Holiday basketball is ready for its second run of the 2017 prep season.
Tournaments will involve our local teams before and after Christmas.
Three varsity squads will get to enjoy taking to Tom Drake Coliseum at Wallace State Community College for the Buffalo Wild Wings Christmas Challenge.
Two other schools get together in the St. Bernard Christmas Tournament with it being Cullman County and Blount County to go for the grand prize in both divisions.
Hanceville's Lady Bulldogs begin the week before Christmas participating in the Susan Moore Invitational. Cullman's Lady Bearcats close out the week in the Hoover area, as a three-day visitor of the Spain Park Pre-Christmas Tournament.
In total, five schools covered regularly by Sportspage will hoop it up, holiday style from the 18th through the 23rd.
Then the week Christmas is here, six programs will be playing at tournaments in West Point, Rogersville, Decatur, Morris, Tuscumbia and Grant.
Hoops before and after Christmas are so much different that many years ago.
Playing is more preferred by teams and the coaches than trying to get together in the holiday season and practice. You get more out of facing opponents you don't see often on a regular schedule.
Here is the schedule for tournament games the week of December 18-23:
Buffalo Wild Wings Christmas Challenge at Wallace State CC:
Colbert Co vs. Cleveland (G) 10:00 a.m.
Hanceville vs. Cleveland 11:20 a.m. (Game 1)
Sparkman vs. Tuscaloosa Co (G) 12:40 p.m.
Appalachian vs. Whitesburg Christian 2:00 p.m. (Game 2)
Winston Co vs. Alabama Christian 3:20 p.m. (Game 3)
Coosa Christian vs. Tanner 4:40 p.m. (Game 4)
Fairview vs. Mobile Christian 6:00 p.m. (Game 5)
Ramsay vs. Demopolis 7:20 p.m. (Game 6)
Cullman vs. Hayden 8:40 p.m. (Game 7)
Varsity games in ( )
Mortimer Jordan vs. Colbert Co (G) 11:00 a.m.
Loser of Game 2 vs. loser Game 3 12:20 p.m.
Loser of Game 4 vs. loser Game 5 1:40 p.m.
Loser of Game 6 vs. loser Game 7 3:00 p.m.
Winner of Game 2 vs. winner Game 3 4:20 p.m.
Winner of Game 4 vs. winner Game 5 5:40 p.m.
Winner of Game 6 vs. winner Game 7 7:00 p.m.
St. Bernard Christmas Tournament:
Southeastern vs. Cleveland (G) 1:00 p.m.
Southeastern vs. J.B. Pennington 2:15 p.m.
St. Bernard vs. Vinemont (G) 3:30 p.m.
St. Bernard vs. Vinemont 4:45 p.m.
3rd place game (G) 1:00 p.m.
3rd place game 2:15 p.m.
Championship game 3:30 p.m.
Championship game 4:45 p.m.
Photo of Hanceville PG Brendan Flanigan (2) vs. Holly Pond November 28
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
HANCEVILLE - Victory is a common item for women's basketball at Wallace State Community College.
Since 1990, the Lady Lions have become a superior program in the Alabama Community College in regards of winning seasons, division titles, deep runs into the conference tournament and being difficult to be defeated when they play at the very beautiful Tom Drake Coliseum on campus.
Former Lady Lion point guard Jessica Andrews McBrayer is handling the squad after current coach Ron Burdette took a leave of absence prior to the start of fall practice.
This was nothing new for McBrayer. She ran the show for much of the second half of th3 2016-17 season when Burdette was dealing with health issues.
After an 83-72 victory over Columbia State on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Lions stand 8-3 overall and have won four games on the Coliseum floor since the previous Saturday.
The November schedule had them playing in the state of Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi, plus one stop in Alabama at Wallace Community College Selma.
Wallace State got out of November 4-3, but had a two-game losing streak.
Then finally getting to step on the home court, things have changed.
Wallace is currently averaging 78.2 points a game at the Coliseum, clipping 83 points on consecutive assignments.
The Lady Lions blend experience and hard working freshmen that gives McBrayer a chance to go deep into the bench, regardless of what the situation is.
Win No. 9 featured a different leader in the scoring column, with it being freshman Miajah Bullock from Anniston High School.
Bullock was inserted in the third quarter and took charge, scoring three consecutive treys that served plenty of value for Wallace State to stay ahead with Columbia making a hard charge.
Another newcomer that is well known to the county, has rose to a higher level in back to games with Tennessee opponents. Former Fairview shooter Jada Golden dropped in 14 on Friday night in an 83-66 triumph over Volunteer State, then tossed in 11 on Sunday vs. Columbia.
