1 month ago

SEC winners and losers from the 2019 college football season

Another college football regular season is in the books, and the conference for which it simply matters more has the top-ranked team in the playoff.

Bowl prep will soon begin for the league’s nine teams playing in the postseason, and the early signing period is less than 10 days away.

So now seems like as good a time as any to look at who fared well, as well as those who didn’t.


Coach O. It has been a long journey for LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. He has twice held the title “interim head coach,” yet he finds himself now leading the No. 1 team in the country after navigating an undefeated regular season. He is a shining example that there is no set path for getting to the top.

While more is out there for his LSU Tigers, their season is an overwhelming success no matter what happens in the playoff. Coach O avoided stubbornness this offseason and overhauled his entire offensive approach. The result is the No. 1 offense in the country and a quarterback who will collect the Heisman Trophy this weekend.

Gus Malzahn. Auburn’s head man used this season to remind everyone why he is the greatest coach to ever walk the sidelines at Jordan-Hare. His Tigers have played in a bowl game every one of his seven seasons on the Plains. After picking up a huge neutral-site win over No. 6 Oregon, the eventual Pac-12 champion, Malzahn has the opportunity to register double-digit wins for the third time in his Auburn tenure.

With one of the most difficult schedules year after year, he has faced perhaps the toughest seven-year run of any coach in college football history. And last month he notched his third win over Nick Saban, an achievement only one other coach on the planet can claim.

Tua. Alabama fans are not going to be the only ones who miss their fearless on-field leader. We all are. Anyone who appreciates football enjoyed watching him spin the ball out of that quick, effortless throwing motion. When adversity hit by way of his season-ending hip injury, Tua showed the country what he was truly made of. He was outspoken about his reliance on his faith to carry him through the trial. And, unlike other some other superstar players in recent years, Tua stuck around to support his teammates even though his college career is likely concluded.

That’s why he’s firmly in the winner category this season — and in life.

Derrick Brown. No one can ever blame a player for leaving school early to become a high draft pick. Brown could easily have done that, and he would have been congratulated in the process. Instead, he returned to Auburn for a season which saw him become virtually unstoppable on the field. His performance garnered him Defensive Player of the Year honors, with more awards expected to pile up.

Brown is also another example of an athlete displaying character off the field. Set to graduate this month, he’s involved in numerous causes in the community and is a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which seeks to recognize players for integrity both on and off the field.

Paul Finebaum. There’s a common saying in marketing that your brand should make someone mad. For Finebaum, mission accomplished. He is at a point where he is maximizing his exposure on the SEC Network and ESPN properties. He has perfected his schtick and has the ability to set fans, players and coaches alike off with his commentary and observations. Finebaum’s currency is controversy, and he’s trading feverishly these days.

Don’t expect any drop off in performance next year, either. The league returns personalities such as Coach O, Saban and Jimbo Fisher. And now Ole Miss has gift-wrapped Lane Kiffin back into Finebaum’s world. Another sneaky pick for Finebaum fodder will be new Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman. We’re in the golden era of Paul Finebaum.


Greg Sankey. Sankey, commissioner of the SEC, denied an injured Tua a waiver to cheer his teammates from the sideline of the Iron Bowl. While Tua was on crutches following season-ending surgery and obviously unable to play, Sankey determined Tua would still count against the SEC’s 70-player limit for road teams. This put Tua in the unfair position of having to take a spot away from another player in order to be with his teammates during the biggest game of the year. Tua embodies everything that’s right about SEC football. This should have been an easy decision for Sankey.

Then there’s the refs. Officiating in the SEC has been criticized this year for its inconsistency and some glaring mistakes in high-profile games. Sankey did not help himself with an awkward mid-season explanation of the conference’s approach to officiating. Here’s to a better Sankey season in 2020.

12th Man. It’s realistic to think Texas A&M expected a bit more when it guaranteed Jimbo Fisher $75 million to be its head football coach. For $75 million, they should be expecting quite a bit more. In Jimbo’s two seasons in College Station, his teams have gone a combined 16-9, with a 9-7 record in conference. Not terrible. But not $75 million good, either. This year, the Aggies did not beat a single ranked team, and squeaking out a win against the SEC’s worst team (Arkansas) proved to be the difference in getting to seven wins.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy summed up the pain of Texas A&M’s mediocrity in 2019 on a conference call announcing his team’s invitation to the Texas Bowl against the Aggies. Gundy called Texas A&M “the best 7-5 team in the history of the NCAA.”

