Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

As was to be expected with a first-year college coach making his debut with a new team, and a team officially opening its season with a mix of veterans and newcomers,  the University of Alabama men's basketball team was far from perfect in its first game under the direction of new coach Avery Johnson.

There were flashes of brilliance lumped in with occasional lapses and glitches, and a period of real adversity in the second half as Al Skinner's visiting Owls made a significant run at the host Crimson Tide.

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

By Erik Stinnett

It was a big weekend for Alabama. 

Not only did the Crimson Tide notch a pivotal and convincing victory over visiting LSU on Saturday, it also hosted a number of recruits who, no doubt, came away impressed with what they saw at Bryant-Denny Stadium. And then a few days later Alabama reeled in a key commitment for its 2017 class -- a hometown kid.

By Stan J. Griffin: November 11, 2015

For 14 high school football teams in the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama area, it will be time to buckle their chinstraps again Friday night as they will be participating in the second round of the state playoffs.
One of those teams is Mike Smith's 9-2 Northridge High School Jaguars, who advanced with a particularly impressive 48-23 road victory against Dothan last Friday.
Three Jaguar running backs rushed for over 100 yards in that win.
The challenge increases significantly, however, for Smith's team this Friday as the Jaguars play host to Spanish Fort.
Spanish Fort, who comes to Northridge High with a perfect 11-0 record, was the champion of Class 6A Region 1.  It advanced to the second round by topping Pell City last week to the tune of 24-10.

Other playoff action this week involving Tuscaloosa/West Alabama schools includes:

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: November 8, 2015

Although Saturday's much-hyped Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama was competitive for a half in terms of the scoreboard, there was never any doubt about which team was the dominating force for this evening.

The Crimson Tide used a methodical offensive attack led by junior tailback Derrick Henry to dominate time of possession, pile up yardage and eventually break the game open against a weary Tiger defense. Alabama also rode a smothering defensive effort that held the Tigers' talented sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette to 31 yards while generally stifling the LSU offensive effort overall.

The result was a convincing 30-16 win for the Crimson Tide in front of a capacity crowd of 101,821 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The win, Alabama's sixth in a row since a home loss to Ole Miss, and fifth in a row over LSU, improved the Crimson Tide to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC play. LSU, with its first defeat of the season, fell to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.

Most importantly, the big win allowed the Crimson Tide to regain control of its destiny in the SEC West thanks to the 53-52 victory by Arkansas at Ole Miss Saturday.

By Stan J. Griffin: November 5, 2015

Due to uncertainty regarding the weather conditions for Friday night, several Tuscaloosa/West Alabama schools have moved their first-round high school football games to tonight.
One of those local schools is Chris Smelley's No. 7 American Christian Academy Patriots.
The 9-1 Patriots, who finished as runner up to undefeated Gordo in Class 3A Region 4, begin postseason play as they host a Slocumb team that went 7-3 during the regular season.
Slocumb also finished a solid 4-2 in Class 3A Region 2, placing third in the region behind only Daleville and Pike County.
ACA had no trouble romping past Sumter Central last Friday behind the three touchdowns of Caleb Squires, and the Patriots are hoping to remain hot, especially offensively, as they begin a hopeful road to Tuscaloosa and the Super Seven state title games.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin

With ESPN's College GameDay returning to Tuscaloosa this week to feature yet another University of Alabama football game (which is seemingly almost becoming a weekly ritual for the popular show), and CBS also coming to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a prime time national broadcast, it is basically impossible to downplay the magnitude of Saturday's pivotal Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 2 LSU (as ranked in the initial College Football Playoff poll) and No. 4 Alabama Saturday.

Les Miles' Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play) and Nick Saban's Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1) are set to renew what has become one of the nation's most intense rivalries Saturday in a game that kicks off just after 7 p.m.

While the game has become particularly spicy over the past seven or eight years due to Saban's previous coaching experience in Baton Rouge and many of the games being very close, hard-fought and physical battles, this year's contest is simply huge due to all of the potential SEC and playoff ramifications that accompany it.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin

Although the No. 7 University of Alabama football team was off this past week in terms of an actual game, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the week was a productive one, nevertheless, for his team.

"We have been working on a lot of things, and a lot of repetitions for a lot of players, to improve," he said Monday. "But now it's time to sort of refocus on the task at hand. The players had a few days off, and I think the goal is is for us to play our best football of the year. To do that, each individual on the team needs to play their best, and that obviously starts with preparation, and we're going to start our preparation (for Saturday's game against No. 4 LSU) today."

Saban noted the magnitude of the Alabama/LSU rivalry, and how it has grown during the past several years. It will no doubt be a formidable challenge for his Crimson Tide squad once again when Les Miles' Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play) comes to Tuscaloosa Saturday to battle his Alabama team (7-1, 4-1).