At halftime, Golden was leading the squad with eight points as the offense was balanced and well performing, leading 42-34 at the break.
Two sophomore that impacted in 22 wins last season are playing strong. Forward Joy Sadler from Birmingham ripped the cords for 24 against Vol State while Birminghan native Sydney Powell has been very steady at the point guard position, starting for the Lady Lions.
In the home opener with Chattahoochee Valley December 2, Powell hit come clutch free throws in the final minute to preserve a 75-73 victory.
Sophomores Karlie Hudson of Camden, Tennessee, Gabby Hill of Birmingham, Marquise Cobbs of Mobile, Alexis Osteen of Dresden, Tennessee, Ahziala Wright of Detroit, Michigan have stepped up in assisting the unit in various ways from both sides of the floor.
Freshmen that have earned quality minutes with Golden and Bullock are Presley Higdon from Pisgah, DeMaurea Moore of Tuscaloosa and Channing Gafford of Lauderdale County.
Gafford has been a part of AHSAA state championships at Lauderdale County and also known to play with the famous Wallen triplets, who are now playing at the University of North Alabama.
Higdon got to participate in the Class 3A title game last March for Pisgah vs. Locust Fork. Their background to success is a plus of going from the AHSAA to the NJCAA.
Chemistry is a bond for this team that has been seen by Sportspage in their four games at the Coliseum this month.
McBrayer, getting help from former Cullman and Wallace State standout Morgan Smith has been a reward with the effort putting the Lady Lions second to arch rival Shelton State in victories (8 to 11), by far much better than Chattahoochee's 5-3 overall mark for the best team from the ACCC South.
"The girls are responsive," McBrayer said after the victory Sunday. "They might not do it perfect, but they do it. They are buying in to what we are wanting them to do.
This was a gut check performance for the Lady Lions with three competitive opponents from Tennessee to face them in a span of five days.
McBrayer was very grateful that Friday's game with Volunteer State remained on schedule, even with school closing before noon due to a winter weather advisory for Cullman County.
The team executed its scoring Sunday, with numerous assists that pleased McBrayer and a hard fought effort on the defensive side in the fourth quarter, keeping Columbia State from having many second chance opportunities.
As the Lady Lions prep for the final week of the regular season before Christmas arrives, they were to be rewarded for the hard work, getting Monday off. They also are fully involved in the classroom with this being the final week for fall exams.
With former Lady Lion coach Larry Slater among those attending the game Sunday, he and others applauded the job by McBrayer and the team as another victory was recorded. Slater coached McBrayer at Wallace and will remain fully close to the team after McBrayer recently signed Slater's granddaughter, Keely Nelson, to a scholarship.
Yours truly invites the passionate basketball fan to come December 17 (A Sunday) and see a very spirited, hard working group that enjoys putting on the orange and blue and continue a great condition that spans 27 years.
Yours truly salutes the Wallace State Lady Lions.
Photo 1: Wallace Lady Lions during the national anthem Sunday afternoon.
Photo 2: Channing Gafford (24), DeMaurea Moore (14), Miajah Bullock (21) and Jada Golden (12) line up for an out of bounds play vs. Columbia State.
Photo 3: WSCC assistant coach Morgan Smith in a pregame drill with the Lady Lions.
Photo 4: Wallace State coach Jessica McBrayer patrols the sideline in Sunday's win.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
Due to a winter weather advisory for Cullman County, extracurricular activities in the county school system for Friday night have been cancelled.
The following basketball games will not be played this evening:
Carbon Hill at Hanceville
Holly Pond at J.B. Pennington (rescheduled for Monday)
Vinemont at Oakman
Good Hope at Dora
Cold Springs at Winston County
Fairview at Curry
West Point at Hayden
Albertville at Cullman (rescheduled for Saturday)
Volunteer State at Wallace State is still scheduled for tonight at Tom Drake Coliseum
Lady Lions play at 5:30, Lions game at 7:30.
AHSAA Super 7 football championships still on at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Photo of Vinemont coach Todd Johnson (in red) and Hanceville coach Daniel Wakefield during game December 5 in Vinemont.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton.
No one has been able to defeat the West Point Lady Warriors. Through 10 games, a perfect record, coming off a 48-28 victory Tuesday at Cold Springs.
Leading 16-11 at halftime, Richie Penn's Lady Warriors extended the lead to 35-19 after the third quarter and held the Lady Eagles in check in the final 8:00 to win by 20 at a difficult venue for a road team to be victorious:
Trying to stay undefeated will be a challenge every time the Lady Warriors step on to the hardwood for upcoming assignments.
