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.

3 hours ago

Tua needs our support — Guess who else does

(ESPN/YouTube, Alabama Football/Facebook, YHN)

His five words hit home.

Five words that could have been uttered by a Tua Tagovailoa teammate, one of Tua’s parents, an Alabama football fan and, yes, you.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

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Who doesn’t feel bad for one of the greatest quarterbacks not only in Alabama football history, but in college football history? Barring an unlikely return to the Capstone for his senior season, Tua is done in Tuscaloosa. The good news? While it will be a long road, team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain expects Tagovailoa to make a full recovery from the hip injury suffered only days ago. Yes, Tua’s NFL future is bright.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

Those five words could have been uttered by anyone, but the man who said it? Head coach Nick Saban. Yes, the tough, demanding, intimidating coach who rarely reveals his most inner thoughts is hurting, and he shared his heart in Tuscaloosa at his weekly media gathering.

Over the last few days, Saban has been a punching bag for many critics and some fans — their take? The coach is to be blamed for Tua’s injury. After all, they say, it was Saban who had the final say in whether or not his quarterback, still sore from the LSU game and a player who 27 days earlier had ankle surgery, would start against Mississippi State. It was Saban who left Tua in the game despite a big Bama lead deep into the first half of the game. It was Saban who is ultimately responsible for the injury, they allege.

I say hogwash. I say that Nick Saban didn’t hurt Tua, football did.

The bottom line here is that Tua Tagovailoa could have suffered an injury getting off the bus. He could have been injured on his first snap, his final snap or anywhere in between. That’s the cruel sport of football, where injuries occur, even when they are not in the least connected to an earlier injury.

As Tua now begins rehab following Monday’s hip surgery, prayers and well wishes continue to come his way. But I’m here to tell you that Tua’s coach could use some support as well. On the exterior, Nick Saban is all business, the man in charge. He spends long hours at work between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. doing what he does. But you can bet that when the coach makes his long, dark drive home late at night, when he tries to fall asleep and when he rises early in the morning, Tua Tagovailoa is on his mind. Is he second-guessing himself? If he is, he shouldn’t be. Do the critics bother him? Remember, even the toughest man on the block has feelings.

Only Nick Saban, Miss Terry and a handful of close friends know what the coach is feeling. As we see a coach who is all business, a coach who has a tough exterior and a no-nonsense flare, I have a strong feeling that Nick Saban is struggling a bit this week. My message? As we pray for Tua and wish him well, perhaps the Alabama football coach can also use our support.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

With those five words, Nick Saban offered us a rare glimpse into his heart. May the Alabama family be reminded that the head of the family can use a few prayers as well.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

13 hours ago

Tide players Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith named semifinalists for Biletnikoff Award

(Alabama University Football/Contributed, YHN)

On Monday, University of Alabama Crimson Tide wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith were named as semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award.

According to the award’s website, “The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the season’s outstanding college football receiver regardless of position.”

Jeudy and Smith make up two of the 12 receivers receiving a semifinalist nomination. Both Alabama and LSU had two receivers recognized. The four receivers from those two programs made up the entirety of the SEC’s nominees for the Biletnikoff Award.

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Jeudy won the award in 2018. He joined Amari Cooper as the only other Tide player to win the award in its 24-year history.

Jeudy has a chance to become the third player, after Michael Crabtree and Justin Blackmon, to win the award twice.

Fred Biletnikoff was a decorated receiver at Florida State in college and for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.

The three finalists for the Biletnikoff award will be identified on November 25. The 2019 winner will be announced on December 12 at The Home Depot College Football Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Ga.

Full list of nominees as follows:

Player School
Rashod Bateman Minnesota
Omar Bayless Arkansas State
Ja’Marr Chase LSU
Antonio Gandy-Golden Liberty
Isaiah Hodgins Oregon State
Justin Jefferson LSU
Jerry Jeudy Alabama
CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma
Michael Pittman, Jr. USC
James Proche SMU
DeVonta Smith Alabama
Sage Surratt Wake Forest

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

1 day ago

Shaun Alexander’s moving message to Tua Tagovailoa speaks to all of us

(Shaun Alexander/Twitter)

He will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Alabama Crimson Tide football history, yet he came and went in a flash.

A long weekend has reminded us how fleeting joy can be — after all, “2nd and 26” was just 20 months ago. Yet, it seems that Tua Tagovailoa would be around longer. Can you believe that he was the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback for less than two seasons? Barring a return to the Capstone for his senior season (Tua is still expected to turn pro next spring despite the hip injury suffered days ago), Tua will never play another down of football for the Tide.

How many times have we heard it? You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

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Over the last few days, college football fans across America have been appreciating Tua, not only for his football talents, but for his decency, faith and kindness. Oh, Tua has had plenty of reasons to be cocky: He owns the school record for career touchdown passes (85) and the school record for most touchdowns accounted for (94). He has thrown 31 touchdown passes this season and he’s ranked third on the school’s all-time total passing yardage list. Yet Tua Tagovailoa, a mere 21-years-old, remains humble, as he now recovers from his second surgery of the season.

We are more alike than we are different, and I have a feeling that, like me, you don’t want it to end. Regardless of which team you root for, college football was better with Tua taking snaps each and every football season. His pinpoint passing, his team leadership and his positive attitude made us all feel better, and after “2nd and 26,” you knew that when Tua was about to take the snap, you couldn’t take your eyes off the game.

In the days following Tua’s most recent injury, I have been reminded that this young man will go down in Crimson Tide history as one of the most loved Bama men ever: Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Jay Barker, Gene Stallings, Shaun Alexander, Jalen Hurts, Ken Stabler, Coach Bryant, Nick Saban, Mark Ingram, Amari Cooper, Lee Roy Jordan, Harry Gilmer, Ozzie Newsome, John Hannah, Derrick Henry, Demeco Ryans, Bobby Humphrey, Derrick Thomas, Julio Jones — the list goes on. And I’m here to tell you that you can now add Tua Tagovailoa to the list, as he’s a leading candidate to be ranked in the top-five of favorite Bama players ever.

