March Madness is upon us…Here are my Final Four and National Title Picks

March Madness is the greatest event in sports in my opinion. Who doesn’t love this time of year? Brackets being filled out, only later to be busted because of the inevitable upset that nobody saw coming. It’s win or go home, so everyone is giving it everything they have. That small school has a chance to make a name for itself on a national stage against the big time Blue Blood program. Buzzer beaters. People storming the court. A lot of people that fill out brackets hardly even keep up with college basketball, but they want to be involved. Multiple games are on just about every day after the tournament starts, and who can complain about that. It’s just fun. It differs from college football in the fact that it is more about people earning their way than computers and polls that people have never heard of, and everyone has a chance.

If you don’t have the strength of schedule or the wins, just go out and win your conference tournament and you will earn your way in guaranteed. There are so many iconic moments that I won’t even begin to go over them. I will reveal my final four pics and my championship game winner pick since you stopped by. Even though there will always be favorites, there is hardly ever a clear cut winner, and when there is, that team doesn’t win a lot of times. One bad shooting night can doom you. You never know what is going to happen, and that is part of what makes it so great. The suspense is killing you isn’t it? Okay, okay, here we go:

EAST REGION: #2 Seed Duke Blue Devils

I don’t make this pick just because I am a longtime Duke fan (Let’s Go Duke!), but because the talent is too real, and the team is gelling at exactly the right time. They are the first team to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament by winning 4 games in 4 days. They started the season with big hype because of the players they had returning to go along with a sick recruiting class coming in. Harry Giles was the number one ranked recruit, but he was injured so he couldn’t play to begin the season. Jayson Tatum missed games. Luke Kennard emerged big time and has been the team’s best player all year. Amile Jefferson is back anchoring the middle in a big time way like always. Grayson Allen has had an up and down season, and during the regular season he did have his moments (Like dropping 25 on UNC at Cameron), but during the ACC tournament the real Grayson Allen showed up and decided to stay, and that’s a big reason why they won the conference tournament. They can’t win a title without him. Matt Jones has struggled shooting lately, but he hit a big shot against Notre Dame and is always reliable defensively. Kennard is still being Kennard, which means he shows why he is ALL-ACC every night. Tatum is playing a great all- around game every night and is virtually unguardable. Giles is getting better and is able to stay on the floor for extended minutes now. As much as the media likes to say Duke doesn’t have a point guard, I think Frank Jackson is a pretty good one and has been all season. If they can win 4 games in 4 days, what is to stop them from winning six more and taking home a National Title?

West Region: #2 Seed Arizona Wildcats

The Pac-12 will be represented by Zona. They are a number 2 seed for a reason. They are for real, and they are Pac-12 champions. In a conference with other studs in Oregon and UCLA, Arizona took the tournament championship. Does that mean that they will advance farther in the NCAA tournament? No. I think they will though, because of the matchups, and because they are good enough to go all the way. Allonzo Trier leads the way. The sophomore and future pro missed games earlier in the season because of an NCAA violation, but he already had a season under his belt so he didn’t need much time to catch up. It has showed in his play, because he came back balling out. Lauri Markkanen is a projected lottery pick, and is a matchup nightmare. The 7ft freshman uses his shooting ability to stretch the floor, and he averages 7.1 rebounds per game to go along with 15.6 points, so he doesn’t forget that he is a big man, and it hurts opponents. Freshman Rawle Alkins is a 6 ft 5, 220 pound freight train, and he can score. They have veteran Parker Jackson-Cartwright at pg and freshman Kobi Simmons for depth. Sophomore 6-11 center Chance Comanche has been solid inside along with 7 ft junior Dusan Ristic. The cupboard isn’t bare in Tucson. It’s a good mix of youth and experience. Expect Sean Miller to ride that mix to the Final Four.


Midwest Region: #1 Seed Kansas Jayhawks

Having talent in Lawrence is nothing new to Bill Self, and neither is winning. It is almost a given that they will win the Big 12 conference regular season yearly. Frank Mason is a POY candidate, and has been a down right star all year.  Backcourt running mate Devonte’ Graham is a tough, solid veteran guard that averages 13.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. It’s pretty tough to stop a battle tested, veteran backcourt that can put up points the way they can. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a steady, solid 6’8 junior guard. Josh Jackson, projected to be a top 5 pick in the upcoming draft, missed their conference tournament game against TCU, and that is a big reason why they lost. He isn’t overhyped. He scores, rebounds, play defense, and plays hard. He is also a great athlete. They will need him to make a run. Kansas fans, enjoy him while he is wearing the blue, because he most likely won’t be wearing it anymore after the Final Four. Landen Lucas is solid senior role player along with sophomore Lagerald Vick. They have a pretty good amount of size and athleticism. They will be a tough out. Can their guard play make Bill Self a two time national champion in Lawrence?

