The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.

    Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.

    “Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.

    “The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.

    Anglers are reminded of the following:

    — Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
    — Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
    — The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.

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

Charlie Daniels says he learned lessons on the football field that served him his entire life

Charlie Daniels performs in Iraq, 2010 (U.S. Army)
Charlie Daniels performs in Iraq, 2010 (U.S. Army)


American music legend Charlie Daniels said in an interview with that he learned lessons playing high school football that have served him his entire life—“not just as a professional musician, but as a person.”

In his newly published memoir—“Never Look at the Empty Seats”—Daniels writes about spending his high school years in Gulf, North Carolina, where he attended nearby Goldston High School.

“Goldston High School was actually an elementary, middle, and high school combined,” Daniels writes in the book. “With all twelve grades under one roof, the student body constituted a little more than three hundred, and, with the rare exception of a few people like me, they went to school together for all twelve years.

“It was small by any standard,” he wrote. “We didn’t have some of the advantages of larger schools, but in my book, the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages.”

In his senior year, when he was playing center on the football team, Goldston upset the larger and favored Pittsboro High School.

That game and the game of football itself made a lasting impression on the young man who eventually would write and record many hits songs and be inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame.

Referencing what he writes in the book about playing high school football, asked Daniels: What is the value and virtue of young men playing football.

“Well, I think the value and virtue is that you have got to demand a lot of yourself, that you become part of a team, that you realize that you don’t do very many things in this world that you can do by yourself without help from somebody else,” said Daniels.

“And that when you do operate as a team and you make it work, that it works out very well, that is very gratifying to give it all you’ve got and go up against a bunch of other kids who have worked as hard as you have, and to go ahead and win, actually winning, actually competition–not feel good prizes or anything that everybody wins, because everybody doesn’t win,” he said.

“There is never a time when everybody wins, unless it’s a government program,” Daniels said. “Everybody has got to work for a living and the more you work the better you learn to exert yourself and to be a responsible person, the better you are going to do.”

Daniels noted that although football was the only sport he played in high school, he believed “that probably other sports, too, would give you that feeling.”

“I think that discouraging competition among young people is a disservice to them because they are going to be in competitive fields all their lives,” said Daniels. “And that early learning, that early feeling of winning, of having to work hard and winning, is worth a lot. So, I think it is a disservice not to encourage competition.” asked Daniels if he learned lessons on the football field at Goldston High School that served him all his life as a musician.

“I do,” said Daniels, “not just as a professional musician but as a person.”

“That one game that I brought up: As I mentioned, a little tiny school playing another slightly larger school that had a bigger pool of talent and that was supposed to win that game, and to be an underdog and to actually, everybody works together, everybody works hard, and you give it everything you’ve got and you come out winning? Of course you learn something,” he said.

“Of course you learn what a thrill it is to win for one thing,” he said. “And then you learn: How did we do that? We did it because we actually worked at it. We practiced hard. We tried to go up there with the best we had and we put the best we had against the best they had and we came out on top. That’s a heck of a feeling.

“I was euphoric all weekend long,” Daniels said. “I took my football jersey home and I wore it around I think all day Saturday after the game on Friday. I was very influenced by that.”


8 months ago

Morning Palate Cleanser: That time America’s greatest president talked about Alabama’s greatest football coach

(Paul W. Bryant Museum/YouTube)
President Reagan speaking in Tuscaloosa, 1984 (Paul W. Bryant Museum/YouTube)


President Ronald Reagan visited Tuscaloosa during his 1984 campaign for reelection and spoke about his dear friend, the Bear.

“He was a leader,” Reagan said. “Patriotic to the core, devoted to his players, inspired by a winning spirit that wouldn’t quit, and that’s how he made legends out of ordinary people.”

The president continued, saying the Bear was “a true American, and he was Alabama’s own.”

Two leaders.

Two winners.

Two class acts.

And we miss them both dearly.

9 months ago

We’ll ruffle feathers here – and kick some a-, uh, Mules


Alabama’s governing systems are a collective mess.

Many of my columns here at Yellowhammer will detail that mess – or those messes – and unflinchingly will advocate reforms, no matter whose toes get stomped or whose power bases get challenged.

I write as a lifelong, committed Madisonian conservative. Put the stress on “Madisonian,” which means I promote a philosophy, not an ideology. (For the difference, please read Eric Hoffer, Richard Weaver, and C.S. Lewis, among others, and also please review the actual practices of Ronald Reagan.) This means that while principles endure, mere opinions must be based in facts – and those opinions ought to be modifiable, at least at the edges, by empirical evidence.