As a new week is now upon us, it’s time to encourage healing rather than blame coaches — and we can all learn from a Bama football legend who has put it all in context.

Former Crimson Tide running back Shaun Alexander, who has faced pain in his own life (he and his wife Valerie lost their 70-day-old daughter Torah in May of 2017), is sending positive thoughts Tua’s way. While Shaun’s faith has helped him deal with his own setback, the 2005 NFL MVP has sent his own message to Tua via Twitter, and it’s a heartfelt message that speaks for all of us.

Shaun said, “My confidence in life is not about my gifts, abilities, awards or accomplishments. My confidence comes from my faith in Jesus. His plan is perfect. Every part of the plan is PERFECT. Love you, Tuaman. Walk through this like you was built to. Finish the Game. A legend is being made.”

It doesn’t get any better than that, my friend! From one legend to another, Shaun Alexander has reminded us all that life is about more than football, motivating Tua while speaking from the heart.

When great things come into our lives, we want more — and I have to be honest, I want more of Tua Tagovailoa. Could Tua decide to return for his senior season? Yes, he could, but I have a feeling that we will see Tua in the NFL next fall. Until then, let’s heed Shaun Alexander’s advice. One of the greatest players in Crimson Tide football history is likely finished playing college football. Let’s remember the southpaw gunslinger as a better person than he is a football player. For that, we are all grateful.

RELATED: Shaun Alexander on life, love and loss — ‘We will see her again, worshiping God together’

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

1 day ago

Bama team surgeon on ‘successful’ Tua Tagovailoa surgery: ‘Prognosis is excellent’

(Phil Mathis/Twitter)

University of Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Monday reportedly had a “successful” surgery on his right hip in Houston after being injured Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s game at Mississippi State.

Dr. Lyle Cain, Bama’s team orthopedic surgeon from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Clinic at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, released a statement Monday with the official update.

“Tua underwent successful surgery on his right hip Monday morning in Houston,” Cain advised.

“The procedure went as planned, and he is resting comfortably,” he continued. “Tua’s prognosis is excellent, and we expect him to make a full recovery. He will return to Tuscaloosa in the next several days to begin his rehab.”

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Tagovailoa was initially airlifted to St. Vincent’s from Starkville, MS, after being injured near the end of the first half of Saturday’s SEC contest. He was then flown Sunday evening to Houston in anticipation of Monday’s surgery.

The record-breaking quarterback has seemed to be in good spirits while hospitalized, posting pictures of himself smiling as teammates visited him. Tagovailoa has also continued to display his deep faith through the process.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

SEC announces time, network for Iron Bowl

(Auburn Football/Facebook, University of Alabama/Contributed, YHN)

The SEC announced Monday morning that this year’s Iron Bowl will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, November 30.

The game will be played at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn and will be broadcasted on CBS.

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The 2019 Iron Bowl is the 84th edition of the famous rivalry game.

Alabama leads the series 46-36-1.

This Saturday, November 23, both Iron Bowl teams are heavily favored against lower-tier teams. Auburn hosts in-state Samford while Alabama plays Western Carolina in its first game without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who underwent successful hip surgery on Monday.

RELATED: Jalen Hurts reacts to Tua’s devastating injury: ‘It hurts me to hear it’

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

2 days ago

Tua Tagovailoa scheduled for hip surgery on Monday — ‘God always has a plan’

(Tua Tagovailoa/Instagram)

University of Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is now set to have hip surgery on Monday, with “a full recovery” still projected.

Dr. Lyle Cain, the Crimson Tide’s team orthopedic surgeon from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Clinic at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, released a statement Sunday evening with the update.

“For the past 24 hours our medical team has consulted with multiple orthopedic experts across the country, who specialize in hip injuries and surgeries,” Cain outlined. “Based on that research, Tua is being flown to Houston tonight to be evaluated and is scheduled to have hip surgery Monday.”

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“As previously stated, we anticipate a full recovery. The main focus has been, and will remain, on Tua, his family, and making sure we are providing them the best medical care possible,” he concluded.

This comes after Cain on Saturday stated, “Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium. He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season.”

Tagovailoa has been at St. Vincent’s since being airlifted there from Starkville, MS — the location of the Tide’s contest against Mississippi State in which he was injured near the end of the first half.

Pictures have been posted to social media on Sunday showing teammates visiting Tagovailoa in the hospital.

Tagovailoa retweeted former Bama running back Shaun Alexander, who said, “My confidence in life is not in my gifts, abilities, awards or accomplishments. My confidence comes from my faith in Jesus. His plan is perfect. Every part of the plan is PERFECT. Love you Tuaman. Walk through this like you was built to. Finish the Game. A legend is being made.”

With a nod to his Hawaiian roots, Tagovailoa posted a picture on Instagram showing himself smiling while surrounded by teammates.

“OHANA means FAMILY, and FAMILY means no one gets left behind,” he said in the caption.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TAGOVAILOA🇦🇸🇼🇸 (@tuamaann_) on

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Jalen Hurts reacts to Tua’s devastating injury: ‘It hurts me to hear it’

(University of Oklahoma)

After leading the University of Oklahoma in an impressive comeback victory to defeat Baylor, Jalen Hurts expressed deep sympathy and concern for former teammate and friend Tua Tagovailoa after learning of the seriousness of his injuries.

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“It hurt me to hear it. He’s a great friend of mine.” Hurts said during a press conference after the Baylor win.  “I’m praying for him and his family. I hope nothing but the best. I hope everything works out for him and his family.”

Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture during the first half of Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.

After the news of his prognosis went public, Tua did not hesitate to express gratitude for the outpouring of support and, once again, acknowledged the role his faith plays in his life.

Team orthopedic surgeon Lyle Cain released a statement regarding the injury: “Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium. He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season.”