Ole Miss urinating guy. That’s what to type into Google when you are looking for more info on the stupidest play of the 2019 season. Elijah Moore is his name. Everyone has seen the play by now. Any way you parse it, Moore’s pretending to lift his leg and urinate like a dog in the endzone cost Ole Miss a win in its most important game of the year. No matter how much his coaches tried to cover for him and say they were going to kick the extra point, a two-point conversion for the win was the only play. Instead, Moore cost his team the win and cost his coach a job.

The silver lining to Moore’s stupidity is that it brought Lane Kiffin back to the SEC. An Ole Miss player’s peeing like a dog got Lane Kiffin hired. Sounds about right.

Paul Finebaum. He did it. He went there. At 7:18 a.m. CST on Tuesday, December 3, Paul Finebaum declared that the Nick Saban dynasty has ended. It takes a unique talent to land in both categories of this column. Ole Miss urinating guy almost pulled it off because he brought Lane Kiffin to Oxford. But Finebaum is a generational talent right up there with Bo Jackson and Tua. Suggesting the Saban dynasty is over far exceeds the stupidity of costing a 4-8 football team a win. Has Finebaum not seen Saban dance, lately? By our calculations, Saban will coach until his 110th birthday. So at his current pace of winning, we estimate he will bring the Tide another 21 national championships before he finishes in Tuscaloosa.

Tide fans are better off printing their “38” bumper stickers than worrying about Finebaum’s prediction that Saban’s reign is over.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

23 mins ago

VIDEO: Impeachment articles transmitted, Ivey non-decision on refugees, gambling this legislative session and more on Guerrilla Politics

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political scientist Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Have we finally reached the beginning of the end of this never-ending impeachment circus?

— Why hasn’t Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Alabama doesn’t want to accept more refugees?

— Will Alabama legislators really move the issue of expanded gambling in Alabama in the upcoming legislative session?


Jackson and Burke are joined by State Senator Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) discusses the upcoming legislative session and whether gambling and medical marijuana will be big issues for legislators.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at people who believe the media latest “evidence” and their hysterics after all of the instances where the media screamed, “this is where they get him!” about Donald Trump.


Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

1 hour ago

Animal welfare and economics

Dog owners in Canberra, Australia, must now walk their companions daily or face a $2,700 fine, due to a 2019 animal welfare law recognizing dogs as sentient beings. Does requiring the humane treatment of animals restrict the property rights of humans and the functioning of economies?

I will not let rain, sleet, snow or dark of night deter me from walking my dogs. Dogs’ unbridled enthusiasm for a walk is so marvelous that I never want to let them down. I will confess, though, that I’ve violated Canberra’s new law.


Political philosophers’ theories of rights describe how humans should treat each other. Humans have the capacity for rational, deliberative action. Furthermore, political rights establish the conditions for the exercise of our rational capacities. Although beyond my professional expertise, based on my understanding, I would be reluctant to say that animals have rights.

Nonetheless, I think animals should be treated humanely and ethically, even though people disagree about what exactly constitutes humane treatment. And standards for humane treatment have changed over time. In the 1800s, owners could beat horses or mules for failing to do work.

Some critics dismiss animal rights when proponents do not extend rights to insects. An advocate willing to swat mosquitos rejects what critics see as the logical extension of animal rights. I think humans can hold ourselves to whatever standards of treatment we want. We can have inconsistent standards across species and decide to treat cute animals better. And we need not compromise our health and safety; we can, for instance, spray mosquitos.

The most relevant animal treatment issues today involve hunting and eating meat. My personal opinion here is irrelevant. But standards of care for animals have increased over time, so I can imagine hunting and eating meat being banned someday.

Do requirements for humane treatment compromise the property rights that provide the basis for our economy? As a free-market economist, I normally defend peoples’ economic freedom to use their property as they wish. Shouldn’t economic freedom include the freedom to organize dog fights?

