The Wire

  • HudsonAlpha technology director to present at Google Cloud conference

    Excerpt from a HudsonAlpha news release:

    HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Technology Director Katreena Mullican has been invited to present at the Google Next ‘18 conference in San Francisco, Calif, July 24-26.

    Google Next is an international conference where more than 10,000 developers, technology leaders, and entrepreneurs come together to have a collaborative discussion about the Google Cloud Platform.

    Mullican has more than 20 years of experience in architecting Linux, virtualization and hybrid cloud solutions. As HudsonAlpha’s Cloud Whisperer, Mullican brings her expertise in automation of on-prem composable and public cloud infrastructure for scientific applications and workflows to the Institute.

    “HudsonAlpha is one of the top sequencing centers in the world, so it’s my job to think outside the box to design hybrid platforms appropriate for our sequencing and research workloads,” said Mullican.

    Mullican will participate in a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Cloud Talk Tuesday at 1:00 pm in the South Hall to discuss how HudsonAlpha uses the composable HPE Synergy platform for an on-premises Kubernetes cluster that can scale to Google Cloud Platform.

  • Tabitha Isner claims Russia hacked campaign website — ‘Russian meddling in U.S. elections continues to be a real and immediate threat’


    Late Thursday afternoon, Democratic congressional hopeful Tabitha Isner issued a press release claiming “incidents of ‘brute force attacks’ on her campaign’s main webpage.”

    “When investigating the source of these attacks, the website administrator discovered over 1,400 attempts to login to the website as an administrator in the past week,” the release from campaign manager Megan Skipper said. “Of those 1,400 attempts, 1,100 came from Russian I.P. addresses. Russian meddling in U.S. elections continues to be a real and immediate threat.”

  • Doug Jones on Trump-Putin press conference, walk-back: ‘I was stunned at his comments,’ ‘I really wish the president would not take this so personal’


    Thursday during his weekly media conference call, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) criticized President Donald Trump for comments he made earlier in the week during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

    Jones expressed his disappointment in Trump, and described his handling of the situation as a “great disservice to this country.”

2 months ago

Alabama hunters report increase in turkey harvest

(C. Sykes)

The Game Check numbers from the recently completed wild turkey season are in, and a slight uptick in hunter success was indicated.

According to Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Director Chuck Sykes, those numbers need to be viewed with caution. Last year, hunters reported the harvest of 9,177 turkeys through the mandatory Game Check system. This year, the harvest reported was 9,628 birds.

“Statistically, that’s not a big difference,” Sykes said. “That’s not the number of turkeys that were killed in Alabama. That’s the number that were reported. I think about three times that amount were killed both years.


“Last year, we estimated about 40-percent compliance with Game Check. This year, some of our estimates are up around 65 percent. So, it depends on which guesstimate you want to go with. If it’s 40 percent, we’ve probably got plenty of turkeys. If it’s 65 percent, then, yes, we have a problem. And we won’t know until we get better compliance. For every call I get that says we don’t have any turkeys, I get another call that says it’s the best season they’ve ever had. Until we get concrete numbers, we have to do the best we can.”

Sykes, who was a professional hunting guide early in his conservation career, said his turkey season fit into that latter category of success.

“I had the best season I’ve had since I became director,” he said. “When we talked earlier in the season, I predicted the last two weeks of the season would be good. That’s exactly what happened. We burned them up the last two weeks.”

But that didn’t mean the season was typical for Sykes and his hunting partners. He said turkeys weren’t in their usual hangouts, which meant they had to cover a great deal of territory to find the turkeys.

“Last year, the first two weeks of the season couldn’t have been any better,” he said. “The last two weeks, I couldn’t buy a turkey. This year, the first two weeks were tough, but, as predicted, the last two weeks were great. Turkeys didn’t gobble good. There were still turkey tracks, and we found turkeys in places where we hadn’t found them before. You just had to get out and hunt them.”