3 days ago

Legendary owner of Bessemer’s Bright Star restaurant, Jimmy Koikos, passes away

(Contributed: Koikos family)

I have sad news to share with you: Our friends at The Bright Star restaurant have confirmed that longtime owner Jimmy Koikos has passed away at the age of 81.

Bob Carlton was one of the first to report Jimmy’s passing.

Jimmy, who has been fighting a cancer diagnosis for months, was born in Bessemer. For over six decades, Jimmy, together with his brother, Nicky, brought thousands of satisfied diners great food and hospitality.

A University of Alabama grad, Jimmy could count the likes of Coach Bryant, Gene Stallings, Joe Namath, Nick Saban, Sandra Bullock and hundreds of others as his good friends.

Still, Jimmy treated every one of his customers with respect and kindness, as for years he reminded us how to treat one another.

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On behalf of my extended family and patrons throughout America, I bring the Koikos family my heartfelt condolences.

RELATED: The Bright Star, Alabama’s oldest restaurant, still shines

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

3 days ago

Auburn vs. Georgia: Will Tigers fans be partying like it’s 2017?

(AU)

We’re just hours away! The biggest game this weekend in college football should be a wild one, as the world of the College Football Playoffs will run through Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Say what?

The Auburn Tigers are nowhere near the top four teams in the latest rankings. Yet today’s result will have a domino affect on what teams will enter the playoffs and what teams won’t. Possibly affected by this game? Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Baylor, Oklahoma and, yes, perhaps even Auburn (the Tigers are hoping that if the dominos fall correctly, Auburn could become the first two-loss team to make the playoffs).

So then, how will it all play out this afternoon? How will the rest of the season go for Malzahn’s crew?

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Let me guess: You don’t think Auburn will beat Georgia, and you believe there is a lesser chance that the Tigers will top Alabama. You also figure it’s 50-50 that Malzahn will return in 2020. Well, I have news for you, and to make my point, I need only to take you back two years to the 2017 football season.

The mood in the Auburn family was a bit sour. While Auburn headed into the Georgia game with two losses (a six-point loss at #3 Clemson and a four-point loss at LSU), Tiger fans were less-than-confident as they fretted over the big games against the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide. Throw in an underlining uncertainty about the team’s head coach, and expectations were not, shall we say, healthy.

And then it happened: Gus Malzahn, as he often does when his back is against the wall, slammed second-ranked Georgia 40-17. Two weeks later, the Gus Bus wasn’t done, as it rolled over top-ranked Alabama 26-14. Malzahn’s seat cooled off so quickly that he would soon be handed a lucrative contract extension that turned his deal into a 7-year, $49 million contract. Yep, that’s what happens when you beat the nation’s top two teams in a span of two weeks.

Don’t look now, but the 2019 Auburn Tigers enter today’s game in much the same situation: The Tigers have two losses: an 11-point setback to then 11th-ranked Florida, and a three-point loss to #1 LSU. And the fan’s faith in Gus? I refer back to the 2017 season before the Georgia game.

If you are not buying into the thought that the Tigers will beat Georgia today, I offer the following: Bo Nix is unbeaten at home this season. Gus Malzahn is 8-0 in his career coming off a bye week. And seemingly every time that Malzahn seems to be down for the count, he gets back up off the canvas and delivers a knockout blow. Whether it’s crazy endings like 2013’s Prayer At Jordan-Hare and the Kick Six, or good, sound football down through Amen Corner in 2017, Malzahn thrives on being the underdog.

Will Gus Malzahn and the Tigers win today’s heavyweight fight? We all know that it could go either way. But I continue to get this overwhelming feeling that by about 6:30 tonight, Toomer’s Corner will be hopping, where the Auburn family will be partying like it’s 2017.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

4 days ago

Crimson Tide football receives 2019 AFCA Academic Achievement Award

(Alabama Football/Facebook)

The American Football Coaches Association announced Thursday that the Alabama football program, which had a 100% graduation rate for 2017-18, is among six recipients of the 2019 Academic Achievement Award.

Others who received the honor this year include the Air Force Academy, Clemson, Louisville, Rice and Utah. The NCAA’s single-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) is used to select the winner and all six schools posted perfect scores of 1,000 for 2017-18.

The eight Tide graduates who had degrees in hand before the season opener against Duke are Giles Amos, Mike Bernier, Shyheim Carter, Landon Dickerson, Miller Forristall, Anfernee Jennings, Chris Owens and Matt Womack.

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“Since 2013, Alabama has seen 158 degrees earned (graduate and undergraduate) by players who were still suiting up for the Crimson Tide after having graduated,” a press release stated. “Since the 2010 season, Alabama has seen an impressive 24 players earn a master’s degree before stepping foot on the field for the final time.”

The press release also briefly detailed how they tally each team’s scores, stating, “Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.”

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

4 days ago

University of Alabama signee Peter Berry’s story one of tragedy, triumph

(Mark Berman/Twitter)

This is a story about tragedy and triumph, a story about loss and love.

It’s a story that perhaps hasn’t received a lot of local attention, but it’s a story that needs to be told, as it’s a story about perseverance, strength and determination. A warning: If you are not holding a tissue, find one ASAP.

As thousands of high school athletes signed college scholarships on Wednesday, the University of Alabama Athletics Department reeled in the top recruit in America. However, this signee is not a football player, but rather the top high school wheelchair basketball player in the nation — and the story of Houston’s Peter Berry is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring.

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Eight years ago, Josh and Robin Berry were returning home with their three kids from a Colorado vacation. Suddenly, lives were lost and lives were changed, as Josh and Robin were instantly killed in a head-on crash on a Texas highway. Peter, then nine-years-old, and his brother Aaron, then eight-years old, were paralyzed from the waist down, and their sister, Willa, was seriously injured.

Somehow, someway, the kids carved out their lives after being taken in by their uncle and aunt: Matt and Simone Berry.