South Region: #1 Seed North Carolina Tar Heels

I went back and forth on this one between UNC and UCLA in a regional finals matchup. It pains me to say it, but UNC won out for me because of depth and experience. I must keep it real. Even though they did lose to my Duke Blue Devils twice and still got a number one seed, they are a good team. They are two time regular season ACC championship and National Runner up good. It took a shot at the buzzer from Villanova to beat them last year. Most of their top players are back this year. They go 9, and sometimes 10 deep, and it starts with ACC player of the year Justin Jackson. Starting with an experienced, pro caliber wing isn’t a bad way to start. I won’t compliment a UNC guy too much, but he is smooth and he can shoot it, and with some range. Fellow Junior Joel Berry II runs the point, and he is another guy that can fill it up. He torched Duke in Chapel Hill, so he has the ability to go off. Kennedy Meeks is a senior that nearly averages a double double, and controls the paint down low with fellow senior Isaiah Hicks, who averages double figures in points. Theo Pinson is a Junior starting role player. He is probably their best perimeter defender and a good athlete. They are one of the few elite teams that don’t start a freshman, and they are the only one in my final four that doesn’t. They don’t have a lot of point production coming off of the bench outside of 7.3ppg from Tony Bradley, who also pulls down 5.2 rpg, but they have four or five guys that usually play. It’s hard (even for me) to ignore the fact that they have experienced guys that can ball, and they have depth. I would guess they are motivated to get back to the Final Four after losing the National Championship game in the worst possible way.

National Semifinal: Duke vs Arizona

Duke marches on. Why? Because they will continue to stay hot and Arizona will have trouble with their four guard lineup. Jefferson is capable of stepping out to the perimeter and guarding Markkanen. I would imagine that Matt Jones will be guarding Allonzo Trier, because he usually guards the other team’s top scorer if it’s a perimeter player. Arizona has size, but Giles will come off the bench and play more minutes like he was able to do in the ACC tournament, allowing duke to defend their bigs and compete on the boards. It won’t be the first time they are playing a bigger team, and they will combat the other team’s size with the fact that they will knock down threes, and they have four perimeter guys that will get double figures. I don’t know who they will use to guard Jason Tatum, and that has been the question for just about every team with him being a matchup nightmare that can destroy you inside or outside. Kennard will get his, and he will draw attention and give Grayson Allen one on one matchups, and he will produce. Jefferson will provide solid inside play and at least flirt with a double double if he doesn’t get one. They will communicate as a team on defense. Arizona has players, so they will threaten, but I expect to see Allen, Jones and Jefferson playing in another national title game. There you have it. Let’s Go Duke.


National Semifinal: Kansas vs North Carolina

What a heck of a Final Four game. The guard matchups are pretty crazy. A lot of experience on the floor from both sides. Mason and Graham are better in my opinion, and they will run the show and show that they are. They will hit shots, and they will guard at a high level. Justin Jackson will attack the matchup if he and Josh Jackson guard one another, with the freshman being a higher ranked NBA prospect than him and having a chance to show him up on the biggest stage of college basketball, and his team needs him to score. They may free him up and use Pinson on Jackson, but Jackson will be his usual self and get his. I think North Carolina has more size, but the guard play will win out with Frank Mason being big time and carrying Kansas to the title game. No matter what decisions people decide to make on their pro futures after the season, this will be his last go around, and that won’t be lost on him while he is out there giving it his all, and just being himself, which is pretty good. UNC has a powerful starting lineup, but I think Kansas has enough to be better on this day, and they can defend at a high level. Advantage Kansas…let’s go.