Friday, West Point heads to Hayden for 5A, Area 12 play, get Hartselle to visit Jim Boyd Gym on Monday, go to Cullman Tuesday and have an area game at Fairview next Friday.
Parity in county varsity basketball:
Plenty of parity currently in county basketball for the varsity division. After Tuesday night's results, four teams have just one loss in county play. The teams will be seeded for the Cullman County Tournament on January 10.
Each team plays one another once prior to the pairings to determine who is seeded 1st through 7th.
Here is how the front runners stand with county record and county games left to play:
Fairview: 4-1, Vs. Cold Springs Dec. 12
Holly Pond: 3-1, Vs. Vinemont Dec. 12, at Good Hope Dec. 14
Good Hope: 3-1, Vs. Holly Pond Dec. 14, Vs. Hanceville Jan. 9.
West Point: 3-1, Vs. Fairview Dec. 15, Vs, Vinemont Jan. 8
Losing streak will end for one team:
Vinemont Lady Eagles invade the Fazi-Richard Athletic Center Thursday for a regular season game with St. Bernard. The Lady Eagles are 0-6 on the season with the Lady Saints 1-5, losing five straight after a season opening win over Athens Bible.
The Eagles will try and slow down the Saints. St. Bernard has back to back wins over Winston County and Addison, with Vinemont 0-6 on the season.
Tip time is set for 5:30 p.m. with the varsity girls game, then the Eagles and Saints take to the floor.
First place at stake in 3A, Area 12 play:
First place will be up for grabs Friday in 3A, Area 12 basketball between Carbon Hill and Hanceville at Lane Horton Gym.
Carbon Hill's teams are 1-0 in the area while the Hanceville squads have a 2-0 record, by defeating Oakman last Friday and one-sided wins Tuesday night in Vinemont.
Both area games will be carried live on WKUL-FM, with the girls to tip around 6:15 p.m. The Hanceville girls have won 5 of their last 6 games coming in with the Bulldogs on a 2-game winning streak and 4-2 in games played at Lane Horton Gym.
Plenty of road travel for county teams Friday:
Only Hanceville and Cullman will have home assignments on Friday. Everybody else goes outside the county for area games:
Cold Springs at Winston County, Fairview at Hayden, Good Hope at Dora, Holly Pond at J.B. Pennington, Vinemont at Oakman, West Point at Curry. St. Bernard is the only local team that will December 8 off.
The county will have teams playing in Winston County, Blount County (2) and Walker County (3).
Cullman hosts Albertville, while Hanceville entertains Carbon Hill Friday evening.
Photo 1: West Point girls vs. Jasper Nov. 27. West Point won 59-35.
Photo 2: Good Hope vs. Cold Springs Nov. 30. Raiders won 59-35.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
It's never going to be easy when you have selection committees in collegiate athletics to pick and choose a playoff formula.
In conclusion, someone is going to be left out in the cold every time.
Ohio State University is experiencing that moment, with it very painful because Alabama is in the final slot of the four-team college football playoff.
Ohio State's narrow 27-21 win over previously undefeated Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship Saturday was not enough in the formula by the CFP committee to take a one-loss Alabama team, that didn't win a division title or play in the SEC championship, sending them right to the Sugar Bowl to face No. 1 seed and defending national champion Clemson.
Losing hurts. When you get thumped 55-31 as OSU did in November to an Iowa team that was 4-5 in the conference and 7-5 for the season, the Buckeyes can only blame themselves for the beat down.
Alabama felt like that a week before in suffering a 26-14 setback to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, propelling the Tigers to Atlanta for the SEC title and the Crimson Tide to watch the championship on television.
Like I said earlier today on twitter, the selection process is not full proof, it's fool proof.
The college football playoff is a fashion show at best.
What makes it easy is when teams that are expected to win, do so and all the committee has to do on selection Sunday, just write in their name and hand it to the chairman.
But you had this to happen after Thanksgiving weekend. Alabama got dropped to fifth, giving them life support, knowing anything was possible on conference championship weekend.
Had Wisconsin followed the course, this story would not be appearing, because everything would have fell into place by the CFP group.
Wisconsin was questioned all year as a soft, undefeated squad. Only Northwestern was some challenge in the Big Ten West with the Badgers, but a distant challenge.
The drama of the last berth into the playoff is the fact it's Alabama vs. Ohio State, Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer, the SEC vs. the Big Ten.
The SEC is the first to have two qualifiers for the playoff since it began back in 2014 with Georgia the outright champion and Alabama getting enough love from the committee.