And as Peter tried to move on, something special would overcome him: A love for wheelchair basketball. The sport not only helped him cope, but it helped him turn into America’s top prep wheelchair player.

On Wednesday, Peter signed with UA, and now Peter Berry has another family that loves him — the Alabama family, as he joins one of the top wheelchair basketball teams in the nation.

Let me be one of the first to welcome Peter to Tuscaloosa. His drive, his determination and his love for his family is to be admired.

If you see Peter on campus next fall, be sure to welcome him to Tuscaloosa and give him a big “Roll Tide.” I know that you will welcome him with open arms.

We admire your grit, Peter, and we can all learn from your remarkable journey.

You can read more via the Houston Chronicle here and KHOU here.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

4 days ago

Three venue rotation put in place for 2021-2032 AHSAA Super 7 football championships

(Protective Stadium/Contributed, Wikicommons, Auburn Alumni Association/Flickr, YHN)

Birmingham’s Protective Life Stadium, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium will rotate hosting the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) Super 7 state high school football championships over the years 2021-2032.

AHSAA made the announcement Thursday, pending final approvals in process from the association and community partners.

The new structure (the addition being Birmingham) continues the tradition of using the state’s premier football venues as the backdrop for student-athletes in all seven AHSAA classifications to compete for their football state title each year.

In a statement, AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese expressed his enthusiasm for the fresh format.

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“It is with great pride that we announce the continuation of Super 7 for 2021-2032 and our partnership with the communities of Auburn-Opelika, Tuscaloosa, and now Birmingham,” he said.

“The communities of Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa helped the AHSAA take this event to a new level in 2009 and created the standard of excellence for hosting that is unmatched across high school athletics,” Savarese continued. “The AHSAA is grateful for Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa embracing a new idea to include Birmingham in the rotation which will now provide three high quality venues for our member schools to showcase their football programs at the end of each season.”

The 2021 event will begin the new three-community rotation at Protective Life Stadium in downtown Birmingham, which will at that time be newly constructed. The stadium will host its first Super 7 from December 1-3, 2021, followed by the years 2024, 2027 and 2030.

The 2021 event will mark the return of the state high school football championships to Birmingham for the first time since 2008, when the Magic City last hosted the event in its Super 6 format at historic Legion Field, where the championships were played from 1996 – 2008. Legion Field also was host to the large-school championship game from 1971 – 1995.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin commented, “We are pleased to see the AHSAA Super 7 return to the city where it began more than 20 years ago.”

“The Super 7 showcases the best of high school athletics in Alabama, and Birmingham is excited to be a host city once again. As a progressive city focused on building a better future for our young people, we look forward to working closely with the AHSAA to celebrate championship-caliber high school sports for years to come,” he added.

Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the communities of Auburn and Opelika will host in 2022, 2026, 2028 and 2032.

The Opelika City Council voted on November 5 to approve the host years, and the City of Auburn is in the midst of its approval process. Auburn Mayor Ron Anders advised that his city is “excited to continue the great tradition of hosting this major event for our state” when that process is completed.

Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium will host in 2023, 2025, 2029 and 2031.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said, “The City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama have always been synonymous with great football and striving towards excellence, and we want to continue that tradition by offering the opportunity for our youth across the state to continue to come to our city to play in the same arena as some of the greats who have come before them. Tuscaloosa has been a host of the Super 6 since 2009, and we want to continue to be a part of the Super 7 in our state in future years.”

Savarese thanked all three venue communities for their enthusiastic commitment to the AHSAA’s Super 7 football championship experience for its member schools.

“On behalf of our more than 400 member high schools and approximately 150,000 student-athletes this association serves, I want to sincerely thank the community partners who have pledged their support to make this idea a reality including the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, the University of Alabama, the City of Auburn, the City of Opelika, the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, Auburn University, the City of Birmingham, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the BJCC,” he concluded. “This event not only highlights our football student-athletes and coaches, but provides an opportunity for members of bands, spirit programs, and the entire communities that these schools represent to be showcased annually at our state’s most iconic venues for which the AHSAA is truly grateful.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

Saban reflects on Tide’s AFCA Academic Achievement Award — Says player reactions he cut while NFL coach varied based on having a degree

(Screenshot/YouTube)

On Thursday, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced the six recipients of its Academic Achievement Award. Among those were the Air Force Academy, Clemson University, University of Louisville, Rice University, the University of Utah and the University of Alabama.

During his weekly “Hey Coach!” program later that evening, Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban explained how the program under his leadership emphasizes academics to prepare his student-athletes for life after football.

Saban offered an illustration of the importance of players using their time in college from his stint in the National Football League. According to the Alabama coach, when he was responsible for cutting players as an NFL assistant, the reactions varied to the news based upon whether or not the player being cut fulfilled their obligations as a student and received a college degree.

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“We really emphasize in recruiting when we recruit guys that they’re coming to college to prepare themselves for the day they can’t play football,” Saban said. “That means they need to get an education. And I can’t tell you how much difference there was – it’s never fun when you’re in the NFL for eight years, and six of those years, I was actually responsible to release guys when you had to cut somebody from the team. You know it was always amazing to me that when you cut a guy that had a college degree, he would say, ‘You know Coach, I really appreciate the opportunity. I’m going to go to work for AT&T in Dallas because I graduated, you know, last year,’ or whatever. And it was like – just ready to move on in his life. Disappointed, but ready to move on.”

“And when you cut some of these guys that put all their eggs in one basket, you know, to play in the National Football League – majored in eligibility when they were in college, didn’t do what they were supposed to do to try to graduate,” he continued. “It wasn’t important to them, and they weren’t very committed to it. And it was devastating, you know, to them when they didn’t make the team because now they’re faced with ‘what do I do next’ because they didn’t have a career off the field to go to.”

Saban touted efforts of Alabama’s Center for Athletic Student Services, which is under the direction of Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Jon Dever.