Perhaps I am rationalizing, but I do not believe so. Property rights are ultimately rights to use things we own in certain ways. Ownership of animals may entail fewer rights than ownership of, say, furniture. Parents have more limited decision rights for their children than for themselves and can lose parental rights for abuse or neglect. Since standards of humane treatment can be inconsistent, we may decide that killing pigs or cattle but not dogs or horses for food is OK.

Would the banning of meat decimate agriculture? The impacts would be significant; the U.S. has over 90 million cattle, 70 million hogs and 230,000 poultry farms. The 2.3 million Americans working in agriculture will likely continue to do so, probably growing crops instead of raising animals. We have already seen a more radical transformation, however, as 80% of Americans worked in agriculture in 1800.

Banning meat would cause ranchers losses on the poultry and livestock they owned. However, meat is unlikely to be banned until many more Americans first become vegetarians. Fewer meat-eaters would reduce livestock populations and prices, reducing the losses from an eventual ban.

Animals, though, may not benefit from vegetarianism. The vast majority of America’s 70 million hogs are alive today because they are being raised for market. Most farm animals would not exist if we did not eat meat.

Is it better for an animal never to be born than born and raised to be eaten? Population ethics wrestles with a version of this question. China’s one child policy controlled population growth, but millions of children were never born. Does a higher quality of life for those lucky enough to be born offset the lives that never were?

Humanity is arguably making moral progress: slavery has been abolished, war is becoming rarer and we insist on humane treatment of animals. Ownership, limited by norms of humane treatment, leads humans to care for animals. Evolving standards of humane treatment need never cause economic calamity.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

3 hours ago

AIDT promotes Allen to high-level communications position

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – AIDT announced today that Jacqueline Allen has been promoted to assistant director of communications and external affairs at Alabama’s premier workforce development agency.Allen has over 30 years of experience in communications and marketing, with nearly 20 years of that experience at AIDT. Her new responsibilities include overseeing the Communications, Marketing & Research, and Training Development departments, as well as the agency’s newest department dedicated to recruiting candidates for AIDT training opportunities.


Since joining AIDT in 2001, Allen has initiated changes in digital advertising, successfully executed AIDT branding campaigns and K-12 outreach efforts, managed AIDT’s involvement in developing the AlabamaWorks program and worked with officials in launching the Made in Alabama branding campaign for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

More recently, she has led the transformation into digital, e-learning and virtual reality training for AIDT through the Communications Department.

“Since joining AIDT, Jacquie has proven over and over again how valuable she is to AIDT,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary of commerce and director of AIDT. “Her insight and her dedication to Alabama’s citizens is one of the reasons AIDT has remained at the top of its game.”

AIDT is part of the Workforce Development Division at the Alabama Department of Commerce. AIDT was founded in 1971 and is considered one of the nation’s top workforce development agencies.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

4 hours ago

Rep. Byrne rips Dems for values at Mobile County stop — ‘They don’t believe in God’

GRAND BAY — At a campaign event during a swing through his home congressional district on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) seemed to be taking a more aggressive tack in his quest to become Alabama’s next U.S. Senator.

With only 45 days left until Republicans head to the polls to select who they prefer to face Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in the general election, Byrne addressed the Grand Farms Subdivision Action Group’s “INFORMED and INVOLVED Candidates Forum” at a venue in south Mobile County, just a stone’s throw from the Alabama-Mississippi state line.

Before an audience of more than 50 or so, Byrne honed in on values as a line of attack against Democrats, declaring them not to believe in God and as seeking to replace God with government.


“This attack on President Trump is an attack on you and me,” he said. “Let’s make that clear. They don’t believe what you and I believe. It’s a fundamental breakdown in values. Policies are one thing. It’s the values that are at issue here. They don’t believe in God. That is at the root of the founding of the United States of America. They want to take God out of our life. They don’t want you and I to freely exercise our religion. We have to be willing to fight back against that. They don’t believe what the Constitution says what it says and nothing else. They keep adding things to it.”