National Championship: Duke vs Kansas

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the main event. Let’s get ready to rumble. I assure you that I am not being biased. Duke, in my mind, is the best team in the country. They don’t go deep, but they don’t need to. Kennard seems to be blessed with unlimited energy to play about 39 minutes a game, and when he is out there he is putting up 20 per. On any given night you can get 20 from Tatum or Allen, and Frank Jackson will score and do a solid job of running the offense whether he starts or not.  Kansas has showed that they can beat Duke by actually doing so on November 15th at Madison square Garden after Frank Mason hit a game winner, but that was after only a few games, and that was a different duke team. That Duke team didn’t have Jason Tatum or Harry Giles as they were both dealing with injuries at the time. This Duke team is becoming the team that everyone predicted they would be. Giles is 100 percent healthy, and his production is going up. I’ve already spoken on Tatum. He is the best isolation guy in the nation, and his all-around game has really evolved as he isn’t forcing the issue as much and has learned to use the attention he gets to find the open man. He is also a solid rebounder. Kennard will score from everywhere and is a great rebounder for a guard. They will sag off of Grayson Allen, who will run the point at times and make great passes, and he will make them pay by knocking down threes and attacking closeouts. Unless they have an off night, Kansas will get theirs. Mason will do his thing. Graham will hit some shots. Jackson will do a little bit of everything. Lucas will be tough inside. Duke will do more, and they  should cut down the nets. Coach K does it again!! Come on Duke, make me right.

Is Lavar Ball putting unrealistic expectations on his sons?

If you are a big time college basketball fan, then you have heard of Lonzo Ball. You have most likely heard of him even if you aren’t a fan of the UCLA freshman point guard, because simply put, he is a baller. He is a lock to be a first round pick in the NBA draft this year. I keep up with big time recruits and watch the All-star games when I can, and the mix-tapes online. I knew about Ball before he got to UCLA, and if you really keep up then you know that his two younger brothers are both also future UCLA Bruins. Their story isn’t new to the casual basketball fan, because it seems to circulate quite a bit through the media these days. These days, it is more about comments made by their father, Lavar Ball, than the boy’s actual play on the court. They Ball name is becoming a household name because the eldest Ball is the most outspoken.

There is nothing wrong with a father being involved in his son’s activities. Lavar Ball is anything but an absent father, which is awesome. He will literally tell you how good his son is, and he literally has. In the process, he is in the news more than them it seems. Is that good or not? It depends on who you ask. For me, I don’t think that is necessarily a good thing. He is obviously a great father, and you can’t take that away from him. He isn’t lacking in belief for his boys, which is great. At the same time, in my opinion, he is putting big time expectations on them that they aren’t guaranteed to live up to. It seems like these days the media seeks him out, because they know they will get a headline. I’m not a hater by any means, and if they are going to give him the time, he might as well get his shine on.

I just don’t understand that while he does that, he says his son is better than Steph Curry, who of course is a 2 time NBA MVP. I don’t understand why he says all of his sons will be one and done, because he doesn’t know that. His middle son, Liangelo, is the next in line to wear the UCLA uniform next season. Obviously, the kid can ball (no pun intended) but he is not as good as Lonzo. Is that a bad thing? No. It’s not at all. How many guys will ever really get close to playing at a big time program? The majority of us won’t. The chances are even more slim when you talk about guys making it to the league. I’m not rooting against them, because there is no reason to. I’m just saying that while Lonzo is a special point man and the obvious gem of a recruiting class that included another stud in T.J. Leaf. Liangelo Ball is a 3-star recruit, and he won’t be the best recruit stepping foot on to UCLA campus next year.

There will be two Mcdonalds All-Americans going with him (SF Kris Wilkes and PG Jaylen Hands) that are better than him at this point. Does that mean that he won’t shine and be a one and done player? No, it doesn’t. It just means that he certainly won’t be the best player on the roster. It’s not out of the question to think that they could have multiple lottery picks, but none of those guys is a Lonzo Ball type of player. It’s also not out of the question to think that all three brothers will make the NBA. It has happened. The Zeller Brothers- Cody, Luke, and Tyler….. and the Plumlee brothers- Miles, Mason, and Marshall, who I saw a ton of with me being a longtime duke fan, pulled of the feat of having other siblings in the league. It can happen with the Ball Brothers. Will all three of them be All-stars? Probably not. When does that happen?

I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. You most likely can’t convince their father that I’m right, but that’s ok. I just wonder if he is putting expectations on them that might be too big, and in today’s brutal world, people don’t mind throwing the word “BUST” around if a player was “supposed” to be real good and doesn’t live up to it. I honestly don’t like that word. Even if you are projected to be a superstar and you only last three years in the league, then you will do more than the average joe ever will in basketball. Most people will never be good enough to step on an NBA court, so making it is an accomplishment. The money isn’t bad either I’ve heard. How many people will ever make over a million bucks playing the game of basketball? It goes without saying that it is rare, so it’s an amazing accomplishment even if you don’t end up being a hall of famer. You never really know how a guy will do in the NBA, but I think Lonzo ball will be a good NBA player. Is her better than Steph Curry? No. Curry has been there done that with college and has been dominant at times in the NBA. Ball hasn’t even played a summer league game yet. Can Ball be an MVP level player one day? I do think he has the potential. Why not just let the kid go out there and play though? I can’t speak for Lonzo Ball. I don’t personally know him or his family, and they certainly don’t know a no name like me, and the Ball son’s may not care what their dad says publicly, but why put such big time expectations on them, instead of just letting them get better and play?