“You know, I’m very proud of a, what our players have been able to accomplish,” Saban added. “But, you know, Jon Dever, his staff of people in our academic support program, do a marvelous job of helping our players. You know, the people in the university community – our professors and all the university community is always cooperative, give us the information that we need so that we can help the players – whether it is with tutors or whatever. Some places I’ve been, that’s hard to get. It’s hard to get that kind of cooperation. So, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate that. And I think that we have one of the most successful academic support programs in the history of academic success of any school in the country because of all those things. I’m really kind of proud of it. I know it doesn’t get talked about very much. Everybody is interested in how many games you win. But for the player, it is probably one of the most important things.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

5 days ago

Auburn in the playoffs? Don’t count the Tigers out yet

(College Football Playoff/Facebook, YHN)

You can surely call me wacky. You can surely call me unconventional. Just don’t call me Shirley. And after perusing this column, perhaps you will call me enlightened (I can only hope). Yes, I’m telling you that there’s a chance. That chance may be slim, but there’s a chance that the Auburn Tigers could soon find themselves in the College Football Playoffs.

Now, before you send me to my doctor, give me just a few minutes to make my case — my doctor can wait.

I’m here to tell you that if Auburn wins out, the Tigers could become the first-ever two-loss team that makes the four-team playoff field.

How in the name of Aubie can that happen? Here we go:

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The latest College Football Playoff poll has LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia holding the top four spots, with Alabama checking in at number five. While most of us agree that the Crimson Tide can sneak into the playoff field by winning out (Bama will need a big win over Auburn and then hope that LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Championship game), the Gus Bus also has a chance of motoring toward the final four by winning out.

So then, what do Auburn officials need to happen to make their case? They need Auburn to win the remaining games on the schedule: Should Auburn beat Georgia and then Alabama, the Tigers can boast of three wins over top-seven teams (Oregon, Georgia and Alabama). The Tigers can point to their strength of schedule, which currently ranks second in the nation behind LSU. But what about the two losses? The Tigers lost to 11th-ranked Florida by 11 points and #1-ranked LSU by three points — that’s not necessarily the playoff kiss of death.

What about all of those unbeaten and one-loss teams that are in the mix? An Auburn win this weekend would all but eliminate Georgia, and a win in the Iron Bowl would all but eliminate Bama, as a two-loss Auburn team would trump a two-loss Alabama team with the Tiger’s win over the Crimson Tide. But even if three of the playoff teams wind up being LSU, Ohio State and Clemson, how would Auburn sneak past the likes of Oregon, Oklahoma, Baylor, Utah or even Penn State (the Nittany Lions face Ohio State on the 23rd of this month)?

That’s easy, as the power of the SEC, strength of schedule and the ‘ole, “what have you done for me lately” syndrome would kick in (wins over Georgia and Alabama within weeks of one another would indeed be impressive). Oregon could be a wild card should Auburn win out, as the Ducks could claim that their only loss came at the hands of — you guessed it — Auburn.

The world of the College Football Playoffs goes through the Loveliest Village this weekend, as the Auburn-Georgia game is so big that Crimson Tide fans may find themselves rooting for Tua and friends. Remember, an Auburn win this weekend and then a convincing Iron Bowl win by Alabama would all but put the Crimson Tide in the playoffs.

Can the Auburn Tigers go all 2017 starting this weekend? Remember, the Tigers had two losses a few years back before beating Georgia and Bama. It could happen, and if it does, the Auburn family will once again remind the world that it should be respected. Could the Tigers make the playoffs? Most playoff sites are giving the Tigers a 13% chance of sneaking in. Thirteen percent odds are better than many, so yes, I’m saying there’s a chance. So get ready for another wild weekend of college football, as a game with huge ramifications will kick off at 2:37 p.m. CT at Jordan-Hare Stadium. And regardless of the game’s outcome, do me a favor: Don’t call me Shirley.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

5 days ago

Have some sports journalists lost their minds?

(Colin Cowherd, Ivan Maisel/Twitter, YHN)

I heard the buzz earlier this week on sports talk radio, and I sincerely thought it was a joke.

But no joke it was, as I had heard the news correctly: A talk show host was relaying information that a prominent media star was telling his national TV and radio audience that he thinks it’s time for Alabama football coach Nick Saban to retire. After a five-point loss to LSU. After going 63-5 and winning two national championships over the last five years. For Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports, this was no joke.

I heard the buzz a day later. A prominent sportswriter and broadcaster was telling his national audience that the Alabama football dynasty could be nearing an end. After a five-point loss to LSU. After winning five national championships in 10 years. To ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, this was no joke.

This is what a single Alabama football loss has led to: Some media types going rogue, and their followers buying in.

Why is it happening?

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It happens because the Crimson Tide football team wins so often. America’s sports public forgets that coaches other than Nick Saban recruit five-star athletes. And get this: A number of teams other than Alabama can actually win a contest against the Crimson Tide — no, really — it happens. Not often (five times in the last five years), but it happens.

Yes, it has come to this: Watch the Bama football team lose a game and get ready to send the coach on his way.

I’m coming in hot with some thoughts on these topics and the Alabama-LSU game. Hop on board and take a spin with me!

Watch:

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

6 days ago

ESPN’s Heather Dinich: ‘Don’t forget about Auburn’ in the college football playoff race

(Auburn Football/Facebook)

Auburn came in at No. 12 when the college football committee announced its latest round of rankings on Tuesday evening.

There was plenty of discussion in the ESPN studio about the Tigers’ impact on the rankings with upcoming games against Georgia and Alabama. Show host and University of Alabama alum Rece Davis went so far as to declare, “Auburn is the most important non-contender in all of college football.”

One of Davis’ colleagues at ESPN has since pushed back against the notion that Auburn should be labeled a “non-contender.”

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ESPN playoff committee expert Heather Dinich believes Auburn should not be counted out of the playoff hunt, yet.

