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The U.S. Coast Guard recently released its 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, revealing that boating fatalities nationwide that year totaled 701, the highest number of yearly boating fatalities on record in the last five years.

Having one or two quality running backs for the upcoming season is a huge asset for any college football team. Alabama currently has six on its roster (three five-stars, two four-stars, and one three-star) that could likely start for any team in the nation. Today we highlight and provide more insight on Alabama's loaded backfield.

AMICO Security announced today that its AMIGUARD system, considered one of the most secure and cost effective border solutions available on the market, is expected to play a large role in President-elect Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The Board of Trustees of the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust will hold its first quarterly meeting on February 9, 2017, at the Alabama State Capitol Auditorium in Montgomery, Ala. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m.

We've collected some of the best photos, videos and Memes across Facebook from the Alabama snow, just so you don't have to take the effort.

The 2016 fall season has been especially fruitful for the Alabama State Parks System. Starting with the overwhelming approval of Amendment 2 on the ballot in November to encouraging visitor numbers, enthusiasm abounds at State Parks.

And to keep that momentum going, State Parks is offering a substantial discount on overnight accommodations at 11 State Parks.

By Stan J. Griffin: January 3, 2017

THE SCORE: Alabama 68, Mississippi State 58 as the Crimson Tide begins Southeastern Conference play in winning fashion with a big road win over the Bulldogs, the Tide's third win in its last four games and its fourth consecutive win in Starkville.
It was a cold start for Avery Johnson's Tide team as it hit only one of its first seven field goals as the Bulldogs led early 9-3.  Sophomore Avery Johnson Jr., however, led the Tide on a 16-2 run after this which propelled Alabama to a 19-11 lead at the 9:49 mark.
That surge extended to 21-4 and a bucket by redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram put the Crimson Tide up 24-13 with 5:33 remaining in the first half. At halftime, UA was up 32-20 as Ben Howland's Bulldogs left the floor to a chorus of loud boos. 
MSU opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to trim the UA lead to 32-28.  With Alabama up 45-40 after a bucket by Corban Collins, the Bulldogs used a 7-2 spurt to tie the game at 42-42 with 11:18 left. The score was still deadlocked at 44-44 when Ingram and Johnson Jr. led a 7-0 Tide run that put Alabama up 51-44 at the 8:18 mark.
This was part of a 20-6 surge that saw Alabama extend its lead to 64-50 with just two minutes left.

The Bulldogs briefly cut the lead to six points late in the contest, but Alabama sealed the contest at the free throw line.


SITE: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Miss.

RECORDS: Alabama 8-5 (1-0 SEC), Mississippi State 9-4 (0-1 SEC)

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Ingram and Johnson Jr. led the Tide offensively with 13 points each, while junior Riley Norris tallied 11. Ingram also led Alabama with nine rebounds. Freshman Braxton Key and senior Jimmie Taylor added nine points each, and Key and Bola Olaniyan contributed six rebounds each.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 31, 2016

Saturday's Chick Fil A Peach Bowl playoff semifinal contest between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington brought together two teams with fairly different offensive approaches as well as a pair of elite teams with smothering defensive units.
But on this day in Atlanta, it was all about the highly-touted Tide defense, Alabama's domination of the field position battle and the huge effort of sophomore tailback Bo Scarbrough as Nick Saban's Crimson Tide team snagged a 24-7 victory over Chris Petersen's stubborn Pac 12 champion Huskies before a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome.
With its 26th straight win overall dating back to the 2015 season, Alabama improved to 14-0, the third time the Tide has reached that victory total under Saban, while the Huskies saw their stellar season end at 12-2.
Most importantly, the win advanced the Crimson Tide to the Jan. 9 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Tampa, Fla. against Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Clemson Tigers, where it will have the opportunity to collect its second consecutive national title and its fifth in the last eight seasons.
The Tide and Tigers will meet for the second straight year in the title game, and the Tide knocked off Swinney's team 45-40 in 2015 to claim its 16th national title. Clemson defeated No. 3 Ohio State 31-0 Saturday in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
The smothering Crimson Tide defense, paced by Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and others, held the Huskies to 194 total yards, including only 44 on the ground, while forcing three turnovers.
Scarbrough, meanwhile, tallied 180 yards on 19 carries to set a new UA bowl game rushing mark while scoring a pair of touchdowns.  He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry on the way to his record-setting day.
"Washington had us a little off balance (in the first half) and we didn't do our responsibilities, but after we got in the flow of the game, I thought we played pretty well on defense," said Saban. "(Scarbrough) has really been playing well for us the past three or four games and we want to play him more and the guy is hard to tackle. He's big and powerful and playing with a lot of confidence right now. He did a great job for us today."