                Recently, Lavar Ball stated that in his heyday, he would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one. Yes, those were his words. Michael Jordan’s Basketball career is well documented. I don’t even have to say all of the numbers and accolades. Lavar Ball, on the other hand, averaged 2 points per game at Washington State, and at 6-7 is only an inch taller than Jordan, so I don’t understand what makes him think he would’ve backed him down and overpowered him. As ridiculous as that sounds, I don’t know if it is worse than him saying he is looking for a packaged shoe deal involving his three sons that would be worth $1 Billion. Yes, he said that. Lonzo has potential, but nobody is going to give them that insane amount of money. They youngest Ball boy is only a sophomore in high school, so he would have to be out of college to cash in on that deal or he wouldn’t be eligible, and he won’t be a college freshman until the 2019-2020 season. Lonzo has potential, but nobody is going to give them that much money. His father certainly doesn’t lack in confidence for them, or himself.

                They would have to play pretty well to get that type of deal, and no one knows how good or bad they will be as pros yet if they all make the pros. Even then, people aren’t handing out Billion dollar deals. Lebron got 90 million before he played his first NBA game. That has proven to be money well spent. Players like Lebron don’t come around often, and neither one of his boys have that type of potential. Even if they were to get 90 million dollar deals, which they won’t, then that would only be 270 million dollars between the three of them. Certainly not bad at all, but a little bit short of a Billion. I think it’s cool that he has so much belief in his sons, but I think it’s a little ridiculous that he says such unrealistic things. In my opinion, he should just let them play and see how things turn out. It should be about them and their play and not his outlandish statements.

                There is nothing wrong with wanting to build a brand, and once you hit the pros it is a business, but if they all make it and sign 5 million dollar contracts, that should be considered a huge success, because how many people will actually accomplish that? You don’t need a Billion dollars, and if you ask for that amount at least let your sons make the big leagues and show something first. I can’t speak for the Ball boys, but I would think that their main focus is just playing ball and getting better, and that is the way it should be. I can’t tell the guy how to raise his kids, but you know what they say, opinions are like (you know what), everyone has one. That, my people, is mine.


Coming from a non-smoker: Marijuana shouldn’t be illegal


It has many names. That tends to be the case with drugs though. With this particular one, which can be called maryjane, weed, refer, grass, bud, herb, dro, ganja, sticky icky, and many other names, there seems to be a wide variety unlike any other substance. Marijuana, your influence goes far and wide. You touch so many lives, and make profit for so many restaurants when people need something fast after indulging in your sweetness. Unfortunately, most of these people have to do so in secret, because in most places, having you around is against the law. You have been proven to have legitimate medical uses, just like drugs sold in any pharmacy in the country. So why is it that the government has prohibition level stubbornness when it comes to you being used recreationally? I have no idea.


Notice that part of the title of this article says “Coming from a non-smoker”, because that’s what I am. I have never smoked and I have no desire to ever try. I have made that statement before to people and they have sometimes replied by asking “why?” and that is not only annoying, but stupid also. It’s not a requirement in life, that’s why. It’s not like showering or anything. Not showering isn’t an option, unless you want to spend all of your days alone. Smoking is optional. For the people that do it, more power to them. It’s just not something I ever wanted to try. I just don’t understand why smoking cigarettes is legal, and drinking is legal, but smoking marijuana isn’t.


Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer. Even second hand smoke can cause health problems. Alcohol kills more than all of the illegal drugs COMBINED, yet it’s legal to drink. Yes, combined means all together, and 100,000 is a huge number. That’s how many deaths occur every year that are alcohol related. On top of all of that, there are numerous other drunk driving incidents that don’t end in death, and  sexual assaults because of intoxication, and violent acts because some people get too much to drink and just get in fight mode for some reason, and sometimes people get drunk and get annoying and stupid, or they get hospitalized from dehydration. This all occurs from substances that are legal if you are of age.


The war on drugs seems to take attention away from that. Drugs like Heroine, Crack Cocaine, Meth, and numerous other illegal drugs get labels and get so much attention when Alcohol is the main substance causing deaths in this country. This article isn’t supposed to be about alcohol. I’m just using it to help make my point. NO, I’m not pushing for legalization of those Schedule 1 drugs by any means AT ALL. I’m just saying…people don’t overdose on Weed. Unlike Adderall, or Dilaudid, or Oxycodone, or Hydrocodone, to name a few, Marijuana is a plant and isn’t manufactured in a lab or factory. Those schedule 2 drugs just mentioned are dangerous, addictive and often abused and sold on the streets. It is illegal to do so, but even with that, they have medical purposes so they can be prescribed and given to patients ANYWHERE.


Yes, they were originally made to be sold in pharmacies and given to people in hospitals and nursing homes and wherever else drugs can be given, but they have come to be abused on the regular. It is what it is, but why is it that weed is sort of in the middle between Cocaine and Lortab? Yes, it has medical purposes like Lortab, but it is treated like Cocaine by the DEA. That’s just an example, because obviously cocaine has no legit medical use and needs to be illegal, but I don’t get why marijuana is sort of dangling between being ok and not being ok. In some places you can get medical marijuana, and in some places you can’t. In most places it is just illegal, but that is changing. In some states now you can actually have it if you don’t need it for medical reasons, but you can only have a certain amount and you can only have it at home.


 Just make it legal everywhere already!! I know it’s not that easy, but it’s not like legalizing Heroine. People might argue that they don’t want that drug in their neighborhood, but they either have a pill head next door or they are abusing their own pain meds. Why can’t it be legal everywhere and get taxed so Uncle Sam can get his cut? I don’t know. Uncle Sam makes plenty from Alcohol sales, yet people abuse Alcohol every day. Is there any other drug out there with medical use that can be sold and taken recreationally without having addicts walking around and killing people off? I don’t think so, and maybe that’s the problem for the government. Marijuana isn’t like Methamphetamine. You aren’t going to smoke weed and be strung out. If anything you will be diagnosed with severe munchies from what I have seen and heard.  Legal medical marijuana is offered in numerous states and Washington D.C., and in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and D.C. you can puff puff pass legally just because you want to.


In Colorado, there are more weed dispensaries than Starbucks and Mcdonalds locations combined. Even though Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it is legal to light up in our nations capitol. I find that funny.  It confuses me that Federal Law still recognizes this as a Schedule 1 drug, which would classify it with the drugs with no medical purpose. I understand not wanting distribution to minors, and huge amounts that might bring revenue to cartels, but wouldn’t legalizing it federally make it less valuable to cartels, much like Prohibition ending killed business for rum runners back in the day? Even with it being illegal right now, they are still weighing, bagging and shipping it ANYWAY! They wouldn’t be able to do that as much if people everywhere could go to their local corner store and pick some up, because they wouldn’t need to buy it on the corner, if you know what I mean.


I don’t know if this will ever happen. If it doesn’t, I won’t lose any sleep because I don’t smoke anyway, so I’m not creeping around trying to find bud. Is it addictive? Yeah, I’m sure it is, but so is caffeine for goodness sake. Laws that don’t make a lot of sense, just don’t make a lot of sense. A happier America should be the goal, and an America with weed being legal everywhere would be a happier America. I’m not saying anybody should be able to just ride down the street and smoke out their cars. How about making it to where everybody could only do it inside. That way, if you aren’t a smoker and you don’t want to be around it, you don’t have to be.


No offense to anyone that does it, but there is nothing more nasty to me than people that buy chewing tobacco and walk around with that in their mouths. You can sit out on your porch and have a beer, even though there is no limit to how many you can have and having too many can lead you to stumble in the street and be hit by a car. You can smoke a cigarette all day, even though cigarettes smell like crap, in my opinion. I was only kidding about the happier America thing, but why can’t a person sit outside on their porch and just hit a blunt if they feel like it? I mean really, who are they going to hurt? I’m not a smoker, as has been stated more than once, I just don’t see a legit reason why weed is against federal law. Just my opinion. I’m going to have a Dr. Pepper now….Cheers.


Should people be made to have to stand for the National Anthem? We are supposed to be free in this Country, and standing is a choice

The definition of the word free is to “not be under the control of, or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes”. The definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. I wonder how many times you see or hear those two words when you hear about anything that is associated with America. They call our beautiful country “The land of the free”, but when you I think about it, a lot of things that are supposed to fall under that definition of “free” simply don’t. I say that with the national anthem in mind. Why? Well, because I don’t understand why it is such a big deal if people don’t stand for it. In my opinion, in this land of the free, you should be able to sit without it being such big deal.

A lot of people would disagree, and that is okay because that is their opinion, but my opinion is okay also. It doesn’t make a person any less of any American to not stand for the national anthem. Do I stand for it myself? Yes. I’ll admit that there have been times that I was wearing a hat and didn’t take it off, but I have always stood up for it. From the time you are a kid it is drilled in your head for you to do it, and I don’t have a reason not to. Someone might look at the last sentence and think “Well why are you writing this then? What are you trying to say?” I have an answer for that. I’m trying to say that I don’t think anyone should receive backlash if they don’t stand, and I disagree with anyone being forced to.

That completely goes against this being a “free” country to say that people must stand for the National Anthem. It just does. If you disagree with that, then that’s ok, because you have the right to disagree, but people have the right to not stand either. I’m repeating myself to make my point. Just to put it out there; I am not anti-America. I love my country. I respect the military and the men and women who have served and went to battle. I have two sisters that served in the NAVY, and I commend the ones who have put their lives on the line. Lee Greenwood wrote the song “God Bless the U.S.A” and part of it, as I’m sure you know, says “And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.”

I’m proud to be an American. I’m happy to be free. Part of being free is being able to have your own opinion and have freedom of choice if you aren’t breaking laws. Last I heard, sitting for the National Anthem isn’t against the law. I think it’s wrong that you have freedom of choice not to do so, but you don’t really have freedom of consequence with this. It’s almost like one of those unwritten rules that you HAVE to stand up, but you really don’t. It doesn’t make you unpatriotic. It doesn’t make you hate the country or have no respect for the armed forces. That is what people act like not standing for it does though. What would I do if I were at a game and the guy next to me didn’t stand? Nothing. That would be his choice.

It’s not a character issue. People who rape people or murder have character issues. If I were to put religion in it, then I don’t think that God (or whoever you believe in or worship) is going to hold it against you for not standing for a National Anthem. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christ follower, and if I stopped standing for the National Anthem for the rest of my life I don’t think God would frown on that when I get to Heaven and say it was a Sin. Killing is a sin, but even Almighty God will forgive you for that. People, on the other hand, hold grudges and get mad over stupid stuff, and act like they are perfect. In my opinion, being able to make our own choices is something basic that this country was built on.

People from all over the globe come here to get a taste of this freedom. If you haven’t heard of him, look up the story of a guy named Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He is a former NBA player that was suspended in 1996 for refusing to participate in the National Anthem pre-game ceremony. He ended up standing during the anthem and praying from that point on but ended up losing millions after that and it cut his career short because he was traded and after his contract expired no one would sign him, and he was only 29 years old and clearly still able to contribute as a player. He received death threats. He was actually born in America as Chris Jackson but he converted to Islam, and I don’t know the first thing about Islam, but it went against his religion, so he decided not to acknowledge the anthem. He didn’t try to convert anyone else, but people (including NBA commissioner David Stern) disagreed with his stance.

They had the right to disagree, but he had the right to not come out during the National Anthem. It’s not even because of his religion, it’s because in this country he was supposed to be free to do so. Like I said, I stand for the National Anthem, and my religion doesn’t say anything about whether I should or not, but I’m free to do whatever I want. Am I? I can’t think of any laws that say you can’t sit, and I can’t think of a place in the bible where it brings it up at all. In my opinion it’s not disrespectful, it’s just a personal choice. We are supposed to be free to have our own. God bless America.

Panama City Beach Spring Break Laws…Give me a Break

               Panama City Beach. PCB. The Spring Break capitol of the U.S. Well, maybe not anymore. This vacation spot in Northwest Florida is known for drawing crowds thanks to beautiful beaches. In recent years it has made headlines for other reasons, and those reasons are attributed to the unofficial holiday during March when thousands of college kids converge on the Bay County Beach town for Fun in the Sun during the week that their respective schools are out for Spring Break. I never indulged in spring break as a student, but I now call this city home. I moved to Panama City Beach during the summer of 2012 from Alabama and I knew about people coming here for vacation, but it was bigger than I thought.

                For someone that had never been to Florida at all before I moved here, I thought I would see people going to the beach, or see people walking around in bikinis or holding beers since it was June at the time. I knew spring break got crazy at times from me growing up in Alabama and hearing about it, but I thought that being here in the summer it would be a lot less mild. The first thing I did was stop at a Wal-mart Supercenter when I made it here, and when I walked inside I wondered if I somehow was  transported to a party on the beach . All I could think was “wow”. This wasn’t even Spring Break.