Dinich took her argument to Twitter Wednesday morning.

Dinich makes a compelling case based on three potentially significant data points. There is no arguing the resume of any team with two top-5 wins. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ win over Oregon in Dallas looks better each week. And, with a committee that seems to apply a little more eye test than its previous versions, having an elite defensive unit would add to its case for inclusion.

ESPN’s playoff predictor gives Auburn a 5% chance to make the playoff. FiveThirtyEight takes a dimmer view of the Tigers’ situation, placing a 2% chance on making the final four team cut.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

7 days ago

Playoff committee ranks Alabama No. 5, Auburn No. 12 – Five takeaways

(College Football Playoff/Facebook)

The college football playoff committee announced its next round of rankings on Tuesday evening, and sent a few messages in the process. Here are five takeaways:

1. The committee has now taken two inconsistent approaches to ranking Alabama. Committee chairman Rob Mullens went to great lengths last week to say the committee held the Crimson Tide in high regard for its personnel and overall ability. Yet, in this week’s ranking, the committee dropped Alabama below a Georgia team which has shown it does not have an elite unit on either side of the ball and has a home loss to a bad South Carolina team on its resume.

Georgia beat a mediocre Missouri team last weekend. Alabama took a close loss — now the best loss in the country — to No. 1 LSU with a hobbled Tua Tagovailoa. If the committee indeed held Alabama in high regard last week, this week’s events should have done nothing to vault Georgia ahead of the Tide.

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2. “Auburn is the most important non-contender in all of college football.” Those were the words of ESPN studio host Rece Davis. Perhaps that was the network’s finest analysis of the evening. The fate of three highly-ranked teams is tied to the outcome of Auburn’s remaining games. The No. 12 Tigers face No. 4 Georgia this weekend and No. 5 Alabama in the Iron Bowl in three weeks. We wrote earlier this week about how Crimson Tide fans will want to practice saying ‘War Eagle’ heading into Auburn’s matchup on Saturday. An Auburn win is good for Alabama any way you cut it.

Oregon is sneaking around the top-four itself, and so for Auburn to keep winning would help their loss in Dallas look a little more forgivable. Auburn will now have a few hundred thousand extra fans in its corner by kickoff on Saturday.

3. Alabama now gets to see how the other half lives. The reality is that by this point in any season most teams get into the playoff as a result of some other teams’ misfortune. That’s rarely been the case for Alabama. The Tide have largely steamrolled into the playoffs year after year. At No. 5, with some future conference champions right behind them, Alabama needs some help. Clemson looking past one of their remaining inferior opponents and choking away a game would help. But so would some losses from one of the teams behind them. Which brings us to…

4. The committee sure wants to place a PAC 12 champion in the playoff this year. It’s been three years since a PAC 12 team made the playoff. There have only been two teams from the conference to ever make the top-four. The committee seems to be angling for that to change this year. Oregon came in at No. 6 this week, and Utah came in at No. 7. It certainly look as if the committee is setting up a strategy to put one of those two in the playoff as a conference champion. Alabama could use Utah and Oregon to take another loss to become a two-loss champion. A statement win against Auburn (who beat Oregon) in the Iron Bowl would help make its case, as well.

5. The Big 12 will be sitting this year’s playoff out. The committee does not think highly of the Big 12 — at all. One-loss Oklahoma is ranked No. 10, while undefeated Baylor is ranked directly behind two two-loss teams at No. 13. The message from the committee is clear: the Big 12 should make other plans for New Years. Even seven-time national champion Minnesota made the leap to respectability with its No. 8 ranking this week. Oklahoma and Baylor can only dream.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

1 week ago

Why Dylan Moses suiting up against LSU almost brought some of his Tide teammates to tears

It’s a story that you might not have heard — a story that I think is, well, awesome.

You may know that University of Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses is out for the season after suffering a knee injury before a game was even played.

Why then, was Bama’s star linebacker in uniform for the LSU game?

It’s all because of Dylan’s love for his teammates.

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You see, Dylan is from Baton Rouge, and he wanted to find a way to motivate his teammates, show them how much they mean to him and remind them with which team his heart lies.

So Dylan approached Coach Nick Saban and asked for permission to suit up for the big game. Saban signed off on the idea, and on Saturday just past noon, Dylan went on to quietly dress before kickoff.

Saban explained, “Being from Baton Rouge, he came and asked if he could dress for the game and wanted to be a part of the team for that game. We have no intentions of playing him, nor is that any indication that he’s ready to come back and start practicing or playing – that’s not the case. It was just something that he wanted to do to be a part of the team.”

Dylan’s gesture nearly brought some teammates to tears, and helped unify his teammates as they fought their hearts out. As he stood on the sidelines in full gear on Saturday, he served as a motivator and a role model to the young men in Crimson.

It’s a story that you may not have learned from watching the broadcast, but it’s my pleasure to bring it to you here.

Job well done, Dylan. Job well done.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

1 week ago

Former Bama star Jalen Hurts befriends bullied boy — ‘It meant the world to me’

(ESPN/Twitter)

Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to be an exemplary role model.

This past weekend, Hurts’ current team — the University of Oklahoma Sooners — hosted 12-year-old Rayden Overbay as their special guest.

Overbay, who has autism, Type 2 diabetes and is deaf in one ear, went viral recently — but not for a good reason. The boy made national headlines after being assaulted by bullies in two separate incidents, each recorded on video.

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Hurts heard about Overbay’s story, and the Heisman contender spent time with him after the Sooners’ game against Iowa State on Saturday in the locker room.

In a video posted by ESPN, Hurts can be seen signing a football for the boy before telling him that he and his teammates are behind him.

Hurts also told OU Daily how important the experience was to him.

The quarterback said Overbay inspires him.