“The Second Amendment says what it says what it says what it says, right? You have the right to bear arms, period, right? They want to take that right away from us. We have to fight against that. They want to take our right to freely exercise our religion in our everyday life. They want to say you can do whatever you want to in that church building over there. But when you walk outside of it, you can’t act out your faith. We have to stand up and fight against that. They have crazy ideas about what the federal government should do. When you take God out of the center of everything, you put government in the center of everything.”

Byrne cited Democrats’ push for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All as evidence of how an effort by the Democratic Party to put government at the center of everything.

He also took time to get a shot in at Jones, his general election opponent should he win the Republican senatorial nomination, and another in former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, one of his opponents in the March 3 GOP senatorial primary.

“I look at our United States Senator who is up this year in Doug Jones,” Byrne said. “He does not believe what you and I believe and is sure not going to fight for it. I want a senator who will go up to Washington believing what you and I believe, understanding the issues and will fight for them, who will wake up every day saying I’m the Senator from and for the state of Alabama. I didn’t just show up here yesterday. My family has been here for six generations. I didn’t move here from Florida three months ago, get a driver’s license and say, ‘I want to be your senator.’ We need people who understand who we are, who care about who we are and will fight for the stuff we believe in. I’m that fighter.”

@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 hours ago

75-million-year-old sea turtle fossil in Alabama a key discovery

Paleontologists in Alabama have discovered a new genus and species of fossil turtle that may fill an important evolutionary gap.

Scientists named the animal Asmodochelys parhami for Asmodeus, a deity that, according to Islamic lore, was entombed in stone at the bottom of the sea, and parhami in honor of James Parham, former curator of paleontology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

According to the UAB study, Asmodochelys parhami swam the oceans about 75 million years ago and may have been one of the most recent common ancestors of modern sea turtles.


“The origin story of sea turtles is one of the great unsolved mysteries in evolutionary biology,” said Drew Gentry, a College of Arts and Sciences Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and lead author of the study. “There is a great deal of evidence indicating that turtles may have evolved to live in the ocean several times over the past 150 million years. The trick is determining which of those species are actually the direct ancestors of the species we see today.”

MORE: Grad student uncovers Alabama fossils likely from oldest ancestor of modern sea turtles

To determine how A. parhami is related to present-day sea turtles, scientists performed a phylogenetic analysis. It is a method that compares the features of many different species of turtle to figure out how closely or distantly related those species may be. The analysis results in a phylogenetic tree, or genealogy, of sea turtles.

The UAB study found A. parhami is one of the youngest species to fall just outside of the group containing every species of modern sea turtle. This makes A. parhami of particular interest in the study of the sea turtle origins.

“Although it’s tempting to say ‘problem solved’ when we recover such a well-resolved tree, this is only one hypothesis in a long line of suggested sea turtle genealogies,” Gentry said. “Right now, there are several distinct trees proposed by different groups of scientists that are the front-runners in the race to solve sea turtle evolution, each with its own unique arrangement of fossil and modern species. Determining which tree most accurately represents the evolutionary history of these animals can be challenging, to say the least.”

In an effort to test the accuracy of each tree, Gentry and his colleagues examined the  proposed sea turtle genealogies and which most accurately fits the fossil record. That is to say, if the genealogy indicates that a certain species evolved first, does that species actually show up first in the fossil record?

Still lots to learn about ancient sea turtle unearthed in Alabama

Surprisingly, Gentry discovered that, although his proposed genealogy matched up relatively well with the fossil record, it was not the best fit. “Actually, a phylogeny proposed more than a decade ago matched nearly perfectly with the fossil record,” Gentry said. “The problem with that analysis was that it didn’t include nearly as many species as subsequent analyses, which may have influenced the results.”

Despite scientists around the world working for more than a century on sea turtle evolution, Gentry thinks there is still much to be learned.

“New methods for testing how fossil species are related to modern species are constantly being developed. Also, discoveries of new fossils have the potential to radically change our understanding of how certain features and species evolved in the history of life on our planet,” Gentry said. “Our study is just another piece of evidence in an ongoing mystery that shows no sign of being solved any time soon.”

The study, titled “Asmodochelys parhami, a new fossil sea turtle from the Campanian Demopolis Chalk and the stratigraphic congruence of competing marine turtle phylogenies,” was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s UAB News website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)