As I wrote in an essay for a college publication more than 30 years ago, “such a conservatism is open both to question and to questing, to discussion without repercussion, not because it feels it is wrong but because it always strives to be more right.”

Within those parameters, though, opinions can still be both strong and strongly expressed. After nearly two decades of covering Alabama stories, I enter this new forum with the following opinions that, while open to further review, are currently quite strong.

First, Alabama’s state Constitution may be the worst such document in American history. Convoluted, complicated, counterproductive, and absurdly long, it desperately needs major revision and simplification. Indeed, if it were practical, Alabamans should trash the whole thing and start over, but as a practical man I accept that is an unlikely undertaking.

Second, Alabama’s government is far too centralized rather than open to local innovations, which makes it both ossified and much more easily corruptible. It also allows a small number of groups – often known as the “Big Mules” – to wield inordinate power. Now, sometimes they happen to wield it for good purposes. But if they don’t, they should be taken down a peg or two hundred.

Third, even hard-line conservatives should recognize that many solemn obligations of state government are seriously underfunded here. Among them are prisons/jails, the mental health system, some sheriffs and law enforcement agencies, and (due to federal mandates) Medicaid. One way or another, whether via savings elsewhere or new revenue sources, those functions should be fully supported. (Any conservative who is allergic to the very word “tax,” by the way, isn’t a real conservative.)

Fourth, while Alabama state government is comparatively lean, the first (but not only) focus for those wanting to meet the solemn obligations above should indeed be savings elsewhere, not new taxes. As a former staffer on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee when in just two years it was saving what was then a huge $50 billion in domestic discretionary spending (actual dollars, not merely from some projected “rate of increase”), I have no patience with government waste.

Fifth, to better apply savings from some areas to needs in other areas, state government absolutely must be allowed to modify its system of constitutionally earmarking an absurdly high percentage of its revenues. The entire idea of representative government is that the general public must entrust at least some significant discretion – must indeed delegate real authority – to those it elects to office.

Sixth, Alabama’s tax system is badly unbalanced and horribly regressive. Both state government and local governments rely far too heavily on sales taxes, and a bit too lightly on property taxes. Alabama could cut the former a bit and hike the latter just a smidgen and still be near the very bottom of states in property-tax burden while still among the highest in sales-tax burden. That last sentence isn’t mere opinion; it’s empirical fact.

Seventh, Alabama’s educational system vastly under-performs; its central bureaucracy is badly bloated; and its state school board and community of administrators are horribly incestuous (figuratively speaking). Indeed, the current state board is an embarrassment. Meanwhile, the state’s adoption of Common Core, and abandonment of full funding for the Alabama Math Initiative and Alabama Reading Initiative, reversed real progress in educational attainments, so that Alabama is again one of the worst performing states in the union.

Eighth, the truth(s) of race relations and racism in Alabama is/are far more complicated than almost anybody admits. Bigotry here is far less prevalent than most of the rest of the country believes, but still definitely more prevalent than most Alabamans readily acknowledge. (It also befouls us, at least somewhat, from more than one direction or ethnic subgroup.) Meanwhile, race relations also are more nuanced than either the national critics or the state deniers would concede.

Ninth, on the plus side, and amidst a general paucity of truly excellent elected officials, Alabama also has boasted (in just the 20 years I’ve been here) a few of the finest public servants I’ve come across in my entire life. (I was born into a very political family, 53 years ago.) I won’t name those still active in politics today, because I’ll be covering them and there’s always the chance they’ll screw up. But as I write these columns I’ll surely be dropping the names of those who are retired or passed away – the late state Sen. Hap Myers of Mobile comes to mind – because, even though Alabama’s government needs improvement, that doesn’t negate the many things and people of which it should be proud. And as with some public figures, so with its culture: For all my current criticisms, Alabama is a magnificent state with wonderful people, and I intend to trumpet our great strengths to a national audience.

Tenth and finally, and even writing as a huge, lifelong fan of football, I must insist that Alabamans in general are far too obsessed with football, to the absolute detriment of education and the broader culture. (And Nick Saban is overpaid)….

Okay, now I’ll show myself through the door, before I’m tarred, feathered, blitzed, and body-slammed. But please do watch this space. There’s lot of ground to cover.

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, available via Amazon.

9 months ago

WEEK 9: Comprehensive College Football TV guide

For a printable version, click here.