Ohio State remembers last year when they got invited as a non-champion of the Big Ten over Penn State, then was torn apart in the playoff game to Clemson 31-0.
We know that Ohio State, plus Southern California, who won the Pac 12, with two losses like the Buckeyes are foaming at the mouth and will for the rest of the college football season.
Let's get this straight. Going to an eight-team playoff is not the total answer, because something will pop up when it's least expected.
The CFP is to put the best four teams on the field for two semifinal games, then a national championship a week later.
There is no doubt the Sugar Bowl where Alabama and Clemson will play January 1st, will be sold out, if not already.
I do wonder how many people will head West to see Oklahoma and Georgia battle in the Rose Bowl. This will be special to the teams, with the Sooners and Bulldogs not normal visitors to Pasadena.
The Rose Bowl is a normal Big Ten vs. Pac 12 encounter. That is a memory for the present time.
The stadium seats 92,000 plus. I figure there will be empty seats, unless fans in the West are very curious to see a playoff game in the late afternoon come alive with it the SEC playing the Big 12.
Remember, one of these teams will move on to the national championship game one week afterwards in Atlanta. Will be interesting to see how much budgeting will come from fans for Oklahoma and Georgia in heading to the Rose Bowl, then to the title game.
My final thoughts is Alabama was given plenty of support for being in the Top two throughout the month when the rankings would be released to the public via ESPN on Tuesday nights.
Ohio State can't escape the fact they were beaten down in a conference road game to a team that compiled a .444 winning percentage in league play.
It doesn't reduce the intense feeling between Saban and Meyer, the two schools and the two conferences.
The status is similar to a prime time soap from the 1980s, Dynasty. You had the Carringtons and the Colbys. Neither gave an inch to the other, with this the very same for Power 5 conference college football.
In case this gets to overbearing for the next several weeks prior to playoff game time, the best advice is to take two Tylenol and call the doctor right away.
Photo of Georgia celebrating the SEC title Saturday, courtesy of USA Today.
MONTGOMERY - Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has announced reclassification for 2018-20.
These are where the schools covered by Sportspage will be placed per sport from Fall 2018 to Spring 2020.
Cold Springs Eagles:
Football: 2A, R 5 with Aliceville, Southeastern, Sumiton Christian, Sulligent, Tarrant, Winston Co.
Basketball: 2A, A 12 with Cleveland, West End, Southeastern.
Volleyball: 2A, A 12 with Cleveland, West End, Southeastern.
Baseball: 2A, A 11 with Cleveland, West End, Southeastern.
Softball: 2A, A 11 with Sulligent, Sumiton Christian.
Track: 2A, S 3
Cross Country: 2A, S 3
Golf: 2A, S 3.
Football: 6A, R 7 with Hartselle, Decatur, Athens, Muscle Shoals, Columbia.
Basketball: 6A, A 14 with Hartselle, Decatur.
Volleyball: 6A, A 14 with Hartselle, Decatur.
Baseball: 6A, A 14 with Hartselle, Decatur.
Softball: 6A, A 14 with Hartselle, Decatur.
Soccer: 6A, A 14 with Hartselle, Decatur.
Track: 6A, S 4
Cross Country: 6A, S 5
Bowling: 1A/7A, A 14 with St. Bernard, West Point, East Limestone, Hartselle, Lindsay Lane, Priceville.
Swimming/Diving: 6A, S 3.
Indoor Track: 6A, S 1.
Golf: 6A, S 4.
Football: 4A, R 7 with DAR, North Jackson, Randolph, Priceville, St. John Paul, West Morgan.
Basketball: 4A, A 12 with Good Hope, Ashville, Oneonta.
Volleyball: 4A, A 12 with Good Hope, Ashville, Oneonta.
Baseball: 4A, A 12 with Good Hope, Ashville, Oneonta.
Softball: 4A, A 12 with Good Hope, Ashville, Oneonta
Soccer: 4A/5A, A 13 with Arab, Brewer, Guntersville.
Track: 4A, S 3
Cross Country: 4A, S 3.
Indoor Track: 4A, S 1.
Golf: 4A, S 3.
Good Hope Raiders:
Football: 4A, R 5 with Fayette Co, Cordova, Curry, Haleyville, Northside, Oak Grove.
Basketball: 4A, A 12 with Fairview, Oneonta, Ashville.
Volleyball: 4A, A 12 with Fairview, Oneonta, Ashville.
Baseball: 4A, A 12 with Fairview, Oneonta, Ashville.
Softball: 4A, A 12 with Fairview, Oneonta, Ashville.
