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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. 

By Stan J. Griffin: December 28, 2016

Although Lane Kiffin's days are numbered as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban's University of Alabama football program, he is no doubt hoping to go out with a bang during the No. 1 Crimson Tide's upcoming College Football Playoff run.
The third-year Alabama assistant is set to take on the head coaching role at Florida Atlantic University once the Tide's season is completed, but by all accounts he has done another masterful job in helping guide UA to a 13-0 record and a season-long stay at the No. 1 position heading into Saturday's Peach Bowl against No. 4 Washington.
With another first-year quarterback in true freshman Jalen Hurts, he has orchestrated a Tide offense that has averaged 40 points a game and nearly 400 yards per contest.
On Wednesday, Kiffin, as well as several of the Crimson Tide offensive standouts, addressed the media in Atlanta, and the following is a few samples of some the best quotes from the day:

"It's been an exciting week. I think, as Coach Saban has talked about, it helps us a lot that we've been here before. All of our players, obviously, but the freshmen. So familiar with surroundings too, having been here for the three SEC Championships, as well. So I think that helps our guys. Our guys have worked really hard. We've still got a lot of preparation to go, but it's been a good week and we look forward to playing a really, really good team."

"Well, I think that (Petersen's team does not) give out many big plays. I think that it's very hard to score against them. You see the most points they've given up all year is 27, 28 points in a game. So they play really well. They're coached extremely well and they don't make many mistakes. They're not a -- they don't take a lot of chances, kind of a bend don't break. I think there's a lot of comparison there. I know they spend a lot of time with Pete Carroll and that staff at Seattle. You can see a lot of comparisons in the style of defense they play. They don't do a million things. What they do, they do really, really well."

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 26, 2016

While all of the festivities and fun of Christmas have now passed, fans of both the Alabama and Washington football teams are hoping for a big late holiday gift on New Year's Eve in Atlanta.
That being a Chick Fil A Peach Bowl victory at the Georgia Dome which will send their team to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Jan. 9 in Tampa. And for the Crimson Tide that would mean the opportunity to play for the program's 17th national title, and second straight.
Although Nick Saban's 13-0 Crimson Tide team is currently a heavy favorite over Chris Petersen's 12-1 Huskies, both have compiled impressive seasons on the way to rolling to  Southeastern Conference and Pac 12 titles respectively.

The following is a tale of the tape look at both squads that will be competing in the first CFP semifinal game on Dec. 31:

POINTS PER GAME:  Alabama 40.54, Washington 44.5

POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: Alabama 11.77, Washington 17.2

FIRST DOWNS: Alabama 283, Washington 302

RUSHING YARDAGE: Alabama 3,185, Washington 2,730

RUSHING YARDAGE ALLOWED PER GAME: Alabama 63.4, Washington 123.5

When the summer heat is a thing of the past, Alabama comes alive to celebrate together. Whether you want to enjoy great food, ride a train, or take your dog for a run, you can find a great event to attend in Alabama.

By Stan J. Griffin: December 23, 2016

Do you ever wonder if University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has any legitimate Christmas wishes?
I mean, really, what do you get the man who seems to have it all?
Besides having a wonderful family, financial security for many lifetimes and seemingly tireless energy and great health, he runs one of the most powerful athletic juggernauts that sports fans and journalists have ever been witness to with his University of Alabama football "organization."
It certainly is the gift that seems to keep on giving for Crimson Tide supporters everywhere, and Saban and his Alabama football machine do not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
And obviously that fact does nothing but translate into holiday gloom and doom for those who do not bleed crimson and white.
Although the 65-year-old Saban is in the 10th year of his patented "process" in Tuscaloosa, with his 2016 Crimson Tide football team on the verge of collecting the UA program's 17th national title, its second in a row and fifth such championship in eight years, what he has accomplished in his decade with the Crimson Tide never fails to be less than astounding, or even dumbfounding at times.
The players and coaches may change, as well as offensive philosophies, media scrutiny and exposure and a host of other outside noise items that Saban routinely classifies as “clutter,” but Alabama continues to not only be the gold standard for the sport of college football, but Saban has already established one of the great dynasties in the history of sports in general.
The following are just some of the remarkable accomplishments that immediately come to mind that not only continue to seal Saban’s legacy as perhaps the greatest college coach ever, but also continues to stamp Alabama’s place as perhaps the greatest college football program ever.
As if the legacy left by coaches such as Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas and the iconic Paul W. “Bear” Bryant had not achieved that feat already.
* Alabama is currently on a 25-game winning streak dating back to the 2015 season, which is the longest such streak under Saban, and the third-longest streak in Alabama and SEC history. Of course those streaks belong to the Tide as well at 28 games on two different occasions and most recently under former Tide coach Gene Stallings.

THE SCORE: Alabama 67, Arkansas State 52: The Crimson Tide survived a challenge from the gritty Red Wolves in the Rocket City Classic to get over the .500 mark once again. The Tide was sloppy with turnovers in the early going, and with Alabama holding a slim 11-9 lead following a trey from Ar'Mond Davis, the Red Wolves used a 7-0 lead to grab the 16-11 advantage. But with the Tide down 18-13, Shannon Hale led an 8-0 UA run to put Avery Johnson's team up 21-18. At halftime the Tide was up 31-26. 

By Stan J. Griffin: December 21, 2016

There are still 10 days until Nick Saban's No. 1 and 13-0 University of Alabama football team clashes with No. 4 and 12-1 Washington in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in a semifinal game of the College Football Playoffs.
And with the holiday break for his Crimson Tide team also upcoming, Saban said Wednesday that his team has been getting in as much quality work toward prepping for Chris Petersen's Huskies as possible before it departs for Christmas, and with results that have been somewhat mixed thus far.
"Practice has gone fairly well," he said. "Today the players had really good intensity and mental focus, and for the most part we have done a pretty good job in that regard. (Tuesday) was a little bit sloppy, but I think when you practice seven days in a row, and the reason we do that is we want to condense the time that the players are here so they have a little more time off to be at home to spend with their families before Christmas as well as maybe the time over break.
"They kind of get that, they kind of understand that and they understand why we do what we do and they've responded very well. We have a high standard of expectation here for how we want to do things to try to be the best that we can be and every player's got to understand that, and understand that your destiny and your future lies in what you're willing to put into it and the choices and decisions you're willing to make moving forward from this time on. Some people can do that and some people can't, and it will be interesting to see how our guys do it and how we can get them to do it. I think that will be a real key to how well we play in the game against a very good team. 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. 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."
He added that there were no injury issues to report from Wednesday as everyone participated in practice.

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.

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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