed offseason workouts (see: LSU).

This week sees the most variance among the rankings of our experts as they vote on the cumulative Yellowhammer Power Poll.

Here is where things stand:

214

Zack Shaw

1. Clemson
2. Georgia
3. Alabama

4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Penn State
7. Texas A&M
8. BYU

The lowdown: Defense appears to be in short supply early in the 2020 season. Clemson and Georgia rise to the top of the rankings because of their ability to slow down opponents in addition to putting up points themselves.

Paul Shashy

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Clemson
4. Notre Dame
5. Ohio State
6. North Carolina
7. Penn State
8. Oklahoma State

The lowdown: Hurricane Delta made yesterday’s games a little more interesting with time changes and soaked fields. Clemson looked incredibly strong in their win over a Top 25 Miami. The week’s most exciting storyline was Saban vs. Kiffin, which was an unusually close game until the fourth quarter when Alabama pulled away. Once again, quarterback Mac Jones continues an outside quest for a Heisman with over 400 yards passing.

Tim Howe

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Ohio State
4. Clemson
5. North Carolina
6. Tennessee
7. Notre Dame
8. Auburn

The lowdown: Saturday was Lane Kiffin’s Super Bowl. The Crimson Tide survived and can now focus fully on Georgia. Be careful drawing any conclusions from that game. North Carolina ran for 399 yards on the ground. That is a winning formula in any conference.

Yellowhammer’s power rankings are determined by the combined votes of our experts. Their individual votes are noted above.

, and 3 weeks ago

College football power rankings — Tide tightens grip on top spot

(Pixabay, YHN)

Staying at an elite level in any field for 14 years is a difficult task. Human nature gets in the way. Focus drifts. Energy wanes. Complacency sets in.

Not for Nick Saban. Merely two games into his 14th season as Crimson Tide head coach, it appears Saban has assembled as good a team as any in his tenure. That is not good news for the rest of college football.

The Tide occupy the top spot in this week’s Yellowhammer College Football Power Rankings.

Yellowhammer’s power rankings are determined by the combined votes of our experts. Their individual votes are noted below.

Here is where things stand:

258

Paul Shashy’s ballot

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Clemson
4. Florida
5. Notre Dame
6. Ohio State
7. Miami
8. Penn State

The lowdown: Crisp and beautiful fall weather set the tone yesterday for some great football. Auburn was thumped in Athens by a Georgia team that looked much better than they did the previous week. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones showed serious passing ability this weekend, which is why Alabama continues to claim the number one spot. Miami versus Clemson will be the marquee matchup this upcoming weekend and will most likely decide the ACC.

Zack Shaw’s ballot

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Florida
4. Ohio State
5. Georgia
6. Miami
7. Notre Dame
8. Penn State

The lowdown: The team to watch this year might be the Florida Gators. Dan Mullen’s team was a trendy pick to win the SEC East in the preseason, and they look poised to make that happen. The Gators have some of last season’s LSU in them…that is scary for everyone else. The Florida defense is not elite, but the Gator offense is going to score a ton of points on a weekly basis.

Tim Howe’s ballot

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Florida
4. Ohio State
5. Clemson
6. Miami
7. Auburn
8. North Carolina

The lowdown: Alabama and Georgia have the two best wins so far in this young season. That does not mean they are in the same class. In fact, it does not appear anyone else is in the Tide’s class in 2020. The college football world is waiting on Ohio State to begin its season on October 24 to see if it has some potential to challenge Nick Saban’s squad.

, and 4 weeks ago

College football power rankings: Bama remains No. 1; Auburn sneaking up

(Pixabay, YHN)

Even Gary Danielson sounded good yesterday. That is how badly college football fans were craving a return to the field.

The next several days will be about assessing what happened. We start with this week’s power rankings, which are determined by the combined votes of our experts. Their individual votes can be seen with an explanation of their rankings.

Here is where we are after week one of SEC play:

832

Zack Shaw

1. Clemson: Clemson had a week off. After seeing all of the SEC play, it looks like only Alabama is in their neighborhood right now.

2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The final score doesn’t tell you how much better Alabama was than Missouri. The Tide has a few things to clean up before playing Texas A&M, and I expect that they will.