By Stan J. Griffin: December 29, 2016

There has been much discussion, or as University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban would tend to classify it, "outside noise," regarding the legacy of the 2016 Crimson Tide squad, a No. 1-ranked powerhouse that has already rolled to a 13-0 mark, a third consecutive Southeastern Conference title and a third straight trip to the College Football Playoffs.
Some observers are wondering aloud whether this may be the best Alabama team ever, or at least the mightiest one that Saban has coached in Tuscaloosa, as UA seeks to become the first major college team ever to finish with a perfect 15-0 mark.
At the very least, many media types are suggesting that Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama defense may be the Crimson Tide's finest ever stop unit.
All of that hype and hoopla makes for fine water cooler discussion and round table debate, but there is just one small problem with all of this clutter.
The story of this Alabama team is still yet to be completed, and an upcoming one or two-game run in the playoffs will determine if this team may go down as the greatest piece in Saban's Crimson Tide dynasty, or if it will be remembered as a very good team that simply could not finish the job.
In two days we will find out if the Tide can reach the 14-victory plateau for the third time under Saban, but it will not be an easy task as Alabama will face Chris Petersen's No. 4 Washington Huskies in the New Year's Eve Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in one of the playoff semifinals.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in the Georgia Dome, and the game will be televised by ESPN.
Before the Tide left Tuscaloosa for its Christmas break, Saban noted that Petersen's Pac 12 champions (12-1) are extremely well-coached, as well as being very solid in all facets of the game.
"Every time I stand up here, I try to convince everybody what a great team Washington has, and they are a very, very good football team on both sides of the ball and special teams," he said. "They're very well-coached and they've got good schemes, they've got good players, so this is going to be a real tough game for us. This is by far the best team we've played against all year long."

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) will host a series of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) listening sessions across the state this winter. The listening sessions will focus on the history of Alabama’s WMA system, how it is funded, habitat management efforts, future plans and ongoing research. WFF staff will also answer attendees’ questions. 

Although University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban may not rack up a host of Coach of the Year awards when the 2016 college football season is said and done,  there is little doubt that the 10th-year Crimson Tide coach has done one of his best coaching jobs in Tuscaloosa this season, if not his best.

You can tell within the first seven seconds of meeting someone how she feels about herself by the expression on her face and the way she moves her body.  Whether she knows it or not, she’s transmitting messages through gestures and actions. (This goes for gentlemen too, of course).

ATLANTA - The Alabama Crimson Tide football team arrived in Atlanta, Ga., Monday morning to begin game-site preparations at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Head coach Nick Saban met with the media upon arrival at the team hotel. The Crimson Tide broke for meetings in the afternoon before traveling to the Georgia Dome for the first full practice of the week.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 18, 2016

THE SCORE: Clemson 67, Alabama 54, as the Crimson Tide falls back to the .500 mark and misses on its final opportunity to gain a signature non-conference victory for its resume with a loss to the Tigers in the Vulcan City Classic. Offensive struggles were the story of the game for Avery Johnson's team, including several sustained scoring droughts. The Tide led early 6-0, but Clemson scored seven in a row, to grab the lead, and with Alabama up narrowly 9-7, the Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference tallied 15 points in a row to go up 22-9.

Clemson went up by 17 at 31-14 at the 2:54 mark of the first half, and despite a closing 5-0 Alabama spurt led 31-19 at the intermission.

The Tigers kept a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half, leading 43-25 at the 13:27 mark. UA cut the Tiger lead to nine points briefly late in the contest, but never got any closer.

SITE: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, AL

RECORDS: Alabama 5-5, Clemson 8-2

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Sophomore Avery Johnson Jr. had a nice effort to lead the Crimson Tide with a career-high 17 points. Sophomore Donta Hall led the Crimson Tide with seven boards. Senior Shannon Hale added eight points, but on 2 for 7 shooting.

GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Tigers 37-32. Alabama went to the free throw line 25 times compared to 14 for the Tigers. The Tide converted 19 of those free throw attempts.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 16, 2016

It did not take University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban long to find a replacement for outgoing Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who recently announced he would be leaving Tuscaloosa after the upcoming College Football Playoffs to take the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic University.
And it is a notable hire from within for Saban, and one that should keep the UA offense rolling without missing a beat beginning in the 2017 season.
Saban announced the hiring of Steve Sarkisian on Friday.
He will serve as Alabama's new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“We are pleased to be able to hire an offensive coordinator with the pedigree and experience of Steve Sarkisian,” Saban said in a statement from UA. “He has a tremendous offensive mind and is someone we believe will do a great job of teaching and developing our football team on the offensive side of the ball.
"He has been a great asset to our coaching staff this season and brings a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to his job. Steve will be a phenomenal addition to our coaching staff and someone who can seamlessly transition into the job with a full understanding of how our organization works.”
Sarkisian spent the 2016 season on the Crimson Tide’s staff as an analyst. Prior to that he served as the head coach at the University of Southern California from 2014-15 and the head coach at the University of Washington from 2009-13.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 15, 2016

SCORE: Alabama 78, USC Upstate 61, as the Crimson Tide, coming off consecutive tough road losses to Texas and Oregon, gets back in the win column Thursday night and moves over the .500 mark once again.  The Crimson Tide made 9 of its first 13 shots to burst out to an 18-8 lead, but the visiting Spartans used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 20-19 at the 8:22 mark of the first half.

The Tide, though, answered that run with a 19-6 surge and led 39-26 at the half thanks to shooting nearly 59 percent from the field. At the 17:52 mark of the second half,  Spartan senior center Michael Buchanan, a tremendous force inside for Eddie Payne's squad, picked up his fourth foul and the Tide quickly began to capitalize on his absence. A 7-2 spurt made the Tide lead 51-33, and Alabama led by as many as 23 points in the half before settling for its 17-point margin.

SITE: Coleman Coliseum, Attendance: 9,773

RECORDS: Alabama 5-4, USC Upstate 7-6

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Sophomore forward Donta Hall, making his second start for the Tide, led Avery Johnson's team with 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field, while adding eight boards, two assists and a block. Braxton Key and Corban Collins added 10 points each. Bola Olaniyan, who also got the start, led the Tide with 10 rebounds while Key and Dazon Ingram had five and four assists respectively. Riley Norris added nine points and four boards off the bench.

GOOD NUMBERS: Alabama shot 53.4 percent from the field (31 of 58) for the game after the torrid start. It also outrebounded the Spartans 44-33. Alabama outscored the visitors 48-20 in the paint, 17-6 off turnovers, 16-9 on second chance points, 12-0 in fast break points and 32-21 in points off the bench. The Crimson Tide had 10 players get in the scoring column against the Spartans. Alabama had 16 assists to nine for USC Upstate.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 12, 2016

Photo by Stan J. Griffin

Although it has been over a week since it was officially announced that Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team would be appearing in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl to battle No. 4 Washington in a College Football Playoff semifinal contest, officials from the Peach Bowl and UA made that playoff pairing a formal agreement deal Monday.
During a press conference held in UA's Naylor Stone Media Room, Peach Bowl and Chick Fil A representatives were on hand to officially extend an invitation to the Crimson Tide for the Dec. 31 contest against Chris Petersen's Huskies.  The game is set for a 2 p.m. CT kickoff and will be televised by ESPN. The winner of that game will meet the winner of the other semifinal game between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 9 in the national championship game in Tampa.
UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle and Saban were in attendance at Monday's press conference to represent the Crimson Tide.
Saban said he looks forward to bringing his team back to Atlanta for its playoff clash against the 12-1 Huskies, the champions of the Pac 12.
"It's certainly an honor and a privilege for our team here at the University of Alabama to have the opportunity to be in the College Football Playoff, especially in a first-class venue going back to Atlanta to be a part of the Peach Bowl," he said. "Atlanta's a great host city, and we've certainly enjoyed the opportunity to go four times to the Kickoff Classic. (Chick Fil A President and CEO) Gary (Stokan) and his staff and the Peach Bowl folks do a marvelous job in terms of hosting, and we've had a great experience there in the past, and we're looking forward to having a wonderful experience in the future. Even though this is our first time playing the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl, we certainly feel very confident with the folks that are our host because we've had the experience of being in four of their Kickoff Classics, and that's been very helpful in exposing this program and helping to build this program to what it's become.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 11, 2016

THE SCORE: No. 24 Oregon 65, Alabama 56: The Crimson Tide falls despite a gritty effort against Dana Altman's Ducks on the road. Alabama trailed by 14 points in the first 20 minutes of play before it used a 7-1 run to cut the Oregon lead to 31-23 at the half. With the Tide trailing 53-46 in the second half, sophomore forward Donta Hall led Alabama on an 8-0 run that put UA up 54-53 with just over four minutes left. Oregon, however, countered that run with a game-ending 12-2 surge, and the Ducks tallied the final nine points of the contest.
The Ducks extended their home winning streak to 31 games.