“I mean honestly, Rayden is an inspiration to me,” Hurts said. “I told him he was a soldier for just how he handled himself. It meant the world to me honestly to meet him. That whole meeting was great for me, and he has a friend in me.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Tide fans should practice saying these two words: ‘War’ and ‘Eagle’

(Auburn Football/Facebook, University of Alabama/Contributed, YHN)

There has never been a college football playoff without the Alabama Crimson Tide. So, one can imagine the collective shoulder shrug from Tide fans should they end up facing Baylor in the Sugar Bowl or Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl with a mere fifth-place ranking on the line.

Despite what happened in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, all is not lost for Tide fans. There is a distinct possibility Alabama does not drop out of the top 4 when the playoff rankings come out on Tuesday.

That would still amount to some pretty thin ice. The analytics site FiveThirtyEight is not particularly bullish on Alabama’s chances to make the playoff, placing only an 11% chance on that happening.

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On the other hand, ESPN’s playoff predictor views the Tide’s chances favorably pegging them with a 41% chance of making the playoff.

The Tide now sit in the unenviable position of needing some help. Some teams will take unexpected losses. That type of chaos only helps. The more chaos across college football, the better for Nick Saban’s squad.

This unfamiliar predicament for the Tide gets even stranger when you consider one team which could help itself and Alabama this weekend: the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn is a 2.5 point underdog at home to Georgia this weekend. For a few reasons, a big Auburn victory could help Alabama navigate the treacherous playoff waters in the weeks ahead.

Don’t be surprised if the committee slots Alabama in the fourth spot in this week’s rankings. The committee said publicly how highly they thought of Alabama’s personnel. If that happens, then look for Georgia to be nipping at the Tide’s heels in the fifth spot. Maybe Georgia comes in at 4 and Alabama at 5.

Either way, Alabama needs Georgia to go away.

A one-loss Georgia SEC champion means Alabama is out of the playoff. LSU would still get in, but there would not be any room for a third SEC team. At least a sliver of hope would exist if Georgia were a two-loss SEC champion. There is precedent for this situation. Penn State was a two-loss Big 10 champ and failed to make the playoff over a one-loss Ohio State which did not play in its conference championship game. Plus, Georgia has an inexplicable loss to an awful South Carolina team on its record. And then there’s the certainty that a three-loss Georgia team goes away like Alabama would want it to.

More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Auburn beating Georgia sets up the opportunity for Alabama to pick up a much-needed victory over a top-10 team. A win on the road over a highly-ranked Auburn team would give the committee the cover it needs to tuck Alabama into that fourth position in the final rankings.

It would also help Alabama’s resume in direct comparison to one other team vying for the back end of the playoff seedings. Oregon dropped a close game to Auburn in the season opener and has been trying to play catchup ever since.

A one-loss PAC 12 champion Oregon would be looking to make its second college football playoff appearance. While the committee’s criteria calls for weight being given to conference championships, it also calls for the same consideration of common opponents.

Expect them to look closely at how Alabama handled Auburn compared to Oregon’s showing in Dallas.

The Iron Bowl is always better among top-10 teams. But this year, Alabama needs it to happen.

Come on, Tide fans, warm up the pipes for this weekend: “War Eagle!”

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

1 week ago

Looking back on Bama vs. LSU: Joe won the Heisman, but Tua won my respect

(LSU Football, Alabama Football/Facebook, YHN)

The end zone was but a few yards away. His eyes widened as over 100,000 fans held their breaths — after all, this was Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa not passing the football, but instead running toward paydirt.

Wasn’t the Crimson Tide signal-caller supposed to go easy on that ankle — the same ankle that was repaired just 20 days earlier by a team of surgeons from the Andrews Sports Medicine Institute? It certainly would have been understandable if Tua had chosen any option other than to scramble. But this was Tua Tagovailoa, a proud warrior who knew that an early score less than three minutes into such a monumental game would send an early message to the LSU defense. Suddenly, as Tagovailoa looked to finish off his touchdown run, he felt the football squirt out of his hands.

Something wasn’t quite right with Tua Tagovailoa in the first half of the monumental game, and it was in many ways the result of an ankle that was not quite back to 100%. When Tua later threw an interception and LSU held a 20-point halftime lead, Bama fans found their nails chewed and the name Mac Jones was trending on Twitter.

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The hostile crowd only served to motivate him: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was out to prove that his team was going to show the world that eight was enough. After eight straight losses to the Crimson Tide, Burrow was set on silencing the home town crowd, and silencing them quickly. And oh, how he did just that, throwing for 252 yards and three touchdowns — in just the first half! Burrow could do no wrong, scorching the talented Alabama defense for 33 points and over 300 yards in only two quarters of play.

This was how the start of a Heisman-hyped football game began, as two quarterbacks, both expected to be invited to December’s Heisman dinner, displayed their talents for the nation — and the president — to see. By halftime, the “Joe Burrow has all but clinched the Heisman” talk had begun. Yet, as the name Joe Burrow was trending, the experts forgot to do one thing before they crossed all other Heisman candidates off their lists: Watch the entire football game.

We’ve all seen it too many times: Just when you think the Crimson Tide are in trouble, they fight back — and I’m here to tell you that there is no bigger fighter on the Alabama football team than Tua Tagovailoa.

A sore ankle and a gimpy leg? Forget about it!

Something magical was going on, and Bama fans sensed it: Tua was back, as that tight spiral and pinpoint passing had returned. With just over five minutes remaining in the game, Tua threw a perfectly-placed football to Jerry Jeudy- the result? A Crimson Tide touchdown, and Bama trailed 39-34. After an LSU score, Tua showed that he still had gas in his tank: An 85-yard TD strike to Devonta Smith closed the LSU lead to 46-41. While LSU hung on to win the game, Tua’s courage and talent reminded voters that Tagovailoa was not to be forgotten in the Heisman conversation.

Joe Burrow had a game to remember, as he completed 31 of his 39 pass attempts for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was a performance that moved him to the front of the ESPN Heisman Watch List, overtaking Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. And guess who now stands second on the list, just one point behind Joe Burrow? Yep, a young man named Tua Tagovailoa (various ESPN experts vote weekly to give the public an idea of where the Heisman race stands. Burrow stands first with 44 points, Tagovailoa second with 43 points and Hurts third with 36 points).