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

It's one of those annual clashes that needs no juiced-up pregame pep talk from the head coaches.

It's Florida. It's Georgia. And it's often for SEC East midseason supremacy. 
This year is one of those typical Florida-Georgia matchups. Sure, Missouri is the two-time defending SEC East champ, but it looks like it's gonna be one of the traditional SEC East powers -- either Florida or Georgia -- is gonna be representing the East in the Georgia Dome this year come December.

Two of college football’s last three national champions will meet in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to open the 2017 season in epic fashion.


The 10th installment of the nation’s longest-running kickoff game will feature the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles in what will be the first regular-season college game to be played in the Falcon’s state-of-the-art New Atlanta stadium.


The game is set for Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Exact kick time and television network are yet to be announced.


“With two teams of this caliber, it really is going to be a bowl-game type atmosphere and an epic celebration of college football,” said Percy Vaughn, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl chairman.


“These teams represent the best in our sport,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. president and CEO.

 “The best players, the best coaches, the best fans. It’s going to be a memorable start to the season and there is no better place to host this than in Atlanta, the capital of college football.


The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game averages more than 66,000 fans for each game – higher than 30 bowl games from last year – and its team payout averages $4.3 million, which is higher than 21 bowl games last season. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 40 million viewers tuning in to the series since 2008.


Alabama and Florida State have met four times with the Crimson Tide holding a 2-1-1 advantage over the Seminoles. FSU, however, won the most recent game in 2007. The series originally dates back to 1965. This will be Alabama’s fifth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, where the Tide hold a 4-0 record. It will be the first time Florida State has opened the season in Atlanta.


“This game with Florida State fits our scheduling philosophy of playing outstanding opponents in great venues in games that create great exposure for our program,” said Bill Battle, Alabama director of athletics. “Of course, it also continues our tremendous relationship with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game which goes back to the 2008 season opener. This game with the Seminoles will be an excellent start to the 2017 season and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

“This is a great opportunity to open the 2017 season against an outstanding Florida State program,” Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said. “Jimbo has done an excellent job there and this will provide a great challenge for our team. Having this game first on the schedule will give our players plenty to look forward to and prepare for in the offseason.” 

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to be a part of this first-class event hosted by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which has really grown into one of the great traditions in college football. The last four times we've participated in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, it has been a big bowl game atmosphere and I know that will again be the case with these two programs,” said Saban.

“The game with Alabama will be one of the highlights of the college football season,” said Florida State Director of Athletics Stan Wilcox.  “Both schools have significant alumni bases in Atlanta, and we would expect the media coverage of the game to be on par with some of the biggest non-conference games in recent history. The exposure for our University and our athletics program will be invaluable. We look forward to the game and playing in a fantastic venue.”


“We are very excited to be opening the 2017 season against Alabama at the new Falcons stadium in Atlanta,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Scheduling top non-conference opponents is critical in today’s day and age. These are two great football programs and there will be a tremendous atmosphere. It’s a great matchup for our fans and for college football. We are looking forward to the opportunity.” 


The majority of the tickets will be divided between the two teams, creating a true neutral-site environment. All tickets will be sold through the university ticket offices.


The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s iconic rivalry-game trophies. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.

For more information, visit

By Stan J. Griffin

Anyone who even casually follows University of Alabama softball knows that the Crimson Tide hosting the regional round of the NCAA tournament is simply an annual rite of spring.

For the 11th consecutive season, the University of Alabama softball program will begin the NCAA tournament hosting the regional round in the friendly confines of Rhoads Stadium.

Patrick Murphy's team has earned a bid to its 17th straight NCAA Tournament, slotting in as the No. 6 seed. The Tide will welcome Washington, USC Upstate and Fairfield to Tuscaloosa for three days of games beginning on Friday, May 15.

“We never take this for granted and it never gets old,” said Murphy. “To see Alabama up on the TV make all the hard work worth it. I’m really happy with the senior class, now they’ve made the tournament all four years. This has been a really easy team to coach and I’m really excited for the postseason.”

It is the 13th time overall the Tide has hosted a regional, first doing so in 2001. Alabama has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1999, Patrick Murphy’s first year as head coach of the program.

Play in Tuscaloosa will begin on Friday, May 15. Washington will play USC Upstate at 12:30 p.m. CT live on ESPNU and Alabama will play Fairfield at 3 p.m. live on the SEC Network.

Tickets are on sale now for this weekend's play and can be purchased at the Coleman Coliseum ticket office or online at

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Lake Tuscaloosa Living (LTL) is the premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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