SITE: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.

RECORDS: Alabama 4-4, Oregon 8-2

KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Hall led the Crimson Tide with 14 points, while also adding seven boards, two assists, a steal and a block. Ar'Mond Davis also joined Hall in double-figure scoring with 10 points.

GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide outrebounded the host Ducks 33-27. Alabama had 11 offensive boards to six for Oregon. The Tide opened the second half by making 10 of its first 17 shots (58.8 percent) to whittle the lead down, setting up the dramatic final minutes of the game.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 9, 2016

When Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team squares off in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against Chris Petersen's No. 4 and 12-1 University of Washington squad as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 31, it will mark a rare meeting of the two respective programs.
Although the Crimson Tide and Huskies boast two of the most tradition-rich programs in the history of major college football, Alabama and Washington have actually only clashed on the football field four times.
And bowl matchups were responsible for two of those meetings, with the last battle between the two teams occurring in the 1986 Sun Bowl.
The No. 13 Crimson Tide won that matchup against the No. 12 Huskies, and have won all four meetings between the programs.

The following is a closer look at all four contests between Alabama and Washington:

Jan. 1, 1926: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif., Alabama 20, Washington 19:
Often referred to as the "game that changed the south," but it was also the game in which the Crimson Tide collected the first of the program's 16 national championships. Former Birmingham News columnist Clyde Bolton also termed the 12th Rose Bowl game the "most important game in Southern football history."
Wallace Wade's Alabama team entered the game heavy underdogs to the mighty Huskies although it was undefeated itself.

Washington was favored by two-touchdowns, the same spread of this season's Tide-Huskie Peach Bowl contest, only with the Crimson Tide being favored this time.
Early on the Huskies lived up to that overwhelming favorite status, as Washington blanked the Crimson Tide 12-0 heading into the intermission of the game.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 8, 2016

Seven games into the 2016-2017 season, Avery Johnson's University of Alabama men's basketball team perhaps has not entered that dreaded "must win" category despite a disappointing 4-3 start.
But after it's most recent outing, a 77-68 loss at Texas on Dec. 2 where UA surrendered a 12-point halftime lead with the Longhorns outscoring it 51-30 over the final 20 minutes, it is probably safe to say that the Crimson Tide is at least at an early crossroad of the young season.
And it gets no easier this weekend, as Johnson's team must make the 2,490-mile trip to Eugene, Oregon to battle Dana Altman's No. 24 Oregon Ducks, a team which defeated the Crimson Tide in Birmingham last season 72-68 after also rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit to Alabama.
The two teams will battle Sunday at the Matthew Knight Arena, and the game is set to tipoff at 5 p.m CT. It will be televised by ESPNU.
Oregon brings a 7-2 mark into the contest, having won its last five games after a 2-2 start.
During a media session Thursday, Johnson said the Tide has responded well in practice this week, and said his team has also spent a good bit of time watching video.
"We feel we've improve in some areas, and it would be nice to see when we play against another team how much we've improved," he said. "We've had some good practices, and yesterday we basically had an all-out scrimmage of a full 40-minute game, and everybody that's in the rotation played 30-plus minutes because I was really concerned about our stamina and conditioning coming out of that Texas game. We realize that we have an uphill challenge at Oregon, and they have a pretty significant home winning streak (30 games currently) that we're very well aware of. But they came here and beat us last year, so we'll see if we can go up there and get off to a good start and have a great first half hopefully and a terrific second half and put together a complete game."
Sunday's clash against the Ducks and the Dec. 18 game against Clemson will be the Tide's last two real opportunities to gain a signature non-conference win heading into Southeastern Conference play, considering it has already suffered damaging losses to Dayton, Valparaiso and Texas.
The second-year Tide coach, however, said it is too early for his team to succumb to great distress at the current time.

The Montgomerian is Montgomery, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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