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

(Note: All times are Central)

9 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Tennessee

Can you believe it’s already the third week in October? Time flies when you’re having fun (at least for ‘Bama fans). We’ve seen some great college football the past seven weeks. There have been some quality opponents and compelling storylines. If you regard Saturday as your Sabbath, then you’ve not been disappointed. However, none of the games or headlines until this point can rival the third week in October. All Alabama and Tennessee fans mark their calendars for this marquee matchup. Heck, some even plan their wedding around it.

This Saturday at 2:15, Alabama and Tennessee will face off in Bryant-Denny for their 100th match-up. Alabama leads the series 53-38-7, and with so much riding on the line for both teams, football fans might be treated to a good one. Alabama is 7-0 and looking for the 17th National Championship. Tennessee’s head coach, Butch Jones, is fighting for his job.

With so much on the line, will Alabama continue to roll, or will the Vol’s be able to turn their season around? Here are our weekly keys to success, we will let you decide.

Tennessee Defense: As the old saying goes, “defense wins championships.” Tennessee ain’t winning any championships this year, but the principle still holds true here. If you want to win games, then don’t let your opponent score more than you. What’s the best way to do that? Stop them with your defense.

Tennessee is operating with a freshman QB that will be making his second start of the season. If that were not bad enough, he’s starting his second game in Bryant-Denny. That’s a challenging place to play for the most seasoned of QBs.

Most Tennessee fans will agree that they are not expecting the Vol’s to put up massive points. While they can score, their best strategy will be to keep Alabama out of the end zone and make the most of the points they do get. If the Vol’s defense can slow Jalen Hurts and Co., then they “might” have a shot at pulling off an upset. If they allow Alabama to run downhill, then their fate is all but sealed. So, the key factor is for Tennessee to stop the Tide from scoring, and hope you can sneak in enough points to beat them.

Alabama Offense: Alabama shouldn’t have a tough time stopping the Vol’s offense. It’s underpowered and outgunned. What they don’t want to do is get into a slugfest with Tennessee’s defense. This will give the Vol’s some life, potentially allowing them to play at a higher level than we’ve seen. If you’re Nick Saban, you want to jump on Tennessee fast and strong. If Alabama can run the score up early, it will be nearly impossible for Tennessee to mount a comeback.

Alabama vs. Tennessee

Alabama – 49

Tennessee – 10

9 months ago

College Football Preview: Auburn vs. Arkansas

The Auburn Tigers are set to travel to Fayetteville to face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday. The next SEC match-up for the Tigers is set to be broadcast on the SEC Network at 6:30 p.m.

Auburn is coming off a devastating loss at the hands of LSU in Baton Rouge. Just as the Tigers appeared to be the dark horse candidate in the SEC West with a shot at the playoff, their dreams went out the door as the offense struggled to produce anything in the second half of the 27-23 loss to LSU. It isn’t all over for the Tigers. If they win out, a 10-2 Auburn would be in prime position to appear in the SEC championship and nab a spot in the playoff. However, that won’t be easy, with SEC foes Georgia and Alabama lurking at the end of the road in November.

First, the Tigers have to make it through Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ dreams of a successful season were crushed nearly before the season began. Last week, Bret Bielema and his team were devoured by Alabama in a 41-9 pummeling. With starting quarterback Austin Allen still out with a shoulder injury, backup QB Cole Kelley is stuck running the Arkansas offense for now. Kelley struggled to get much going against the Crimson Tide last week, throwing for 200 yards with just one touchdown and an interception.

While there’s a small chance Allen could return this week, any Razorbacks offense will have a hard time against the aggressive Auburn defense. LSU managed to find holes in the Auburn defense last week, racking up big plays with their signature jet sweeps and exploiting Auburn’s secondary for a few downfield passes. However, if the Auburn defense that held Clemson to just 281 yards and two touchdowns shows up, it will be lights out for the Arkansas offense.

Auburn should bounce back in this game, but it will depend on which team shows up. If both sides of the ball show up and play like they have against Missouri, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss, then Auburn should have another SEC win in the books. However, if the same effort and play calling that the Tigers brought to LSU is repeated, Arkansas may give Auburn and Gus Malzahn a run for their money.

Auburn vs. Arkansas Prediction

Auburn – 35

Arkansas – 13

9 months ago

WEEK 8: Comprehensive College Football TV guide

Students storm the field following a 23-17 victory over the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in 2014. (Photo: Ole Miss Athletics)

For a printable version, click here.

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

(Note: All times are Central)

9 months ago

Should Condi Succeed Goodell as NFL Commissioner?

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

(News Analysis)

Former Secretary of State and Alabama native Condoleezza Rice is a woman of many interests and talents. In addition to her love of politics and country, she also loves football. In fact, Rice gave an interview with with the New York Times in 2002, saying that she would like to be commissioner of the NFL one day. As we reported back in 2014, Rice might actually be a good fit for the job. The question is, is now the time for a change?

Roger Goodell is not the most popular man in the country right now, or in football for that matter. Goodell took over the NFL’s top spot in 2006, and his leadership has been called into question on multiple occasions. In 2014, Goodell was ridiculed for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal. Now, he can’t seem to keep anything straight as he attempts to handle the controversy surrounding national anthem protests by players.

Goodell has switched sides multiple times throughout the debate. On one hand, Goodell has stood up for players who choose to kneel during the national anthem, saying they aren’t trying to be “disrespectful to the flag.” However, on Wednesday, he announced that the NFL wants all players to stand.

“We just had two days of conversations with our owners of which this was a fair amount of the conversation and I think our clubs all see this the same way,” Goodell said Wednesday, as reported by USA Today. “We want our players to stand. We’re going to continue to encourage them to stand. And we’re going to continue to work on these issues within the community.”

As it seems Goodell doesn’t know how to pick a side, many have called for a change in leadership.

Insert Condoleezza Rice.

In the New York Times interview mentioned earlier, Rice had this to say regarding the job as NFL commissioner:

“I think it would be a very interesting job because I actually think football, with all due respect to baseball, is a kind of national pastime that brings people together across social lines, across racial lines. And I think it’s an important American institution.”

Growing up in Sweet Home Alabama, Rice was almost destined to become a fan of the game. Her father, John, was a high school football coach in Birmingham, and taught her to love the South’s favorite pastime.

However, Rice doesn’t just love the game, she knows the game. In 2014, she landed a spot on the prestigious College Football Playoff Selection Committee, and quickly earned the praise of her fellow committee members who are mostly ex-coaches and players.

“I really consider myself a student of the game,” Rice said. “I find the strategy and tactics absolutely fascinating. I find the evolution of the game really interesting. Again, as it relates to military history. Military history has swung back and forth between advantage to the offense and advantage to the defense. When the offense has the advantage, then a new technology will come along that will temporarily give the defense the advantage and vice versa. Football has that kind of pattern, too.”

There is no doubt that if given the opportunity to take the reins of the NFL, Rice would continue to do what she does best – make Alabama proud. So, is it time for a change?

9 months ago

Roy Moore: Kneeling During National Anthem is Against the Law

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore gave an interview with Time Magazine in which he said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law. “It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

According to Newsmax, Moore is referring to a section of the U.S. Code that outlines appropriate conduct during the national anthem. That section states:

“Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and . . . all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their head dress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”

The code doesn’t necessarily give any legal penalties for not following these rules.

Disputes over players kneeling over the national anthem have been at the forefront of national news, as politicians debate over the motives of the protests. President Trump has said that these protests are a blatant disrespect of the country, and has called for any NFL player who kneels during the anthem to be fired. Meanwhile, others believe that the players are exercising their right to protest the injustice they see throughout the country.

“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” Moore said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”

“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition,” he added. “But this is law. If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?”

9 months ago

YHRadio: UAB Head Football Coach Bill Clark joins The Ford Faction

Coach Clark and the guys discuss UAB resurrection, the current success the team has experience, and a some leadership qualities that set Coach Clark apart.

Click here to play in a new window.

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

YHRadio: UAB Head Football Coach Bill Clark joins The Ford Faction

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YHRadio: UAB Head Football Coach Bill Clark joins The Ford Faction

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9 months ago

Auburn Receiver Kyle Davis Dismissed from Program

Photo from Kyle Davis's Twitter account
Photo from Kyle Davis’s Twitter account

Kyle Davis has been dismissed from the Auburn football team after a year and a half long career on the plains. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made the announcement on Tuesday. “I just want to let everybody know that Kyle Davis has been dismissed from our team for breaking team rules,” Malzahn said. “We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

According to The Plainsman, Davis missed Auburn’s entire spring practice for “personal reasons” and was suspended for the Tigers’ season opener against Georgia Southern. He was again suspended Saturday, as the sophomore did not play in Auburn’s 27-23 loss at the hands of LSU.

Davis is the third player to leave the Auburn team this season. Backup quarterback Sean White was dismissed after his arrest for public intoxication, while junior defensive lineman Byron Cowart transferred from the program.

“Any time as a head coach a player has to be dismissed, that hurts,” Malzahn said. “Every situation is different. We have a lot of great kids on this team and any time that happens it’s another opportunity for someone else. That’s just how I look at it.”

Davis finished his Auburn career with 19 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns. He had seven catches for 210 yards this season.

9 months ago

WEEK 7: Comprehensive College Football TV guide

For a printable version, click here.

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

(Note: All times are Central)

9 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Arkansas

Set for a 6:15 kickoff, Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks are traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on the #1 Crimson Tide. While the matchup has become a midseason right of passage, it’s hardly an even contest. Over the past ten seasons, Alabama has gone undefeated against Arkansas. Some games haven’t been pretty, like the 2014 game where the Tide narrowly escaped with a win, but it’s no secret Alabama owns this annual matchup.

Most consider it a foregone conclusion that Nick Saban will out game Bielema on Saturday. Should they be that comfortable, or is there more to this game then meets the eye?

So, without further ado, here are our weekly keys to success.

Razorback Physicality and Talent: It’s hard to deny that, under Bielema, Arkansas brings tenacity to any game they play. If you think they are just going to lay down for Alabama, then you need to think again. There probably aren’t many better examples of a team that encompasses SEC football. When you tune into Saturday’s game, you’re going to see smash mouth football at it’s best. The Razorbacks are going to make Alabama fight for every yard, just like they have in previous years. So, don’t expect to see a crazy high score like you did against Ole Miss.

That said, physicality and determination can only take a team so far and that’s the problem with Arkansas. While they play with a lot of grit, they just don’t have the talent to compete with the Tide. Case in point: the loss they suffered last week to a mediocre South Carolina team. By all accounts, Arkansas should have asserted their will, but they didn’t. Why? They fundamentally lack the talent and depth necessary to win consistently.

The Alabama Strategy: There is a very compelling argument for Nick Saban being the best coach of all time. His football aptitude and attention to detail effectively make him the 12th man.

The biggest advantage Alabama has this week, other than a roster packed with NFL talent, is Nick Saban. We know Arkansas doesn’t have the talent to compete with Alabama and so does Saban. He’s known for breaking down a team and hitting them where they are most vulnerable, and that is what you’ll see again in this game. Nick has had 10 seasons worth of strategy against Arkansas, and he knows right where to hit them.

The biggest factor on the Alabama side will defiantly be the game plan. Arkansas will put up a valiant fight, but you’ve got to bring more to the table when you take on the Tide. Saban knows there is no point in slamming against a wall; he will meticulously pick through the Razorbacks weaknesses until they lose their will to fight.

Alabama vs. Arkansas Prediction

Alabama – 33

Arkansas – 7

9 months ago

After Beating LSU, Troy is Upset by South Alabama

Courtesy of Troy University Athletics (Facebook)
Courtesy of Troy University Athletics (Facebook)

South Alabama always seems to upset someone each year, usually a team with high hopes who’s caught not looking. This year, that team was their state rival, the Troy Trojans.

Troy has been feeling pretty good since they went in to Death Valley and upset the LSU Tigers on homecoming. And with a paycheck of $985,000, they should have been feeling great. However, South Alabama caught the Trojans sleeping Wednesday night, and took home the famous victory belt.

Troy struggled to produce offensively throughout the night. Quarterback Brandon Silvers, who was the star of the show in Death Valley, had a lackluster game against the Jaguars. The Trojan offense gave up four turnovers on the night, which was probably the difference in the game. Give the Jaguars some credit, their defense showed up and held their own against a hot Trojan offense.

South dominated the game, putting up a 19-0 lead early in the fourth quarter. After a couple of missed field goals, Troy finally made it into the end zone with six minutes left. Troy was 4-1 going into the game, while South Alabama was 1-4.

Troy’s loss is even worse news for LSU, whose embarrassing loss looks even worse. The Tigers hope to continue their shot at redemption against Auburn in Death Valley on Saturday.

If Wednesday night proves anything, it’s that anything can happen in rivalry games. It also serves as a reminder to never get too cocky, no matter who you beat.

RELATED: Troy’s Epic Tweet After Collecting $985-Grand And A Victory in Death Valley

9 months ago

College Football Preview: Auburn vs. LSU

Photos Courtesy of Auburn Football and LSU Football (Facebook)

Week seven of college football has the Auburn Tigers traveling to Baton Rouge to face off against LSU in Death Valley. This Tigers vs. Tigers matchup never disappoints. Last year, both programs left the game looking a little different than when they came in. In one of the most bizarre endings in college football, Auburn came out on top after it was determined that LSU’s last second score came after time expired. Auburn’s season turned around after that game, as Sean White led the team to a five game winning streak. However, that game saw the end of an era at LSU, as the school decided to fire long-time head coach Les Miles in the middle of the season. Ironically, Miles and his 2007 championship team are being honored at this year’s matchup.

This year, Auburn is looking much better coming into the matchup. The Tigers are coming off three straight SEC wins with more than 40 points scored in each game. Stidham, Johnson, and company put a pounding on Ole Miss last week in a 44-23 victory. Kerryon Johnson rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns, while Stidham had another amazing game through the air. The Auburn offense shows no signs of slowing down, and with the defensive squad to back them up, the Tigers seem to be waiting for someone to challenge them.

LSU could be that challenge, although they need to play a near perfect game to be able to keep up with those other Tigers. LSU came back from an embarrassing homecoming loss to Troy and beat Florida in a close one, 17-16. The Tiger defense has the talent to be one of the best in the nation and is playing pretty well so far – they’ve racked up 20 sacks on the season. The offense is another story. The Tigers have struggled to sustain drives and even score throughout the season. The stalwart Auburn defense will be a challenge for LSU’s sputtering offense.

LSU will be the best defense Auburn has faced since its lost to Clemson. In that game, Auburn’s signature running game was non-existant as the offensive line struggled, giving up 11 sacks. It will be interesting to see how this improved Auburn offense handles another high caliber defensive attack. So far, adjustments on the O-line have worked incredibly well, but will they hold up in Death Valley?

Auburn has not won in Death Valley since 1999. Could this be their chance? All signs would point to yes. If the Auburn offense can prove its worth against a high caliber defense and continue its lights out performance, the Tigers should come out with their fourth straight SEC win. However, expect this one to be lower scoring than the last few. Auburn could finally face a tough defensive battle, not to mention the ominous environment of Death Valley.

Auburn vs. LSU Prediction

Auburn – 30

LSU – 17

9 months ago

See Whats Got Coach Saban Fired Up This Week

Following their somewhat narrow victory over Texas A&M this weekend, coach Nick Saban made it abundantly clear that it takes a lot more than just winning football games to make him satisfied.

Not to take anything away from A&M, but it was apparent Alabama didn’t come with the same type of focus we’ve seen the last two weeks. They looked sluggish at times, and Robert Foster committed the Tide’s first turnover in 38 quarters of play.

After the game, Saban had a pretty good idea of what caused his team to miss a step this week.

See the video below to see what Coach Saban had to say:

9 months ago

Jake Pratt, Alabama’s Viral Football Player, Makes Recruiting Stop in Auburn

Courtesy of Amy Hyde (Facebook)

Jake Pratt, the Vestavia Hills High School senior with Down Syndrome who went viral after his touchdown run in the preseason game against Briarwood Christian is getting even more national attention. Just weeks after being invited to Death Valley to meet Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Pratt was invited to take a recruiting trip to Jordan-Hare and spend a Saturday on the plains.

Pratt got the opportunity to meet head coach Gus Malzahn, quarterback Jarret Stidham, and Pratt’s favorite player, running back Kerryon Johnson. In an interview with WBRC‘s Sheldon Haygood, Pratt said that Johnson was his favorite player because he carries the ball like he does. Malzahn even invited him to come carry the ball for the Tigers next season.

Pratt has stolen the hearts of football fans across the country. His love and dedication for the game is inspiring, and the love that coaches like Gus Malzahn and Dabo Swinney have shown Pratt is amazing.

Check out Sheldon Haygood’s interview with Jake in Jordan-Hare below:

Jake Pratt

Vestavia Hills Jake Pratt visiting Auburn today

Posted by Sheldon Haygood WBRC on Saturday, October 7, 2017

RELATED: Vestavia Hills Down Syndrome Player Welcomed by Dabo Swinney

RELATED: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Moment in an Alabama High School Football Game

9 months ago

WATCH: Local High School Football Team Honors First Responders in a BIG Way

Courtesy of Sam Chandler (Twitter)

A Birmingham high school, Briarwood Christian, honored first responders in a big way during their homecoming game Friday night. The team used the run-through to start the game not to kneel in protest, but to give first responders across the nation the respect and recognition they deserve. Each player burst through the “Thank You First Responders!” banner carrying an American flag in an incredible display of gratitude to those who work to keep this nation safe.