3. Ohio State: Arguably the most talented team in the country, the Buckeyes will be a handful once their season kicks off. We are just going to have to wait a few weeks until that happens.

4. Florida: The Gators put together a performance in Oxford that had to make Steve Spurrier smile. QB Kyle Trask threw for over 400 yards and 6 TDs en route to 51 points. Florida did give up quite a few yards and points, but still managed to win by multiple scores.

5. Miami: Through three games the Hurricanes have rolled over their opponents. Miami has a talented, disruptive defensive line and an explosive offense. D’eriq King and his teammates have a week off before a huge test versus Clemson in two weeks.

6. Georgia: It was a brutal start for the Bulldogs in Fayetteville. Most things that could go wrong did go wrong in the first half for Georgia. A quarterback change for the Bulldogs, and an awakening by the defense, eventually led to a very comfortable victory over Arkansas.

7. Auburn: It was a tale of two halves. In the first 30 minutes Kentucky dominated play even though they trailed by one point after throwing an interception on the Auburn one yard line. In the second half, AU held Kentucky to only about 120 yards and managed to outscore the Wildcats 21-6 in order to pull away in the fourth quarter.

8. Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish did not have a game this week, but they did look impressive in their first two victories of 2020. Notre Dame will have plenty of opportunities to move up in the rankings over the course of the season.

Paul Shashy

1. Alabama: Alabama performed well against a horrible Missouri team. Najee, Waddle and company had a great game, and Mac Jones’ arm looked good as he delivered a solid performance. I’m keeping Alabama at no. 1.

2. Clemson: Even though they had an off week, it‘s clear that Clemon’s offense will be a force to be reckoned with. Their quarterback (Trevor Lawrence) and running back (Travis Etienne) will lead the nation in yards passing and rushing.

3. Ohio State: Bumping them down a spot because they do not play until October. I believe they’ll still have a place in the playoff.

4. Georgia: They struggled at first but QB Stetson Bennett saved the day. They rocketed up my rankings to the number 4 spot. Florida vs. Georgia will decide the East winner.

5. Texas A&M: Barely beating cupcake Vandy gives me pause for concern. Therefore, they get bumped down. I still believe this is the year Jimbo Fisher gets his shot. They go to Auburn and Alabama, which is rough, but I think they’ll win one of the two.

6. Notre Dame: Notre Dame is one of the more experienced teams in college football this year; that’s why they hold the sixth spot. As usual, they have a much easier schedule than most other teams in my top 8. Notre Dame vs. Clemson in November will be one of the great games of the year.

7. Auburn: Honestly, Auburn looked pretty good against a stingy Kentucky team. Bo Nix threw for over 280 yards on an above-average SEC defense. He’ll be a key to Auburn’s success.

8. Florida: The Gators handled themselves well versus Lane Kiffin’s high-powered offense. But, their defense is going to need improvement.

Tim Howe

1. Alabama: Most talented roster. No weaknesses. The only things standing between Bama and another SEC championship are two-and-a-half months worth of COVID tests.

2. Ohio State: After this glorious Saturday in college football, can you imagine if the Big Ten was still sitting out the season?

3. Clemson: Dabo’s Tigers get back in action this week against Virginia.

4. Florida: Such a well-coached team. They are going to be fun to watch this year.

5. Georgia: Kirby’s Dawgs have been a top-5 team without an explosive offense before – or pretty much ever – so they settle in here, for now.

6. Auburn: Chad Morris has already proven to be the welcome addition everyone thought he would be. The feel of next week’s game against Georgia will be so much different than usual, with both teams still trying to make early season improvements.

7. Texas A&M: The Aggies get a bit of a pass this week because it is likely they have been spending the last three weeks doing Bama prep. Look for a more tuned-up version of Jimbo Fisher’s team this week against the Tide.

8. Texas: If Texas can play a little defense, the Big 12 is there for the taking.

, and 1 month ago

College football power rankings: Bama stands ready at No. 1; Ohio State welcomed back

(Pixabay, YHN)

The big kids come back to play on Saturday. Until that happens, there is one more week of the Yellowhammer college football power rankings without the SEC having been on the field.

Yellowhammer’s rankings are determined by the combined votes of our experts. Their individual votes can be seen with an explanation of their rankings.

Here is where we are after week 3.