In the moments that followed LSU’s 46-41 win, I was struck by a persistent thought: Was Tua’s performance on Saturday more impressive than Burrow’s? Call me crazy if you will, but the Bama quarterback threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns on what amounted to be one leg — he could barely walk after the game. Tua Tagovailoa was resilient and brave as he led nearly led his team back from a 20-point deficit.

I’ve been a Heisman voter for many years, and I know that voters like winners. I’m here to tell you that if the Heisman Trophy was awarded tomorrow, Joe Burrow would be the winner. And while there is plenty of time for Joe, Tua and Jalen to pad their stats, my gut feeling is that Burrow will win the trophy. Yet don’t count out the Bama star, as through sheer will and guts, Tua reminded Heisman voters that the voting margin may be closer than they think.

What a showcase it was: Two talented Heisman candidates poured out their hearts for their teammates. And the final verdict? Joe may have won the Heisman, but Tua won my respect. And it’s yet another reason why Heisman week in New York is going to be a whole lot of fun!

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

1 week ago

Alabama vs. LSU postgame — 4 takeaways

Saturday, No. 2 LSU handed the 3rd-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide its first loss of the season.

Here are four quick takeaways:

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Two SEC teams showed up to Bryant-Denny, and a Big 12 game broke out. Defense was optional today. The teams combined for a total of 46 points – at the half. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa combined for 424 passing yards – at the half. When the smoke finally cleared, these teams put 87 points on the scoreboard and combined for 1,000 yards of offense. Mike Gundy and Lincoln Riley would have been proud.

The middle of the field was open for business for the LSU offense. Burrow feasted on the middle of the field. There was not a lot of help for Alabama defensive backs on any routes going over the middle. One adjustment we didn’t see until briefly in the fourth quarter was getting some pressure up the middle. Quarterbacks hate getting pressured up the middle. Bama effectively got some pressure from the outside but never up the middle in a way that would affect his vision and those throws he hit all night. And that was where LSU went when Alabama really needed to make a stop in the fourth quarter after getting within 5; LSU went across the middle to Ja’Marr Chase for a critical first down that thwarted the Bama rally.

Tide MVP: Najee Harris. At halftime, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said this to the CBS on-field reporter in response to her question about Tua’s health affecting Alabama’s play:

“I don’t think our whole offense looked like themselves. I don’t think you can blame it on Tua. I don’t think it has anything to do with his physical ability. We’re behind the 8-ball with penalties. We haven’t been able to run the ball effectively.”

The valuable piece of information in that interview was the last sentence. The Crimson Tide came out in the second half and committed to the run, and it opened up the whole offense. Harris played huge in the third and fourth quarters and nearly led Alabama to a come-from-behind victory. He finished with 146 yards on the ground and 44 receiving yards. His incredible touchdown catch was probably the play of the game for Alabama’s offense.

There is still a path to the playoff. Analytics gurus FiveThirtyEight now have the Crimson Tide with a 12% chance to make the playoff. Alabama needs for Ohio State to win out, especially against Penn State. The Tide do not need a Penn State upset over Ohio State so as to avoid them jumping in front of them as the highest-ranked one loss team at the end. Georgia may sneak ahead of the Tide this week but they may end up with a second loss by the end of the season. A little chaos in the Big 12 and PAC 12 would also be welcome. As difficult as it is to consider, fans of the Crimson Tide also need to become fans of LSU to win out for the same reason as Ohio State. It gets tricky, and they don’t control their own destiny anymore, but strange things can happen in college football during the month of November.

1 week ago

Trump greeted in Bryant-Denny Stadium by deafening cheers, ‘USA’ chant (VIDEO)

(Roger Hoover/Twitter)

President Donald Trump did indeed get a hero’s welcome as he arrived in Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch the University of Alabama Crimson Tide play the LSU Tigers.

After entering the box the president and first lady are sitting in, President Trump walked to the balcony and started waving to the jam-packed stadium.

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First Lady Melania Trump joined the president as they were officially welcomed via the in-stadium public address system.

As seen in the video below, the Trumps were greeted by a resounding chorus of cheers lasting approximately one-minute long.

A loud impromptu chant of “USA-USA-USA” even broke out.

Watch:

Several notable guests could be seen in the box with the Trumps, including Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01). Also present was the owner of the box — UA System Trustee Jim Wilson, III — and Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04), who flew down in Air Force One to Tuscaloosa with the Trumps.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Lee Corso picks LSU over Alabama — Byrne: ‘He probably picked Hillary too’

(College GameDay/Twitter)

The intersection of politics and sports is certainly on display in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, with President Donald Trump set to attend the University of Alabama Crimson Tide’s home game against LSU.

In the Yellowhammer State, college football is a way of life for many, and this dynamic was evident in how Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne’s (AL-01) U.S. Senate campaign approached the big game.

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First, the campaign commissioned a billboard reading, “Roll Trump. Roll Byrne. Roll Tide.”

The campaign had supporters in the crowd around ESPN’s College GameDay set, getting their signs seen on national television as evidenced here and here.

Byrne’s campaign also had something to say when GameDay icon Lee Corso (perhaps “Corseaux” for the occasion) picked LSU over Bama, donning a Tiger mascot head at the end of the show.

The guest picker, former UA golfer Justin Thomas, did not like the pick — and apparently neither did Byrne.

“Lee Corso picked #LSU. He probably picked Hillary too #RollTide,” the congressman tweeted.

The Alabama-LSU game will be televised at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday on CBS.

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) will be amongst the group flying down to Tuscaloosa aboard Air Force One with Trump and attending the game with the president.

RELATED: Former Bama golfer Justin Thomas tips hat to Jalen Hurts as College GameDay guest picker

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn