Top of the Mountain: Saban, Bryant Debate Shouldn’t Exist in the First Place

For many years now, Alabama fans have debated on which Crimson Tide head coach was the greatest of all-time. On Monday evening, currently Alabama head coach Nick Saban earned his seventh national title as a head coach, sixth in Tuscaloosa. Many media members are crowning Saban as the undisputed greatest head football coach in college football history. 

While no other college football coach has ever lifted the national championship trophy seven times in his career besides Nick Saban, I feel that the whole debate concerning Bear Bryant and Nick Saban should’ve never been existent in the first place. You might ask why. Well, hear me out. Take nothing away from Saban, he’s a great coach and has set a great standard at the University of Alabama. 

Nick Saban now owns a 165-23 record, sure that’s great, but people seem to forget what Paul “Bear” Bryant did and the times in which he did it. Bear Bryant served as the head coach of the Crimson Tide from 1958-1982, a time where the wishbone was the most popular offense in college football and defenses won championships. 

Again, take nothing away from Nick Saban, he’s a remarkable coach, but in my opinion Bear Bryant and Nick Saban are incomparable due to the fact that they are both the best coaches of their times. Nick Saban has had an incredible tenure at Alabama, that’s no secret. But have you ever thought about the fact that Bear did it with “less talent” so-to-speak? Not saying that Nick Saban’s players are definitely more talented than Bear’s were. 

Here’s what I’m saying, in the times that Bryant served as the head coach in Tuscaloosa, we definitely didn’t have the technology that exists today, there was no NFL Combine, Twitter seemed lightyears away, Facebook wasn’t even thought of. None of this social media that reels recruits in today, existed back in the 1950s-1980s. 

Nick Saban has all of these avenues and ways that he could go to get recruits from different parts of the country and even world, whereas when Bear was in Tuscaloosa, the majority of the players in Crimson and White were raised in the State of Alabama, you may have a handful that were from out-of-state, but the recruiting system that exists today, wasn’t even thought of back then. 

Both of these men are great men, leaders, and legendary coaches, when it’s all said and done, both of them will end up on the Mount Rushmore of Alabama Football, but this debate that pertains to who is the “best” between Nick and Bear shouldn’t exist. They were both great during their time periods. There’s no “best” head coach, they will both end up in the College Football Hall of Fame when it’s said and done. 

Nobody in the Hall of Fame walks around discussing which one of the Hall of Famers is the “best” everybody is in there for a reason. Put this debate to rest and respect the achievements of both men.

(Picture: SportingNews)

Striking the Pose with Class: Alabama’s DeVonta Smith Displays Class, Character During Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation


Heading into the Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation on Tuesday night, the Heisman Trophy had eluded wide receivers for 29 years. The last wide receiver to win college football’s most prestigious award was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Over the past decade, the award has primarily gone to running backs and quarterbacks. 

In addition to becoming the newest member of the Heisman fraternity, Smith also further etched his name into Crimson Tide lore as one of the best players to ever pass-through Tuscaloosa. He also joined the short, but talent-filled list of Crimson Tide players to win it in the past that includes current Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, whom lifted the stiff-arming hardware in 2009, and current Tennessee Titans running back, Derrick Henry, whom took home the prestigious bronze bust in 2015. 

Tuesday night, DeVonta Smith, an Amite, Louisiana native wasn’t the only member of the Tide on hand for the unprecedented virtual presentation, quarterback Mac Jones was also nominated for the award. Ironically, the trifecta of other finalists were all quarterbacks: the aforementioned Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, and Florida’s Kyle Trask. 

From the start of the season, it looked as if the Gators’ Kyle Trask might be the one lifting the hardware at the end, but DeVonta’s miraculous one-handed catch against LSU in Death Valley was seemingly was jolted Smith to the top of the ballot. 

He has brushed off questions by the media concerning the Heisman Memorial Trophy, and his class and composure that was shown throughout the 2020 regular season was mirrored Tuesday evening, when Smith, whom has a plethora of nicknames such as “Tay-Tay”, “Smitty”, and “Slim Reaper” took time to thank those who helped him get to this point in his life. 

The Louisiana native also took the time to offer a few words of encouragement for kids that might’ve been told that they can’t live out their dreams of being a college football player because of their size by saying, “To all the young kids out there that’s not the biggest, not the strongest, just keep pushing, because I’m not the biggest,” He later went on to say “Really, it just comes down to you put your mind to it, you can do it. No job is too big.” 

The man that began his career by catching the national title-winning pass from current Miami Dolphins’ quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is now a Heisman Trophy winner, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving, humble young man to have the honor. 

Congratulations, DeVonta Smith, your name is now a part of not just Alabama Football history, but also college football history, forever.

(Picture: Roll Bama Roll)
(Picture: al.com)

Spark Ranger: The Man Lightning Couldn’t Kill


The sound humans often associate with thunder is actually lightning. The booming claps are the result of air rapidly expanding as lightning heats it to nearly 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 90 percent of lightning actually occurs above our heads in the clouds, we only see the remaining 10 percent on their fraction-of-a-second journey to Earth. 

These are what meteorologists refer to as “cloud-to-ground strikes” and they generally measure up to five miles long and a couple of inches in diameter. A single bolt of lightning can produce one billion volts of electricity. Humans have died from a 42-volt shock to their system, which is part of the reason that Roy Sullivan’s story is so incredible. It’s not just that it happened, it’s also the fact that he survived. 

Most individuals struck by lightning experience some kind of indirect strike. Roy Sullivan, apparently experienced them all. Born February 7, 1912, Roy grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Greene County, Virginia. As a boy, he roamed its many ridges and hollows hunting for rabbits. An avid outdoorsman, he spent his twenties building Shenandoah National Park until it spanned 311 square-miles of protected land. 

Roy was by most accounts, ordinary, he just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, seven times. In 1942, 30-year-old Park Ranger, Roy Sullivan watched a thunderstorm barrel through Shenandoah Valley from the panoramic views of Miller’s Head Fire Tower. 

He was enjoying himself until seven or eight bolts of lightning hit the wooden shelter and the tower erupted into flames, Roy fled for his life, but his efforts were in vain. Just as he escaped from the firelit tower, another bolt of lightning struck him directly in his right leg. The impact of the strike seared the skin all down Sullivan’s leg.

According to the Washington Post, blood spurted from his foot, draining through a hole ripped in his boot sole. Roy would recover and for the next 27 years, he was a guy that had been struck by lightning. But that changed when in July 1969, 57-year-old Roy was driving his truck down Virginia’s Skyline Drive through a thunderstorm, when lightning suddenly hit a tree on one side of the road and jumped, a side flash passed through Roy’s window and knocked him unconscious at the wheel. He lived, but the flash seared off his eyebrows, eyelashes, and most of the hair on his arms. 

One year later, in 1970, lightning struck a transformer in Roy’s backyard and jumped again, this time is blasted his left shoulder and knocked him several feet into the air. In 1972, Sullivan was working at the park’s registration booth when he heard a loud thunder clap. 

In an instant, the 60-year-old man found himself engulfed in a painful white light. Roy’s scalp apparently caught fire with six-inch high flames. The next time he was struck by lightning, Roy was on patrol when he saw storm clouds form in the sky naturally at this point, he was terrified of storms so he hopped in his patrol car and drove, but according to Roy the clouds followed him. 

When Roy finally felt that it was safe enough to exit his car, lightning blasted him into the air again, this time knocking the shoes off his feet with the shoelaces still tied. On June 5, 1976, lighting struck the now-64-year-old Roy as he routinely checked on a campsite in the park. Supposedly, the sixth strike hit him just one mile from where he had been struck by the second bolt. Five months later, Roy retired from his service at the park. 

He packed up his things and took outdoors out of the equation. He and his wife Patricia moved to a small mobile home in Virginia. Naturally they littered their property with lightning rods, one on every corner of their home, one on the television antenna outside and several on numerous trees that were nearby the home. 

Despite the rods, lightning still found its way to Roy. On June 25, 1977, Roy started to smell Sulphur while he fished for trout in a pond near his house. Just as the hair on his arms eerily stood on end, lightning hit him again. This time sending Sullivan into the pond where he had been fishing. 

The blast also singed his hair, burnt holes in his clothes, and left his stomach and chest covered in burns. Afterwards, he lost hearing in one ear. This is said to be the last time that Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning, but it is said that he didn’t count the time that he was struck while helping his father cut wheat in a thunderstorm. When lightning struck the tool that young Roy was holding, then jumped from the tool onto the ground, and started a small fire.

On September 28, 1983, after 41 years of being the victim of chance and circumstance, 71-year-old, Roy Cleveland Sullivan took his own life in Augusta County, Virginia. Today, Mr. Sullivan’s disturbingly mysterious and incredible life is remembered by many in the Guinness Book of World Records

Roy was either the luckiest or the unluckiest man in the world, depending on how you look at it, but he definitely lived a life unlike any other.

(Picture: Washington Post)

Remembering the Life of one of Baseball’s Greatest Pitchers: Phil Niekro

Known for his unhittable floating knuckleball that seemed to approach the plate like a balloon, Philip Henry “Phil” Niekro was a trailblazer, an icon, a legend, a Hall of Famer and so much more.

But most of all, he was a genuinely good soul. While most people will remember him for his daunting knuckleball and his ability to strikeout some of the best hitters the game of baseball has ever seen, I will remember him for his kind, generous heart. They just don’t make them like Phil anymore.

Niekro was born in Blaine, Ohio, and grew up in Lansing, Ohio. He attended Bridgeport High School In Bridgeport, Ohio, and was a boyhood friend of basketball Hall of Famer John Havlicek.

The baseball field on which he played at Bridgeport High School’s at Perkins Field athletic complex was renamed “The Niekro Diamond” in 2008 after both Phil and his brother Joe Niekro, whom was also a Major League pitcher.

Their father was a coal miner who pitched semipro baseball and had learned how to throw a knuckleball from another coal miner. He later taught his sons how to pitch in the backyard when they were kids.

During his 24 big league seasons, Phil Niekro rode his knuckleball to 5,404 innings pitched – the most of any pitcher who started his career in live ball era. Unlike most pitchers, Phil was more than simply durable.

His 318 wins and 3,342 strikeouts are a testament to a pitcher who was often untouchable. By the time he turned 40, Niekro had already won 121 games, the most wins by anyone that age in baseball history.

During his career Niekro, who became known as “Knucksie” due to the dancing movements of his famous pitch, appeared in 864 games, gave up 5,044 hits, 2,337 runs, in 5,404 innings pitched. Totaled 318 wins and 274 losses, starting 716 games, had an ERA of 3.35, pitched 245 complete games, 45 shutouts, earned 29 saves, surrendered 2,012 earned runs, 1,819 walks, and 3,342 strikeouts.

He spent time with the Milwaukee Braves (1964-65), Atlanta Braves (1966-83, 87), New York Yankees (1984-85), Cleveland Indians (1986-87), and Toronto Blue Jays (1987).

He was also a five-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove Award winner, the 1980 Roberto Clemente Award winner, led the National League in wins twice, pitched a no-hitter on August 5, 1973, had his number 35 retired by the Braves, is a member of the Braves Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 1997, alongside Nellie Fox, Tommy LaSorda, and Willie Wells.

He died of cancer at age 81.

Rest well Knucksie, I’ll see you again on the other side. Thank you for not only your contributions to the Atlanta Braves organization, but also for your contributions to Major League Baseball, your name will live on forever in the book of baseball lore.

(Picture: Atlanta Braves Twitter)

Harsin Named 27th Head Coach in Auburn Football History

On Wednesday night, it was announced that Auburn University officials had finalized a deal which would bring Bryan Harsin, a Boise State University alum to the Plains.

This comes just nine days after former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was relieved of his duties on December 13. 2020, following a regular-season ending win over Mike Leach’s air-raid offense at Mississippi State.

He is 1999 graduate of Boise State University, where he was a three-year letterman with the Broncos from 1995-99.

Coach Harsin got his start as a football coach at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon, where he coach running backs and quarterbacks during the 2000 season.

In 2001, he returned to Boise, Idaho as a graduate assistant under first-year coach Dan Hawkins. He was hired as the Broncos tight ends coach in 2002 and remained in that position until 2005. During this period, the Broncos led the nation in scoring twice and remained in the top ten scoring offense all four years.

In 2005, four Broncos tight ends combined to catch 27 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. When Hawkins left for Colorado, offensive coordinator Chris Peterson was promoted to head coach for the 2006 season.

Harrison was moved up to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and guided the Broncos offense to an undefeated season. Running back Ian Johnson rushed for 1,713 yards and led the nation in rushing touchdowns.

From 2011 to 2012, Harsin served in Austin, Texas as the Texas Longhorns co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2013, he moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas to take over the Arkansas State Red Wolves football program and from 2014 to December 22, 2020, he served as the Boise State Broncos head coach.

During those six seasons as the head man in Boise, Idaho, Bryan Harsin owned a record of (69-19). Overall his head coaching record is (76-24) and his teams are (3-2) in bowl game appearances.

During his career, he has won one Sun Belt Conference Title (2013), three Mountain West Conference Titles (2014, 2017, 2019) and five Mountain Division crowns (2014, 2016-2019). He was also a 2009 Broyles Award finalist.

Welcome home, Coach Harsin!

(Picture: AuburnTigers.com)

Let’s Go Bowling: Tennessee Football Receives Bowl Invite to be in Liberty Bowl

It’s a year of firsts in 2020. That means Tennessee (3-7) can go bowling.

On Sunday night, it was announced that the Volunteers and Jeremy Pruitt would travel to Memphis, Tennessee to tangle with Neal Brown’s West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4) in the 62nd AutoZone Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Stadium.

It was a regular season filled with struggle and strife for the Tennessee Volunteers, who won two games in a row to begin the shortened slate, but then followed it up by losing six straight games before throttling a winless Vanderbilt team on December 12th, 42-17, then dropping a 34-13 decision to 5th-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday.

For the Mountaineers of West Virginia, they began their season on September 12 defeating Eastern Kentucky 56-10, followed by a loss to then-15th-ranked 27-13, the Mountaineers then defeated Baylor 27-21, and Kansas 37-10, before falling to Texas Tech 34-27, on the road.

They then defeated then-16th-ranked Kansas State, 37-10 on homecoming before dropping a 17-13 decision to then-22nd-ranked Texas on the road, they followed that up by running past the Horned Frogs of TCU 246, and ended the regular season by being thrashed by then-9th-ranked Iowa State 42-6.

The 62nd AutoZone Liberty Bowl is scheduled for Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 3pm CT on ESPN.

Can the Volunteers end 2020 on a high note or will Neal Brown and the West Virginia Mountaineers have different things in mind?

Find out December 31st at 3pm on ESPN.

(Photo: AutoZone Liberty Bowl Twitter)
(Photo: Tennessee Football Twitter)

Heads Up Braves Fans: The Future is Bright in Atlanta

In mid-March, Major League Baseball halted their Spring Training workouts to the outbreak of COVID-19, and fans were not allowed into the stadiums for the entire regular season.

In fact, a week into the season in late-July and early August, Major League Baseball was sitting on its proverbial heels due to multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati.

With the bulk of the positive tests coming out of Miami and St. Louis, league officials were contemplating the thought of shutting the season down even though it had literally just gotten started.

When the league reached an agreement with its clubs to play a 60-game regular-season schedule as opposed to the normal 162-game schedule in a non-pandemic year, we knew every game would matter that much more.

Winning streaks would seem longer than they were and would mean five times more than they would in a regular 162-game season. Losing streaks would seem to drag on longer than usual and every pitch mattered.

Even though the Atlanta Braves may have lost in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, there’s still a lot to be proud of when you look at the bigger picture.

This team won its first postseason series since 2001, advanced to the National League Championship Series, spent the final month and a half without ace Mike Soroka, missed outfield phenom Ronald Acuña Jr for two weeks twice due to a left wrist injury, lost four of five-man starting rotation, with Max Fried being the only projected starting pitcher left standing, and still won their division and won not just one but two postseason series.

This team isn’t done, they’re just getting started. For every minor setback there’s a major comeback. And with the young, raw talent of guys like Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Ian Anderson, Max Fried, Cristian Pache, and a healthy Mike Soroka, you can’t help but imagine just how good this team will be in the next few seasons with some of the best young talent in the game.

Hold your heads up Braves fans, the best is yet to come.

The Final Curtain Call: New York Mets Legend Tom Seaver Passes Away at the Age of 75

For two decades, Tom Seaver had a rather imposing presence on Major League mounds all over this great country. Perhaps, no single player is more identified with one team than Tom Seaver is with the New York Mets. 

It goes without saying that George Thomas “Tom” Seaver was a fearless competitor on the diamond, and everything he did in his life, on the field or off, he did it with purpose and poise. Seaver helped turn baseball’s “lovable losers” into World Series champions in 1969, when the Mets captured their first World Series trophy behind the fiery Fresno, California native. 

During his 20-year career in the Major Leagues, Tom Seaver spent time with the New York Mets (1967-77, 1983), Cincinnati Reds, (1977-1982), Chicago White Sox (1984-1986), and the Boston Red Sox (1986). 

Seaver was 12-time All-Star, and finished his Cooperstown-caliber career with a record (311-205) with a 2.86 ERA, and 3,640 strikeouts in 4,783 innings pitched. 

Tom Seaver known as “Tom Terrific” or “The Franchise” started 647 games in his career, with 231 complete games, 61 shutouts, a 1.121 WHIP, one save, 1,521 earned runs, 1,390 walks, and a winning percentage of .603. 

Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson, who managed Seaver with the Cincinnati Reds once said “My idea of managing is giving the ball to Tom Seaver and sitting down and watching him work.” 

On April 22, 1970, Seaver set a Major League record by striking out 19 San Diego Padres, 10-consecutive, in a game that the Mets would go on to win 2-1. 

From 1967-1977, “The Franchise” was selected to 10 All-Star teams, led the league in strikeouts five times, put together five 20-win seasons, threw five one-hitters, and won three Cy Young Awards. 

In 1978, after several near-misses during his career, Tom no-hit the Cardinals and in 1981 became the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to record 3,000 strikeouts. He was a member of National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1992. 

Seaver officially retired from the game of baseball during the 1987 season. According to baseballhall.org, George Thomas “Tom” Seaver aka. “The Franchise” passed away, on August 31, 2020 from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. 

In 1991, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which returned in 2012, leading to Bell’s palsy and memory loss. 

Rest in Peace Tom, you’ll never be forgotten.

Source: New York Mets Twitter

Old Foes, Familiar Ground: Wetumpka Hosts Tallassee at Historic Hohenberg Field Friday

It’s been 17 years since Tallassee and Wetumpka have met on the gridiron. The Tigers will travel to Wetumpka’s Hohenberg Field on Friday for their first meeting since 2003.

A Look at the Gridiron Series

The last meeting between the two programs was played at Tallassee’s J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium, with Coach Kyle Glover and the Indians pulling away from Coach Phil Lindsey and his Tigers, 52-7.

At the time of the meeting on August 29, 2003, Coach Kyle Glover was just entering his third year at the helm of Wetumpka, while Coach Phil Lindsey was entering his second season in charge of the Tallassee Football program.

The last meeting between the crosstown rivals in Wetumpka came on August 30, 2002, when Wetumpka claimed a 44-6 victory over Tallassee.

The series with Tallassee dates all the way back to November 18, 1921, a game which the Tribe won 27-0.

The former arch rivals met every year on the gridiron from 1951 to 1997 and picked back up for the two most recent games in 2002 and 2003.

A Look at the Opponent’s Last Game and History

Last week, Tallassee fell to the Reeltown Rebels 27-21 in overtime during the Tigers’ season-opener at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.

The Tigers are led by ninth-year head coach, Mike Battles Jr., during his coaching tenure across the Tallapoosa River, Battles is (60-31) with six playoff appearances and a (5-6) record in those postseason appearances with the Tigers.

Prior to taking the job as the head football coach at Tallassee High School before the 2012 season, Battles spent time at Oak Grove High School (1997-2007) and Bibb County High School (2008-2011).

Overall, in 24 years as a high school head football coach in the State of Alabama, Mike Battles Jr is (177-86).

A Glance at Wetumpka’s Last Game and History

Wetumpka opened the season with a 40-10 loss to rival Prattville at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in the second game of the AHSAA’s Kickoff Classic.

The Indians are led by ninth-year head coach Tim Perry. Prior to coming to Wetumpka in 2012, Coach Perry led the Alabama Christian Academy Eagles from 1985 to 2000.

During his 14-year tenure at Alabama Christian, he led the Eagles to a (73-73) record, including six trips to the postseason.

Later, Coach Perry would land jobs in Nashville and at Central Arkansas Christian School in North Little Rock. Central Arkansas Christian won the Arkansas Class 3A state title in 2004.

In 2007, Perry joined the staff at his alma mater, Harding University. In 2010, he took over at Nashville’s AR, where he remained for two seasons.

In 2012, Perry returned to the State of Alabama, as the head coach at Wetumpka where he has since remained.

During his tenure at Wetumpka, Perry has led the Tribe to a (59-38) record including seven-straight postseason appearances.

In his career as a high school head coach in Alabama his head coaching record is (132-111), in Nashville, Tennessee, and North Little Rock, Arkansas, his head coaching record is (68-19-1), and his overall high school head coaching record is (200-130-1).

Kickoff between the Tallassee Tigers and Wetumpka Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hohenberg Field.

Source: Tannehill Photography.

Music is the Best Medicine

It all started back in May of 2014, I went through a lot of tough times back in 2014, and my friend was having her 16th birthday party somewhere around the 15th or 20th of that month and I had heard that a rock band called Framing The Red, out of Jackson, Mississippi, would be playing the party.

At the time, I only knew one of their songs and that is because I looked them up on YouTube. Besides that one song, I really didn’t know what to expect but I wanted to celebrate my friend’s 16th birthday with her.

When I got to the party, I could hear the music from outside of the venue, I knew the music must be good if I could hear it before even reaching the door.

I walked in and greeted my friend and several other friends that were at the party. As the night grew older, the music got better and I’m so glad that I went to the party because this band has become some of my best friends.

Unlike some bands, they play a majority of original with a few mixed in just to keep your attention.

As I was leaving the party that night, each member shook my hand and introduced themselves to me.

They have had a few changes over the years, but they haven’t let that slow them down at all. These guys play somewhere around 200 to 250 shows a year all across the country, from New York to California and everywhere in between. Thank you, Paul Cox for introducing me to this band. They definitely changed my life.

If you haven’t heard them, I highly recommend you go look them up on YouTube and everywhere else. If you like Southern Rock, you won’t be disappointed. Music truly is the best medicine.