Sykes said his turkey season diary from last year indicated that during the 16 days he hunted in March there were nine turkeys killed and three missed. The 20 days he hunted last year in April resulted in one kill and two misses. This year, Sykes hunted 13 days in March with five turkeys killed. In April, he hunted 19 days with seven turkeys harvested and a whopping five missed. Sykes said his days hunted often included hunting from 6-7:30 in the morning before he headed to the office or 6-7:30 in the evening.

“I have averaged a turkey being shot at every 2.3 days for the past 10 to 15 years,” Sykes said. “This year, that average was 1.8. Last year, during the month of April, I hunted bits and pieces of 20 days. I had one turkey killed. This year, that last 10 days I went to the woods, we just about shot at a turkey every day.

“I know I’m not the norm. I talked to some people who killed their limit (five per person per year) in March, and I know guys who didn’t kill a bird this year. It’s all site specific.”

In the Southeast, concerns that turkey populations are declining prompted WFF to contract with Auburn University for a five-year study on turkeys. This was the fourth year of the study.

WFF also enlisted a number of dedicated turkey hunters to participate in the Avid Turkey Hunters Program to report turkey activity witnessed in the field. The results are reported annually in the “Full Fans and Sharp Spurs” publication. Go to this link to read the report.

“Looking at ‘Full Fans and Sharp Spurs,’ our recruitment is not what it should be,” Sykes said. “The number of poults per hen is not where we want it, and the number of hens with no poults at all is definitely a lot higher than we want.”

Sykes said he heard the talk that ‘turkeys were gone’ four years ago. But when he looked at his hunting records, the turkey harvest was the same that year and this year.

“Numbers may be down, but I attribute the numbers being down where I used to have turkey to habitat changes,” he said. “Places that have stayed pastures and ag fields that I hunt, nothing has really changed around it, and the turkeys are fairly constant. But on our place outside Butler, 10 years ago we’d kill a couple a year on that 200 acres. I haven’t killed a turkey off that place since you and I went because we cut a bunch of mature timber, and longleafs are in their early stages of growth. I’m not saying the turkeys disappeared. I know why the turkeys aren’t there. The habitat changed. But in a couple of years when the habitat is back right, we’ll have turkeys again.”

Factors in turkey population changes include urbanization, unmanaged timber and predator numbers as well as the number of hunters who pursue turkeys these days.

“A lot of things have changed with hunters,” Sykes said. “You’ve got shotguns now that will kill a turkey at 70 yards. You’ve got decoys and pop-up blinds.

“There’s a big difference between turkey hunters and people who hunt turkeys. Turkey hunters can kill turkeys whether they’re gobbling or not, whether weather conditions are great or not. People who hunt turkeys can’t. Therefore, there is a perceived problem. I’m not saying that’s bad. We want more hunters. But sticking a decoy and a pop-up blind up in a food plot, that’s hunting turkeys, not being a turkey hunter.”

Sykes thinks that added pressure has resulted in a decrease in gobbling. He sees the evidence in tracks that the turkeys haven’t gone anywhere, but some hunters mistakenly surmise there aren’t any turkeys around when the birds don’t gobble.

“I hunted places this year where we’d go one day and hear eight turkeys,” he said. “Then it may be two weeks before you heard a turkey gobble again. That didn’t mean all of them died. It didn’t mean all of them packed up and left. For whatever reason, they didn’t gobble. Seriously, a lot of the turkeys we killed this year didn’t gobble but two or three times.

“Or, you get an old turkey on a hunting club that’s been shot at two or three times and spooked two or three times. He’s got every turkey in the area beat down where they won’t gobble. You’re not going to kill them. You can’t kill him without basically deer-hunting him. So, if you don’t kill him, you’re not going to have gobbling turkeys on that place. It doesn’t mean they’re gone. They’re just not vocal because of the hunting pressure and one old turkey.”