781

Zack Shaw

1. Clemson: Clemson has badly beaten two overmatched opponents in the first two weeks. That is exactly what you expect great teams to do.

2. Alabama: Nick Saban and company deserve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

3. Ohio State: Welcome to the party! Simply by announcing their intention to play this season, Ryan Day, Justin Fields and the Buckeyes deserve heavy consideration.

4. Oklahoma: The explosive Sooner offense and consistent success, recently, give Oklahoma the nod over the remaining teams at this point.

5. Texas: The Longhorns have one win under their belt already and are poised to add many more in 2020 led by QB Sam Ehlinger and coach Tom Herman.

6. Georgia: Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs will get their opportunity to move up on this list as the SEC kicks off this week.

7. Miami: The Hurricanes have the best resume in the country, so far. Led by explosive playmaker D’Eriq King, and a talented offense, Miami could move up this list even further if the defense improves.

8. Auburn: Gus Malzahn’s Tigers get their first chance to prove they belong in this list against Kentucky in week 1. Auburn has enough good players, will the Tigers have enough consistency?

Tim Howe

1. Alabama: Without even playing, it has become more obvious that the Alabama Crimson Tide is the best team in the country.

2. Ohio State: Complaining, threats and chest thumping was Ohio State’s reaction to ____. (Possible answers: 1) last year’s playoff loss, 2) the Big Ten cancelling its season, or 3) pretty much anything.)

3. Georgia: The D’Wan Mathis hype train picked up considerable speed this week. We are buying stock in that version of the Georgia offense.

4. Clemson: Dabo Swinney’s second team never scored against The Citadel, a team playing a four-game schedule this season.

5. Florida: Kyle Trask’s journey to become a starting quarterback on a top-5 team is not highlighted enough.

6. Texas A&M: The Aggies lost another key player to an opt-out this week. We want to believe this is the year for the Jimbo Fisher-Kellen Mond combo to break through, but we’re getting awfully anxious.

7. Texas: Same scenario in Austin as with their in-state rival…”we want to believe this is the year.” The Longhorns enjoyed a solid win against a bad team last week. Not too much else was learned.

8. Auburn: Gus Malzahn’s Tigers occupy the spot previously held by a North Carolina team which will not face an opponent between September 12 and October 3. We cannot wait to see what Chad Morris does to the Auburn offense.

Paul Shashy

1. Alabama: Game week is here! RTR. Last year was unusual because the playoff did not include Alabama. This year will be different. Alabama is reloaded and ready to roll. Linebacker Dylan Moses returning is huge, and Alabama’s defense will be back to their standard. Mac Jones, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson, and Jalen Waddle will lead the offense.

2. Clemson: Clemson will have college football’s most explosive duo in running back Travis Etienne and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Clemson has the two best players in the ACC and one of the country’s easiest schedules; they’ll be in the playoff.

3. Ohio State: The BIG 10s sudden return has jolted projections and rankings. Look for Ohio State to be playoff contenders, especially with Justin Fields at QB.

4. Texas A&M: Texas A&M brings back nearly everyone from last year. I believe this is the year Jimbo Fisher gets his shot. They go to Auburn and Alabama, which is rough, but I think they’ll win one of the two.

5. Notre Dame: 2-0 is a good start, but they didn’t look all that strong vs. Duke. Notre Dame is one of the more experienced teams in college football this year; that’s why they hold the five spot. As usual, they have a much easier schedule than most other teams in my top 8. Notre Dame vs. Clemson in November will be one of the great games of the year.

6. Texas: They looked fine in their first game against UTEP. Texas brings back much of their talent, and I think it’s time for Tom Herman to finally get Texas back to what they once were as a powerhouse in CFB.

7. Auburn: Bo Nix is returning and should be much improved, especially considering the depth and speed at wide receiver. They should be a popular dark horse choice for the college football playoff.

8. Oklahoma: Easy cupcake game to start out, but they looked strong. Since they were stomped in the playoff last year, Oklahoma’s defense is returning eight starters. Because of this, they’ll be much improved. Oklahoma vs. Texas in October will be one of the biggest games of the year.

, and 1 month ago

College football power rankings — Week 2 edition

(College Football Playoff/Facebook)

The college football season officially kicked off for two of the three power conferences which have maintained their schedules. The first Saturday brought a few surprises and some of what was expected. In other words, it looked a lot like any other opening weekend on the field, even if appearing a little odd off of it.