Courtesy of TKphotography

Jay Matthews, Briarwood Christian’s Athletics Director and Assistant Principal, told Yellowhammer News about the student body’s vision to honor first responders during their Homecoming festivities.

“This past summer, our student government officers met and adopted the theme for Homecoming 2017-  “Honor 1st Responders” and each grade adopted a specific group of first responders to honor and serve. The 9th grade chose EMT personnel, the 10th grade chose firefighters, the 11th grade chose the military, and the 12th grade chose law enforcement. Each grade decorated school hallways and created opportunities to support these valuable heroes in our society. Our BCS Fine Arts academy had each class create a hand painted portrait for each group being honored. Those portraits and  other gifts will be presented to local departments in the next few weeks.

Our homecoming parade on that Friday featured numerous 1st responder vehicles as well.
Our principal, Dr. Shawn Brower approached Coach Yancey about the flag run through and the football team embraced the idea. We had parents donate for the purchase of the flags and it helped continue the theme in a nice way. We were also blessed that ST. Clair County’s band has a patriotic theme halftime performance featuring a large  American Flag under the care of the local Air National Guard.
To think about how a decision made this past summer could end up being so important in light of recent crisis is very interesting to me and many of the first responders involved in the week were blessed. I think it is important to note that the adoption of the theme was never to intentionally counter any message in current culture, but enhance a long standing tradition of honoring those who sacrifice for us day in and day out.”

Check out the video below!

10 months ago

WEEK 6: Comprehensive College Football TV guide

For a printable version, click here.

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

(Note: All times are Central)

10 months ago

College Football Preview: Auburn vs. Ole Miss

Courtesy of Auburn Football and Ole Miss Football (Facebook)

With week six of college football rolling in, the landscape of the 2017 season is starting to take shape. Alabama and Clemson are undoubtedly still the best, and everyone else is playing catch up. Perhaps the more interesting races are happening within respective conferences, and the race in the SEC West could be shaping up to be a doozy. Alabama and Auburn are currently tied for first place in the West, and with the Tigers looking better and better each week, the Iron Bowl may prove to be a winner takes all ticket to the SEC Championship – and maybe the playoff??

That’s getting a little ahead of the game though, for now, the Tigers are set to face off against Ole Miss in an early game in Jordan-Hare Saturday. The game is set to broadcast on the SEC Network at 11 a.m.

Auburn is coming off back-to-back dominating performances against two SEC foes. The Tigers handed it to Missouri in a 51-14 offensive show, and whooped up on Mississippi State last week in a 49-10 victory. The Tigers’ offense has continued to improve each game, and shows no sign of slowing down. Jarret Stidham completed 13 of 16 passes for 264 yards, including a few bombs downfield that would devastate any defense. Kerryon Johnson racked up three touchdowns on the night, and took off for some long plays himself, including a 59 yard sprint on the third play of the game. The defense continues to match Stidham and company in quality of play. The stalwart Tiger D has not given up more than 14 points all season.

Ole Miss is coming off of an embarrassing 66-3 loss at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Granted the Rebels were up against arguably the best team in college football, a loss like that is demoralizing all the same. The Rebels hadn’t been doing that terribly to start the season. Quarterback Shae Patterson was cranking up 400 yards per game through the air. However, his weakness was ball control, giving up three interceptions in the loss to Cal.

So who will win Saturday? Auburn. Definitely Auburn. The Tigers are hot, and until they face a more well-rounded opponent, they don’t seem to be slowing down. While Patterson may be a threat in the air, Ole Miss has an abysmal running attack, averaging just 74 yards per game. With just three sacks on the season, the Rebels don’t have anything that resembles a pass rush and have been worse in defending the ground game. Kerryon Johnson and Jarret Stidham should have a field day against the Land Shark Defense, while Auburn’s defense should have no problem controlling Patterson and the Rebel offense.

Auburn vs. Ole Miss Prediction

Auburn – 47

Ole Miss – 13

10 months ago

College Football Preview: Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is calling on high schools in the state to come to the assistance of schools in West Virginia. (Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is calling on high schools in the state to come to the assistance of schools in West Virginia. (Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

After the thumping Alabama put on Vanderbilt last week, they are entering into their second SEC game of the season, against the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss has been playing solid ball, despite their loss to California on Sept. 16. Regardless of the storylines leading into this game, fans are well aware that you can’t always predict what will happen in a marquee game like Alabama v. Ole Miss.