Track: 4A, S 3
Cross Country: 4A, S 2
Indoor Track: 4A, S 1.
Golf: 4A, S 3.
Football: 3A, R 5 with Holly Pond, Vinemont, Midfield, Fultondale, Locust Fork, J.B. Pennington.
Basketball: 3A, A 12 with Glencoe, J.B. Pennington, Susan Moore.
Volleyball: 3A, A 12 with Susan Moore, J.B. Pennington.
Baseball: 3A, A 11 with Locust Fork, Vinemont.
Softball: 3A, A 12 with Glencoe, Susan Moore, J.B. Pennington.
Track: 3A, S 4.
Cross Country: 3A, S 3.
Golf: 3A, S 4.
Holly Pond Broncos:
Football: 3A, R 5 with Hanceville, Vinemont, Midfield, Fultondale, Locust Fork, J.B. Pennington.
Basketball: 3A, A 13 with Vinemont, Brindlee Mountain, New Hope.
Volleyball: 3A, A 13 with Vinemont, East Lawrence.
Baseball: 3A, A 12 with Susan Moore, J.B. Pennington, Glencoe.
Softball: 3A, A 13 with Vinemont, New Hope, Brindlee Mountain.
Track: 3A, S 4
Cross Country: 3A, S 3.
Indoor Track: 1A/3A, S 1.
Golf: 3A, S 4.
St. Bernard Saints:
Basketball: 1A, A 13 with Decatur Heritage, Falkville, Lynn, Meek.
Volleyball 1A, A 13 with R.A. Hubbard, Athens Bible, Falkville.
Baseball: 1A, A 14 with Lindsay Lane, Falkville, Athens Bible.
Soccer: 1A, R 8 with Athens Bible, Clements, Mars Hill, Tanner.
Track: 1A/2A, S 4.
Cross Country: 3A, S 3.
Bowling: 1A/7A, A 14 with Cullman, West Point, East Limestone, Hartselle, Lindsay Lane, Priceville.
Indoor Track: 1A/3A, S. 1.
Football: 3A, R 5 with Hanceville, Holly Pond, Fultondale, Midfield, Locust Fork, J.B. Pennington.
Basketball: 3A, A 13 with Holly Pond, Brindlee Mountain, New Hope.
Volleyball: 3A, A 13 with Holly Pond, East Lawrence.
Baseball: 3A, A 11 with Hanceville, Locust Fork.
Softball: 3A, A 13 with Holly Pond, Brindlee Mountain, New Hope.
Track: 3A, S 4.
Cross Country: 3A, S 3.
Indoor Track: 1A/3A, S 1.
West Point Warriors:
Football: 5A, R 7 with Corner, Hayden, Dora, Jasper, Lawrence Co, Hamilton, Russellville.
Basketball: 5A, A 14 with Hamilton, Lawrence Co, Russellville.
Volleyball: 5A, A 14 with Hamilton, Lawrence Co, Russellville.
Baseball: 5A, A 14 with Hamilton, Lawrence Co, Russellville.
Softball: 5A, A 14 with Hamilton, Lawrence Co, Russellville.
Soccer: 4A/5A, A 14 with Danville, Haleyville, West Morgan.
Track: 5A, S 4.
Cross Country: 5A, S 4.
Bowling: 1A/7A, A 14 with Cullman, St. Bernard, Hartselle, East Limestone, Lindsay Lane, Priceville.
Golf: 5A, S 4.
Football: 2A, R 7 with Colbert Co, Hatton, Red Bay, Sheffield, Tanner, Tharptown.
Basketball: 2A, A 13 with Red Bay, Sulligent, Winston Co.
Volleyball: 2A, A 13 with Winston Co, Sulligent, Tharptown.
Baseball: 2A, A 12 with Sulligent, Winston Co.
Softball: 2A, A 14 with Tanner, Hatton, Winston Co.
Track: 2A, S 3.
Cross Country: 2A, S 3.
No one can say SEC football is boring. Because, it's not.
It does have a path live the daily TV soaps of One Live to Live, Days of Our Lives, As the World Turns and Search for Tomorrow.
You can add the Young and the Restless to this as well.
It began on Thanksgiving night with Ole Miss upsetting Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. On Friday, Missouri capped off a strong finish in the late season to edge Arkansas with Bret Bielema being fired after the game as Arkansas bottomed out in 2017 at 4-8.
Saturday, the headline was Auburn's 26-14 beatdown of former No. 1 Alabama, Tennessee going 0-8 in the SEC by getting embarrassed in Knoxville to Vanderbilt 42-24.
Then to think Sunday would be a day of relaxation, Florida gets Dan Mullen from Mississippi State, Tennessee reconsiders of hiring Ohio State OC Greg Schiano, Kevin Sumlin is dismissed at Texas A&M and Alabama is pleading to those who will listen, they should be considered for a spot in the college football playoff.
Boredom is never something about the passion and love for SEC football. Auburn University probably doesn't mind of sending a $250,000 check to the conference for violating the access of competition area policy. What that means is many Auburn fans stormed Pat Dye Field right after Alabama was knocked from the ranks of the undefeated.
There is a conference championship game this coming Saturday. How much will be focused on that game, aside from the firings and hires in Gainesville, Fayetteville, Knoxville, College Station?
That doesn't include the situation at Ole Miss with potential NCAA sanctions that could knock them for a loop. After 8:30 p.m. Sunday, information on twitter had Ole Miss to officially name Matt Luke its permanent head coach with a news conference scheduled Monday morning in Oxford.
Dan Mullen was a name that was mentioned in possibly getting the Florida job, but it floated under the radar when reports had it that the school was going to hire former Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly decided to stay out West, taking the offer for becoming the new coach at UCLA. That seems to fit him better than being in the SEC.
Schiano has denied knowing anything in regards to the Sandusky case for child abuse. He was an assistant coach at the time the incident became public that led to legendary coach Joe Paterno stepping down.
Social media convinced Tennessee to take away the offer and possibly start from scratch. The Vols went three steps back for how the fan base felt of this potential hire.
Mullen, being a former OC when Urban Meyer handled Florida with a talented QB named Tim Tebow. The Gators won two SEC championships while Mullen worked under Meyer. He has been at MSU since 2009, leading the Bulldogs to 69 wins against 46 losses and a 5-3 record in bowl games.
Florida is a school that thrives on offensive play, from Steve Spurrier to Meyer, but never got it completely under Jim McElwain.
One reason for the hire of Mullen, is the current A.D. at Florida, Scott Stricklin, is formerly of Mississippi State.
Stricklin and others made a big time push to acquire a man that knows the SEC like the back of his hand.
Now comes the question, who is going to be hired at Arkansas, Texas A&M and Tennessee? There should be no other surprises in the beginning of championship game week from the brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Also, the concern of Kerryon Johnson's health for Auburn in the championship game. Johnson has a bad shoulder. If he is not available, Auburn's chances to beat Georgia once again are slim at the best.
Kirby Smart, a defensive genius for Georgia, will not let Jarrett Stidham and Auburn have their way as they did on November 11 inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
To me, Alabama is alive for a playoff berth, but barely breathing. So much will have to unravel for the Tide to be considered of getting one of the selections, with the possibility of a conference champion being left out.
I see it like this. The SEC champion is in, the ACC champion should be in, Ohio State gets in by beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten.
Alabama could jump over TCU, if the Horned Frogs win the Big 12. But they would have to whip up on Oklahoma that would be bonus points for them of a spot in the Final Four, not a team that is a tradition to the CFP and 11-1 for the season.
In trying to relax for Sunday evening, this stuff is keeping me on my toes. I know it is to many others that are deeply media related in the SEC.
Again, it shows there is nothing boring about the fall in the Southeastern Conference.
Photo of Auburn fans celebrating upset of Alabama, courtesy of USA Today.
BIRMINGHAM - No one really thought UAB's return to football after a two-year absence would be successful at all.
But the Blazers defied the odds, deserving a lot of credit for hard work with the results of being bowl eligible and a respectable second place finish in the West Division of Conference USA.
UAB closed out the regular season Saturday afternoon at Legion Field in defeating UTEP 28-7. UAB is 8-4, 6-2 in C-USA and waiting to see where they will be going in the bowl season.
Bill Clark's Blazers set a record for wins in a single year since becoming a part of FBS football back in 1996. The Blazers also compiled a perfect regular season record of 6-0 playing at the ole lady on Graymont Avenue.
Hard work shows how a team can be brought back to life and for it to reward the university and the Birmingham area. They are Birmingham's team, now that Alabama and Auburn no longer play the Iron Bowl inside Legion Field.
UAB has been an attention item to Conference USA all season, getting headlines as often as Lane Kiffin has in his first season at Florida Atlantic, after recently working as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama.
Conference USA has bowl tie-ins with the New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Boca Raton Bowl, Gasprilla Bowl, Bahamas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl.
The conference can send teams to the Independence Bowl and Frisco Bowl if the SEC and ACC can not provide a representative.