Back to the Game Check numbers, Jackson County in northeast Alabama led the way again in the number of turkeys reported killed with 340. The other counties with the highest harvests reported include Barbour, Dallas, Coosa and Pickens.

“I hunted Jackson County for one day for 30 minutes and called up a big one, so I’m not surprised,” Sykes said. “I probably hunted seven or eight counties this spring. How the hunts turned out depended on the day and where we were.”

Sykes said his hunting parties took a majority of older-age-class birds this year. Out of the 12 birds that Sykes witnessed being harvested, only two were 2-year-old birds. The other birds were 3- and 4-year-olds.

“And I saw quite a few jakes (year-old gobblers) this year,” he said. “That is encouraging.”

Sykes also got to introduce a colleague to the sport of turkey hunting. He took Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship, whose background is in marine fisheries, on his first turkey hunt.

“Chris lives a charmed life,” Sykes said. “He deer-hunted one afternoon last year and killed a 200-pound, seven-point that he got mounted. He wanted to go turkey hunting. I took him to a good place, and within 45 minutes of his first hunt, he harvested a good, 3-year-old bird. Granted, he takes direction well. He listened and did everything he needed to do. He killed his first turkey with a brand-new gun he had bought just for this hunt. So, we are creating hunters and creating people who support conservation by buying guns and ammunition.

“I applaud him for taking up something new. Being a fish guy, this was completely outside his comfort zone, and he did very well.”

David Rainer is an award-winning writer who has covered Alabama’s great outdoors for 25 years. The former outdoors editor at the Mobile Press-Register, he writes for Outdoor Alabama, the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

3 months ago

Bobbleheads celebrating Alabama national championship now available

(Crimson Tide)

The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrated the national football championship in front of millions of TV viewers and visited the White House.

But now the University of Alabama’s latest title truly is official — there’s a bobblehead.


The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum announced Friday that the officially licensed bobblehead commemorating the 2017 title had arrived. A limited number of individually numbered bobbleheads are available at the museum’s online store.

The figure, featuring Crimson Tide Mascot Big Al on a gridiron base with the national championship logo and a replica of the champions trophy, sells for $35 and a shipping charge of $8.

“This bobblehead is the perfect way for Crimson Tide fans to commemorate the school’s 2017 national championship season,” museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said in a statement. “These will be cherished collectibles that celebrate the tremendous success of this team and the 17th national championship in program history.”

The Crimson Tide blitzed top-seeded Clemson University 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl and then defeated the University of Georgia 26-23 in the national championship game. It was Alabama coach Nick Saban’s fifth national championship in Tuscaloosa and sixth overall.

Organizers announced plans for the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014 and hosted a preview exhibit in 2016. Founders plan a permanent location in Milwaukee this spring. The museum produces customized bobbleheads for organizations and individuals across the country.

FOCO — previously known as Team Beans LLC and Forever Collectibles — manufactures the bobbleheads. It has been a leading manufacturer of sports and entertainment merchandise for 17 years.

FOCO makes products licensed by all major sports leagues, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, Major League Soccer and more than 100 colleges and universities. It also has produced goods for entertainment companies like Disney, Warner Bros./DC Comics and Nickelodeon.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”

3 months ago

Sights and sounds from Talladega Superspeedway’s GEICO 500

(T Baker/YHN)

TALLADEGA — On Sunday, Penske Motorsports’ Joey Logano won the 96th Cup series race at the Talladega Superspeedway and capped off a weekend of festivities held at Alabama’s biggest venue.

Talladega Superspeedway opened for its first race in 1969. It was the brainchild of former NASCAR head Bill France and was built in Alabama at the behest of former Gov. George Wallace.

Since that first race, the track not only offers the spectacle of engineering and physics for which most people know it, but also an atmosphere that offers visitors from elsewhere an offering of the best of the state of Alabama.