The Rebels are in a unique position as the only team to have beaten Alabama two of the last three seasons. However, those games were under the leadership of former head coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze was relieved of his head coaching duties after it was discovered he’d been using a university phone to solicit escort services. The sins of the coach are not the sins of the team, but with a scandal like that, you’ve got to believe it has taken a toll in the Rebels locker room.

Alabama has only been tested once this season, and that was against a Florida State team that has looked anything but impressive since their loss to the Tide. Whether or not their recent play is due to a hangover from the season-opening loss has yet to be seen. But it is clear that this will be the Tide’s first test since that game.

Here are some key factors that might make the difference for either team.

Alabama’s Pass Rush: It’s no secret that Alabama lost some serious talent to the NFL draft last season. While they are notorious for rolling the next guy in, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. On top of that, the Tide suffered some critical injuries during their opener against FSU. Typically, Alabama exerts their will on opponents by punishing the opposing quarterback, a feature that we didn’t see until the Vanderbilt game. If Alabama wants to jump on Ole Miss earlier, they’re really going to have to have an impact on the quarterback. If not, it’s going to be a long day for the Alabama backfield.

Ole Miss’ Quarterback Shea Patterson: Everything in this game depends on the quarterback. Patterson is putting up impressive numbers this year. The sophomore QB leads the SEC and is second in the nation in passing, averaging 427 yards per game. However, in order for him to sustain that type of productivity, he’s got to have time in the pocket. This only comes if Ole Miss can stop the rush. If the line can keep Bama’ players out of the backfield, then you’ll likely see Patterson go for daggers downfield. But if Alabama disrupts the passing game, it’s going to be tough for Ole Miss to defeat Alabama on a one-dimensional offense.

Alabama is coming in as a 28 point favorite over the Rebels. On top of that, the game is played in Bryant-Denny at night. If Ole Miss wants to defeat the Tide again, they better play lights out football.


Alabama vs. Ole Miss Prediction

Alabama – 42
Ole Miss – 10

10 months ago

College Football Preview: Auburn vs. Mississippi State

Photos from Auburn University Facebook and Mississippi State Facebook pages
Photos courtesy of Auburn Football and Mississippi State Football (Facebook)

Week five of the college football season is here, and we are down in the grit of conference play. This week showcases a big match-up in the SEC West, and the winner may be in the best position to challenge Alabama for a spot in the title game. The Auburn Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs face off in Jordan-Hare on Saturday, with the 5 p.m. kickoff scheduled for broadcast on ESPN.

Auburn comes off a huge 51-14 victory over Missouri, which was a much-needed morale booster for the Tigers. After struggling offensively in their matchup against FCS foe Mercer, the Auburn offense showed up with a vengeance in their first SEC win of the season. The Tigers rushed 53 times for 263 yards, and Kerryon Johnson ran for five touchdowns. Jarret Stidham was nearly perfect, completing 13 out of 17 passes for 218 yards. The Auburn defense had another stalwart performance, recovering three fumbles and snagging one interception. They were relentless on third down, as Missouri converted just 4 of their 13 attempts. Saturday’s win was a refreshing look for the Tigers, who finally seem to have gotten their groove.

Mississippi State’s week four matchup is a different story. Coming off a dominating upset of LSU, the Bulldogs had high hopes going into Saturday’s game against Georgia. Georgia held State to just 280 total yards, while State gave up 404 in the 31-3 loss. Nick Fitzgerald, who many hailed as the new Dak Prescott after the LSU game, was able to put up just 83 yards in the air. The question remains: did the disappointing week reveal Mississippi State’s true colors, or with Georgia in the rearview, are they ready to come back with a vengeance against the Tigers?

It should be a good game under the lights in Jordan-Hare. Auburn should be able to pull through, but it won’t be nearly as lopsided as last week’s win. If Mississippi State can regroup, Fitzgerald should have the opportunity to test out Auburn’s secondary, which hasn’t been challenged up to now. If the Bulldogs can convert on third down, they’ll be able to put up some points up against the Tigers. However, Auburn’s offense seems to have finally found their niche: a deadly running game with Stidham drawing blood through the air. If the defense can remain the stalwart wall it has built against opponents all season, and if it wins the turnover margin as it did against Missouri, Auburn should come out with its first home SEC win of the season. The Tigers would then be in perfect position to challenge Alabama for the top spot in the West.

Auburn vs. Mississippi State Prediction

Auburn – 31

Mississippi State – 24