Going into Saturday, C-USA had eight bowl eligible teams with Florida Atlantic and North Texas to participate in the league championship next week. FAU is the champion of the East with North Texas a game better than UAB in the West.
A local connection will look forward of playing in a bowl game for UAB.
He is former Hanceville and Cullman athlete Brontae Harris.
Harris came to UAB after playing basketball for one year at Alabama A&M University. He is listed on the roster as a red-shirt freshman.
Harris plays the cornerback position. He made an impact in a 52-21 win over Rice on November 4 when he returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown.
Harris is the third Blazer to accomplish the pick six task this season.
Harris was involved in five defensive series on the afternoon. He threw a block on an interception return that set up the Blazers' first touchdown in the game in the second quarter.
He played on the final snap, covering his receiver tight with the pass being picked off in the end zone to preserve a 14-7 UAB halftime cushion.
Harris broke up a pass in the third quarter that forced UTEP to give up the ball with the Blazers turning a touchdown lead into a 28-7 advantage, scoring twice in the stanza.
Quarterback A.J. Erdley tied a school record for rushing TDs when he scored from 10 yards out in the third. That was No. 13 on the season, joining Jordan Howard and Darrin Reeves as record setters.
Erdley is a balanced player. He threw for two touchdowns with Collin Lisa catching one for 30 yards and Logan Scott taking in an 11-yard hookup.
Erdley has more rushing TDs to move past well-known Blazer Joe Webb who accounted for 12 in 2009.
For Harris, he had a season best six tackles two weeks ago when the Blazers won at Texas San Antonio 24-19.
Harris and his UAB teammates experienced the opportunity of playing at an SEC school last week when they invaded the Swamp to meet a Florida team that has gone through a season of headaches. Florida posted a 36-7 win to prevent more embarrassment to a once superior club in the highly regarded SEC.
Nothing but positive has surrounded UAB football in 2017. This will serve well into the future in regards of recruiting, improving the fan base.
UAB has led C-USA in attendance all season with an average of over 28,000. Plenty of comments have been made with UAB playing at Legion Field, not having an on campus stadium.
The Blazers have overcome that obstacle among so many others.
They are a football team that is moving forward.
On Saturday, the Blazers rewarded those who stood behind them and will get to be rewarded for a bowl game coming up in December.
Sportspage spent four days following two high school girls basketball tournaments, the Encore Classic at Hartselle and the West Point Thanksgiving Classic.
Plenty of good talent was on display at both events as 16 teams competed in the three-day classic at Hartselle and three good days of girls ' hoops inside West Point's Jim Boyd Gymnasium. Their classic consisted of eight playing in the varsity division.
West Point came out with a 4-0 record, along with Florence in its classic, closing out on Wednesday with back to back games of scoring at least 80 points.
In Hartselle, Brewer was the 2017 champion, ending Athens' run of being the best in this classic. Brewer edged Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 66-64 in the finals after the Lady Patriots stopped Athens 43-37 earlier on Wednesday in the semis.
Fairview, who had reached the championship the previous two seasons, finished sixth, splitting four games. The Lady Aggies got to the 5th place contest by blasting Midfield 69-43, but fell to Danville Wednesday evening 46-43.
Cullman came home 2-2 for the tournament, falling to Colbert County in the consolation bracket final 66-64. The Lady Bearcats lost their opener to Hillcrest, then knocked off Red Bay and Hanceville by huge margins to get a shot at playing a good Colbert County squad that began Wednesday with a victory over Good Hope.
At the West Point Classic, Cold Springs experienced victory and defeat. The Lady Eagles fell to Phil Campbell Monday, then returned to winning ways by whipping Guntersville 65-40 and Lawrence County 62-39.
A chance to go 3-1 was denied in a 47-43 loss Wednesday evening to West Morgan. Tammy West's unit dropped two games by a combined margin of 12 points, with both setbacks going to the wire.
Sportspage is recognizing a dandy dozen from the two tournaments in seeing 15 games in Hartselle and 11 games from West Point that began last weekend.
Sportspage Dandy Dozen from the West Point Girls Thanksgiving Classic:
Miriam Oldacre - West Point
Camryn Crider - Cold Springs
Mackenzie Carter - West Point
Toni West - Cold Springs
Jalexis Russell - Florence
Abby Davis - Phil Campbell
Heather Thompson - Oakman
Lindsay Goodwin - West Morgan
Darby Elliott - Phil Campbell
Sadie Thompson - Lawrence County
Teriauna Young - West Morgan
Timberly Thompson - Florence
Sportspage Dandy Dozen from the Encore Girls Classic at Hartselle:
McCarley Northway - Brewer
Alexis Woods - Athens
Taylor Yeager - Fairview
Anna Grace Murphy - Cullman
Kelly Pickett - Hanceville
Savanna Derrick - Good Hope
Moriah Taylor - Hartselle
Jolee Cole - Danville
Cierra Cunningham - Hillcrest
Chelsea Leach - Colbert County
Taylor Underwood - Midfield
Nahriyah Timmons - Tanner
Sportspage team of the week spotlight:
From West Point Classic - West Point. Lady Warriors now 5-0 on the season.