We are just glad college football is back.

With SEC teams now less than two weeks away from beginning their march to the playoff, our panel of college football experts have cast their votes and the result is this week’s Yellowhammer Power Rankings.

748

Paul Shashy

1. Alabama: Last year was unusual because the playoff did not include Alabama. This year will be different. Alabama is reloaded and ready to roll. Linebacker Dylan Moses returning is huge, and Alabama’s defense will be back to their standard. Mac Jones, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson, and Jalen Waddle will lead the offense.

2. Clemson: Clemson will have college football’s most explosive duo in running back Travis Etienne and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Clemson has the two best players in the ACC and one of the country’s easiest schedules; they’ll be in the playoff.

3. Texas A&M: Texas A&M brings back nearly everyone from last year. I believe this is the year Jimbo Fischer gets his shot. They go to Auburn and Alabama, which is rough, but I think they’ll win one of the two.

4. Notre Dame: Notre Dame is one of the more experienced teams in college football this year; that’s why they hold the number four spot. As usual, they have a much easier schedule than most other teams in my top 8. Notre Dame vs. Clemson in November will be one of the great games of the year.

5. Texas: Texas brings back much of their talent, and I think it’s time for Tom Herman to finally get Texas back to what they once were as a powerhouse in college football.

6. Auburn: Bo Nix is returning and should be much improved, especially considering the depth and speed he has at wide receiver. They should be a popular dark horse choice for the college football playoff.

7. Oklahoma: Since they were stomped in the playoff last year, Oklahoma’s defense is returning eight starters. Because of this, they’ll be much improved. Oklahoma vs. Texas in October will be one of the biggest games of the year.

8. Florida: Kyle Trask will be of the best quarterbacks in the SEC this year; therefore, Dan Mullen’s offense will be tough to stop. Once again, Florida-Georgia will define the SEC East.

Zack Shaw

1. Clemson: Clemson has the best quarterback and defensive coordinator in the country. They also have arguably the best head coach and running back. That is a good place to start for a great team.

2. Alabama: Year in and year out Nick Saban has an extremely talented team that is well coached. I expect nothing different in 2020.

3. Oklahoma: Lincoln Riley has become something of a quarterback whisperer. The Sooners always put up lots of points and this year looks like more of the same.

4. Texas: Veteran QB Sam Ehlinger threw five first half TDs against an overmatched opponent this weekend. The experience at quarterback and talent on defense give the Longhorns a chance to have a stellar season.

5. Georgia: Kirby Smart has stockpiled players in Athens. Developing a quarterback will determine the ceiling for the Bulldogs.

6. Florida: Dan Mullen has a proven track record of getting the most out of his QB. Kyle Trask and the Gators look to build on the 2019 campaign.

7. Auburn: A returning starter at quarterback, a perennial top 15 defense and a rumored to be revamped passing attack have the Tigers ready for 2020.

8. LSU: Honestly, this is just respect from 2019 and a lack of great performances this weekend. I have no idea what to expect from last year’s champs after the unbelievable attrition from last year’s squad.

Tim Howe

1. Alabama: Things are going to get weird this year, and no single coach in America will be better prepared than Nick Saban. Plus, the Crimson Tide have the most talented roster in the country.

2. Georgia: This ranking is predicated on the Bulldogs being the D’Wan Mathis version of the team. He may be the most intriguing quarterback in the SEC. Georgia’s defensive talent is filthy.

3. Texas A&M: During this disrupted season, you cannot discount the value in having a head coach and quarterback combo that has been together a while. Jimbo Fisher and Kellen Mond fit that bill.

4. Clemson: Dabo Swinney’s Tigers have big plans and big holes. But the flashy backfield seems to have everyone’s attention.

5. Florida: This is a Dan Mullen ranking as much as anything else. Quarterback Kyle Trask is…steady?

6. Texas: Every year either Notre Dame or Texas lures the college football world in. It’s Texas’s turn in 2020.

7. Auburn: Offensive coordinator and quarterback miracle-worker Chad Morris is the reason the Tigers may climb these rankings in coming weeks.

8. North Carolina: Playing a hunch here. Sam Howell was the most productive quarterback in the ACC last year.