                I would come to see the madness of Spring Break nine months later. I’m not a drinker. I never have been, and never wanted to be. I always say “to each their own”, and I don’t mind people having fun and having a good time. No, I DO NOT condone some of the things that have happened in recent years, like people being raped or shot, but I also am not a fan of the 2016 No drinking on the beach law. I’m not a drinker, as stated earlier, so I’m not affected by that as far as the drinking thing goes, but with me being a resident of this city I am affected by the hit that the local economy takes.

                I didn’t grow up in a vacation spot, so I was unaware of how important certain parts of the year are here compared to others as far as making revenue is concerned, other than national holidays. That month is a big money time for the beach, so the revenue brought in from 100,000 or so extra people coming into the city buying whatever it is that they are going to buy is of great importance. Before you go saying that I am saying I think everything should be all about money let me say something….everything shouldn’t be all about money. I’m not a politician or a city leader, but I do understand the importance of your area having a good reputation.

                I understand that during a time that 18-22 (or more) year olds come to town in droves that any bad incident is going to make national headlines and make people look at your town in a negative way. I understand that drunk and disorderly people can be rude, people zig-zagging on scooters can be annoying, and people not cleaning up their trash is messy. I do also know that a lot of people around here count on that revenue to feed their families. If you are a retail manager or worker, a club owner or worker, a restaurant owner or worker, or an owner of certain seasonal small businesses you need that money to help you make a living. If you have another career, are retired or work for the city council or the Sheriff’s Office then you may not be affected by the new laws in that way so you, depending on who you are in that class of people, might not care about the needs of those people.

                To be fair, it is the job of law enforcement to serve and protect, and locals don’t have to be subjected to wild and crazy behavior. At the same time, I don’t think it makes sense for law enforcement to do random cup, bottle or can checks on the beach. I also don’t think it is fair to the local couple that has made a good living for themselves and on a weekend that they both have off, they can’t walk out of their back door with their beach chairs to go relax on the beach and have a beer together. It makes no sense to me to punish people that are obviously not displaying disorderly conduct. From my experience, Spring Break was more calm last year and should be this year so they have accomplished what they set out to do, but it’s done at the expense of people that need the money and people that might want to just relax on the beach without being harassed or arrested for something that is legal for the other 11 months of the year.  

                I have lived the majority of my time here right in the middle of it all. I had roommates in a condo with 21 floors at one point, and getting an elevator during the spring is like waiting in line at the DMV. Annoying at times I will admit, especially since we stayed on the 15th floor, but life is annoying at times without Spring Break. It is what it is. A couple of times I had random people knock on my window and scream at night. I guess for me that isn’t enough to despise Spring Break even though it obviously got on my nerves. Would I change anything if I could go back? No. I liked my roommates and liked living there despite the occasional annoying incident.  The place I live now is right on a busy road and close to night clubs and condos, so it’s like being right in the middle of the city that never sleeps. During the spring people are constantly coming by, being loud, and yelling “WOOOHOOOO!” when you go out to your mail box. I knew what I was getting myself into, and there is always something going on here. During bike week, which happens twice a year, it constantly sounds like motorcycles are revving up in my living room.

                I’m not being whiny and saying “Get rid of bike week!!” I’m not saying that anyone against spring break is whining either. I’m just saying that people should know that this is a vacation spot and a beautiful city, so what else do they expect? This isn’t a city-sized retirement community. I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people that complain were just as wild in their day, and now that they are married with kids or just old they want peace and quiet. Maybe they are neither and just don’t have a life other than playing video games all night, so they just hate on the people that aren’t that lame and actually want to get some fresh air. I say let the kids have some fun. If you are spiritual, invite them to your church instead of talking down about them. How about being a missionary instead of just being sour.

                I can understand wanting to cut down on negative incidents. Trust me; I get it. Let us not forget   about the people that, like you, have to make a living and thereby depend on having these people come so they can take care of their families. Yes, it’s only one month, but think from the perspective of the guy or lady that works at one of these restaurants that has kids that go to school with your kids or grandkids. You could argue that kids don’t need to see people getting drunk and taking off their bras, or having sex on the beach. I agree with that, but kids also need to eat and everyone doesn’t have a lucrative career. A lot of these people are out of work during the winter months, and Spring Break comes and they can begin to provide for their loved ones better.

                Yes, it’s up to them to manage their money, because they know they will have their hours cut for a few months, but I live across the street from a restaurant that closes completely for a few months. It’s not just a building that is there for show, people work there. Locals get their feelings hurt because they see half-naked people, and laws get passed so now places like that take a hit. I feel the need to keep on bringing up the fact that I’m not saying that there should be no order, because I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that people should get over themselves and their feelings. That’s my opinion. You have yours and probably think I’m stupid if you disagree. That is totally fine with me.