From Encore Classic - Brewer. Lady Patriots 7-1 on the season.
Photo 1: Miriam Oldacre (10), Mackenzie Carter (23) of West Point.
Photo 2: Hanceville PG Kelly Pickett (23) vs. Danville.
Photo 3: Cold Springs G Camryn Crider inbounds ball next to an official.
Photo 4: Taylor Yeager of Fairview throws the ball in game vs. Brewer.
Photo 5: Anna Grace Murphy of Cullman drives baseline in win over Red Bay.
Photo 6: Good Hope PG Savanna Derrick moves it up the floor against Decatur.
Sportspage photos from Encore Classic & West Point Classic by Johnny Thornton.
Being healthy in the playoffs can provide a team the opportunity to move on from one round to the next.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) football postseason is brutal. Five grueling weeks, dealing with distant trips, changes in the weather and competition you may not know very much of.
At the present time, the Addison Bulldogs look very healthy. A team that was banged up in late September, resulting in back to back losses to Lynn (21-18) and Vinemont (28-22) can be forgotten.
Sportspage got to see the Bulldogs on the gridiron for the first time Friday night. They performed very well in Marion County, running away from Hackleburg 41-16, thanks to four second half touchdowns on four possessions.
It was an evening in which road teams controlled the status for round two of the playoffs.
In the North Region in 1A, Addison was joined by South Lamar and Cherokee as road victors. Cherokee took care of one of Addison's rivals from Winston County, romping over the previous undefeated Lynn Bears 35-14.
Two road wins were recorded by Sulligent and Lamar County in 2A, Sylvania, Randolph County and Colbert Heights in 3A, Wenonah and Briarwood Christian in 5A, Austin and Clay Chalkville in 6A and Hoover in 7A.
That turns out to be a total of 13 winners in 26 games as road teams in the North from the second week of the playoff schedule. That's getting the job done.
Bus rides were enjoyable for teams such as Sulligent, Lamar County, Cherokee, South Lamar, Colbert Heights in traveling more than two hours to get to their respective stadium.
Three teams from the North region saw undefeated seasons end in the round of 16. They were Lynn, Rogers and Hewitt-Trussville.
Hackleburg, West Morgan, Wilson, Mae Jemison and Homewood were 10-1. Now they conclude the 2017 schedule with a second defeat, especially for Hackleburg, West Morgan and Homewood getting defeated on the home turf.
Addison is on the road for the second straight week, playing at South Lamar Friday in the quarterfinal round.
This will be the Bulldogs' first ever venture into the town of Millport in Lamar County. Addison lost to South Lamar 39-0 in the 2000 playoffs, the only meeting between the two programs.
Addison is 1-5 all time vs. the Lamar County school system. The Bulldogs are 1-2 against Sulligent, 0-2 vs. Lamar County and 0-1 with South Lamar.
Lamar County will be very active for the quarterfinal round with three games going on the day after Thanksgiving inside its territory. Beside Addison traveling to South Lamar, Sulligent host defending 2A state champion Fyffe, while Lamar County gets undefeated Lanett to visit the town of Vernon.
Very little playoff football remains in the Tennessee Valley. Undefeated Austin gets Pinson Valley to visit Ogle Stadium in Decatur next week in 6A, Colbert Heights in the Lauderdale County entertains Piedmont, Cherokee will have Pickens County to come into the Northwest corner of the state.
For Addison, it marks the second straight year they are playing on the day after Thanksgiving and on the road once more.
In 2016, the undefeated Bulldogs were eliminated by Pickens County 23-6.
Now comes the challenge for David Smothers' Bulldogs, with a six-game winning streak and playing well and hard on both ends of the ball, to face a team that has less than 30 players on its roster and is playing like a ball club that is an upstart and dangerous.
You never know what is going to transpire from one playoff weekend to the next in the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
We will continue to follow it through the Addison Bulldogs.
Millport awaits Sportspage and WKUL Radio next Friday.
Sportspage photo of Addison-Hackleburg game by Johnny Thornton.