Revelers partake in festivities night before GEICO 500, 4/28/2018

Beyond the motorsports events at and around the track, others come for the nightlife held at the makeshift venues at what is called Talladega Boulevard in the track’s infield.

This year’s marquee entertainer was top 40 country and rock musician Uncle Kracker.

Uncle Kracker performs, 4/28/2018


Concert-goers in attendance just before dusk, 4/28/2018

Earlier that day at the Talladega Superspeedway, driver Spencer Gallagher won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

(Talladega Superspeedway/Twitter)

Also, veteran NASCAR driver Eliott Sadler of Emporia, Va. took home $100,000 in that series’ “Dash for Cash” incentive program.

Elliott Sadler displays $100,000 “Dash For Cash” check after Xfinity race

Despite it being an election year in Alabama, there weren’t much politics on display at the track over the weekend, with an exception here and there.

Camper displays Donald Trump flag at site, 4/28/2018

Former Cup series champion Kevin Harvick started Sunday’s race from the pole, which he secured during qualifying on Saturday.

(T Baker/YHN)


(T Baker/YHN)



(T Baker/YHN)

Logano’s prize for winning Sunday’s event was trophy modeled after Vulcan, the statue that sits on Red Mountain overlooking the nearby city of Birmingham.

(Talladega Superspeedway/Twitter)

3 months ago

Joey Logano wins Talladega’s GEICO 500

(Talladega Superspeedway/Twitter)

TALLADEGA — The wins have been few and far between as of late for Joey Logano, one of NASCAR’s premier drivers, but he ended that 36-race winless streak at the Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

After the “big one” crash late in the race on lap 166, the field settled down and coalesced into a single-file pack with Logano, driver of the Shell Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford, leading the way to the end.

“Man, it was crazy,” he said. “Such a powerful team, powerful car — got everything working really well today. It feels so good to be back in victory lane.”


Logano did not have the benefit of his teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney to draft with him in the race’s closing stages, but there were two other Fords driven by Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch lined up behind him, which worked to his advantage. Although that group of Fords ultimately got split up, it wasn’t enough to thwart Logano’s charge to victory.

“There at the end, you work together as much as you can,” he added. “You just want to make sure a Ford wins, and you hope it’s you. But you try to do the right thing as well. I had some Stewart-Haas [Ford] cars behind me, which aren’t necessarily teammates. But with the Ford Performance relationship, it’s the closest thing I’m ever going to have to it. I was thankful to have them behind me. I was wondering what kind of fight they were going to put on at the end, but they go split up and that kind of changed the complexion of the race.”

Second-place finisher Kurt Busch posted his fourth top-10 finish of the season and his 19th top-10 in his 35th start at the Talladega Superspeedway in the Monster Energy Cup Series.

Kyle Busch addresses reporters after the race

Busch lamented finishing second but applauded Logano for winning in a Ford.

“I’m happy that a Ford won,” Busch said. “It wasn’t the right one. Kevin [Harvick] was in good position, and I was going to roll with him in any direction that I could. We just got broken up by [Ricky] Stenhouse. But man, it was just so close. You wish you could go over and do it again, and I feel like I left that one out on the table.

Fan favorite Chase Elliott finished third, his second top-10 finish in his first five races at the track. Although he didn’t have the fastest car throughout the race, he was able to make a late-race push.

“It was definitely interesting last few laps,” Elliott said. “I was really trying to make a run and do something there at the end. Those guys were being very patient with each other. I was surprised. It was more than obvious they were not going to help me move forward.”

Chase Elliott addresses reporter following the race

Winning crew chief Todd Gordon acknowledged his team’s recent struggles but said the Talladega victory provided an opportunity for momentum.

“It’s a great momentum-builder,” Gordon said. “As the season has gone on, we’ve worked on trying to make ourselves better. We struggled through the year last year, and I think everybody dug in through offseason to try to figure out where we needed to go.”

Legendary car owner Roger Penske said his team’s win was a reflection of its superspeedway effort and commented on what winning at Talladega meant to him personally.

“I just have to say, it was a perfect day and one we needed,” Penske said. “We’ve been hanging around the top five for most of the season, except right there at Daytona. So, it shows we’ve got our big track game together. We got to do some more work to get where we need to be.”

“I want to thank the fans here at Talladega,” he added. “We’ve had some good luck down here. I remember racing here with Rusty [Wallace] and Bobby Allison. So, a lot of memories here for me.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 months ago

VIDEO: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn gives command to start engines at Talladega


TALLADEGA — This isn’t Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn’s first time as one of the honorees of Talladega Superspeedway’s marquee spring event, but it was the first time he said “the most famous words in motorsports.”

Malzahn had grand marshal duties for Sunday’s Geico 500 got to give the command for NASCAR drivers competing that day to start their engines.

“It’s an honor to be back,” Malzahn said in a pre-race press conference. “In 2014, I had a great experience at my first NASCAR event, to be able to drive the pace car — great memories with that. Just glad to be back to kick this thing off.”


“I like being here, and I like meeting the guys,” he added. “I don’t have one particular guy but I got a chance to meet quite a few of them last time.”

Malzahn also addressed the 11 Auburn players that were either drafted or signed as free agents with NFL teams over the past few days.

“Very excited for our four guys that were drafted,” he said. “We got seven that signed free-agent deals, too, that I think will have an excellent chance to play at the next level.”

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

“It’s really unique for me to see professionals that are the best at what they do and just sit back and watch, and kind of be a fan and see how they go about their business,” he said. “And now, have a chance to be able to get here, enjoy it and really understand it.”

Malzahn also spoke about Auburn starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, and gave an optimistic report.

“He could have went in A-Day,” said Malzahn. “As soon as we get back from the break, he’ll be ready to go.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 months ago

Heavyweight champ Tuscaloosa’s Deontay Wilder handles Talladega pace car duties, predicts division unification

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

TALLADEGA — He may not be an expert on stock car racing, but does drive a fast gator-skin Lamborghini in his spare time.

On Sunday before the drop of the official start of Talladega Superspeedway’s Geico 500, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, affectionately known as “The Bronze Bomber,” will lead the field to the green flag.

“I’m excited more than anything,” Wilder, a native of Tuscaloosa, said before the race. “Like I said before, I can’t stop smiling. I’m like a kid at a candy store. This is a new sport that I’m learning about.”


Wilder told a group of reporters assembled at the track’s media center Sunday morning he foresees the unification of the heavyweight championship.

“We’re almost on the verge of unifying the division, in which those that don’t understand the term of that, it means obtaining all belts that are possible to obtain in a division and I’m right there on the verge of doing it,” he explained. “With that being said, it will take a lot of hard work. It will take a lot of dedication and just the mindset and the focus to be able to compete and the level I’m competing on. Sometimes it takes sacrifices, too. And I take a lot of them.”

Wilder was asked about the possibility of a match with Anthony Joshua, who holds the WBO, IBF, and WBA heavyweight belts.

“I think this fight will definitely happen,” Wilder said. “When you put $50 million on the table, I think it is hard to say no that, no matter what the terms and conditions are. My team is some of the best guys in the business. My team puts on some great cards.”

Deontay Wilder speaks to reporters before Geico 500

“It’ll definitely get made, just matter of time with the magnitude of this fight,” he added. “It takes time, right now, I think the negotiations and different things that are going on, it’s part of the build-up of it. When the fight happens, it’s going to be an epic one. At the end of the fight, we want a champion — one face, one name, and his name is Deontay Wilder.’

Wilder stressed the element of what his accomplishment would mean for his home state.

“Being from Alabama, it’s also a pride and joy to be able to say a guy from Alabama is accomplishing and doing some great things in this sport of boxing.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 months ago

Spencer Gallagher uses last-lap heroics to notch first win in Talladega Superspeedway’s Sparks Energy 300

(Talladega Superspeedway/Twitter)

TALLADEGA – What ended up being a failed risky bet for at least one driver opened the door for another driver to have the biggest moment of his career in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

Spencer Gallagher, the driver of GMS Racing’s number 23 Allegiant Chevrolet, led the first lap of his career at the Talladega Superspeedway, which happened to be the final lap of Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300.

“This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life,” Gallagher said, after winning Saturday’s race. “Today was the culmination of what we at GMS had worked for, for a year. We brought an incredible race car to the track. These guys put it together amazingly well.”


“We had very good speed all day here and anyone that knows what they’re talking about, that’s going to be a big deciding factor in coming down to the end at a place like this.”

Gallagher was able to hold on to the race lead on the last lap by using defensive driving tactics around the 2.66-mile track. However, his good fortune came after Justin Allgaier and others experienced misfortune.

Allgaier and Austin Cindric both looked to be cruising to possible fuel-mileage wins at various stages of the race until they ran out of fuel. Allgaier’s fuel tank went dry during a caution flag near the end of the race.

Tyler Reddick, the driver of the number 9 Armour Chili Chevrolet, leads drivers to the green flag

Yet, he was still able to rally his Trademark Nitrogen Chevrolet up to third place before the checkered flag was thrown.

“I was really disappointed when the caution came out to be honest with you, when Daniel [Hemric] had his issue,” Allgaier said. “Because at that point, we were a straightaway or more ahead of second and I thought it was going to work out OK. Obviously, in hindsight, we kind of questioned if would we have made it all the way to the end of the race.”

“I was really, really surprised that we did run out,” he added.

Another one of the day’s big winners was veteran NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler, who scored a fifth-place finish, which gave him the top finish among the series’ “Dash for Cash” qualifiers and a $100,000 bonus.”

Elliott Sadler displays $100,000 “Dash For Cash” check after Xfinity race

“It feels good – I mean, for the up-and-down day we had, for us to kind of battle back at the end, it felt good.”

Saturday’s event is a prelude to Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series Geico 500, the grand finale of the Talladega spring race weekend. That event is slated for 1 p.m. CT and will be broadcast nationally on FOX.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 months ago

Auburn’s Bruce Pearl on Israel: If a foreign country threatened to destroy Boston or Auburn within the next 25 years, how should our country react?

(Auburn Basketball/Twitter)

Sunday on Twitter, Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl reiterated his support for Israel by posing the question, if his hometown Boston or his current residence Auburn were threatened by a hostile power, what would be the appropriate reaction?

Pearl made those comments about a Jerusalem Post story published on Saturday that quoted Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, threatening to turn the Israeli cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv “into ghost-towns”:

“You’ve tried your chances twice,” and failed, Khatami said, according to an Iranian Student News Agency report. “Despite the fact that Hezbollah is stronger today than ever, if you want Tel Aviv and Haifa razed to the ground, try your chances again.”


Auburn’s Jewish head basketball coach has been a staunch advocate for Israel in the past. In 2016, he lashed out at the Obama administration for what was deemed to be an anti-Israel move at the United Nations.

Before that, Pearl led the U.S. men’s basketball team at Israel’s 2008 World Maccabiah Games, known to some as the “Jewish Olympics.”

He won a gold medal for the United States during those games.

“I wanted the guys to understand that the trip to Israel wasn’t just about basketball, although we took our basketball really seriously,” he said of the games according to a 2014 report from the Times of Israel. “It was about our Jewish heritage. It was about our young Jewish men [having] the chance to go to the homeland, if you will, and experience it — and for me, the same thing — and have a greater appreciation for who she is and what she faces and how we stay connected and protect her.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

4 months 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)

6 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.

6 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. 

6 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!

6 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 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.”

6 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.

6 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. 


7 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.

7 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.

7 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.

7 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?)

7 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.

8 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.

8 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)

8 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!)

8 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.