                I honestly have never understood why people feel the need to go out of town just to get drunk. I think people can do that at home and save money, but maybe people like to be able to say they came to the beach to do it. Obviously they do, because now that they can’t they aren’t coming here. Opinions differ on the subject. I’ve ran my mouth for a while and given mine. Thank God for freedom of speech. They can disagree, but they can’t take that away.

Jalen Hurts is still the Man..Welcome Brian Daboll

 Jalen Hurts is still the man…Welcome Brian Daboll

I remember the buzz following Jalen Hurts after the A-day game last year. Even before that, he simulated Deshaun Watson before the Championship Game. Even though he was drawing raves, history wasn’t on his side. That history being the fact that Nick Saban had never started a true freshman QB. Only one has started in the history of Alabama football. Simply put, Jalen Hurts was a true freshman, and true freshmen don’t start at the University of Alabama at quarterback.

Add to that the fact that three other more experienced Quarterbacks were already ahead of him, and even though it seemed intriguing, it just seemed unlikely. Hurts brought athleticism to the position that isn’t a big asset of the usual Nick Saban quarterback other than former starter Blake Sims who was able to use his legs and be allusive when necessary. Other guys were just more experienced and further ahead in then Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense. Hurts was the future, but he couldn’t really come in and start as an 18 year old could he?

I, like anyone else, has always thought that the best person for the job should play, but I also thought that Hurts may not be ready to start in the SEC for a team that wants to contend for a championship as an 18 year old. Not that I was rooting against him, because there is no reason for that, but I was thinking that Coach Saban always goes with experience, and even if he didn’t, Blake Barnett came to campus the year before and he had created a buzz.

Another year, another QB competition that seemingly takes an eternity to be unresolved. I thought about Nick Saban and his “process” and how well waiting to see who the best guy is has worked out for him at The Capstone going back to AJ Mccarron and Phillip Sims. It took three games for AJ to win the job, and we know how that worked out. Records were broken, championships were won, but eligibility runs out.


Coaches change schools also, and Alabama also saw Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier move on after that season. What did Nick Saban do? The most unlikely move of his Alabama coaching career (so far). Who would’ve thought that he would hire Lane Kiffin? An offensive extraordinaire for sure, but this is the same Lane Kiffin that coached the Raiders in the NFL, the Tennessee Vols and USC. He was as unlikely a candidate to run Saban’s offense as you could think of. On top of that, the most experienced QB at the time is former running back Blake Sims.

Another year, and another QB battle with Jake Coker transferring in from Florida State after sitting behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. We all became spoiled with the greatness of McCarron, then we go on to a QB battle between two guys with no starts. This is where Kiffin showed his abilities as a Coach. There was a buzz about Coker and his arm, but Sims ended up winning the job after the start of the season. Honestly, I was glad he did, because he waited his time for four years, and he gave Alabama fans a pretty good show that year.

He would go on to set passing records and helped lead Alabama to the first ever College Football Playoff. Even though it ended with a loss to Ohio State in the semi-final, things were great because Alabama football was still great even with so much change going into the season. More change was to come though. Sims was a senior, so another new QB would be starting next season. Most fans, like me, started to speculate as soon as the season was over.

Is it going to be Coker? Is it going to be Cooper Batemon? There is no offseason. Once again, Alabama nation had to trust the process and wait until after another season started before we all knew who would be starting at Quarterback. Coker ended up winning the job, and the rest is history. Another Championship to add to an already hefty history of championships. The Saban-Kiffin pairing is working pretty well. Another year in the playoff, and a Championship this time around. Another senior QB also, which means another offseason of questions. On top of that, Kirby Smart is leaving to go to the University of Georgia.

Nobody got things twisted. Offense can win some games and get you on Sportscenter top 10, but defense can win you championships. Nick Saban has built his career on being a defense guy, and the machine he has built at Alabama has routinely put out top ranked defensive units. These are the guys that can give even a new QB a chance by making sure he doesn’t have to play catch up on the regular.

Enter Jeremy Pruitt from Georgia. Top shelf hire. Worked under Saban before. He will make sure the defense doesn’t miss a beat, but once again, who will be behind center on offense? Once again, that is THE question, but once again the trust is there because Saban and Kiffin are still there. For the third straight season, this question is unanswered going into the season opener.

Blake Barnett is announced as the starter seemingly right before the September 3rd game against USC, and I thought the question was in the past and that we wouldn’t have to wait more than one game to know who the starter was going to be. I was right, but Barnett would end up being replaced by Hurts after the offense wasn’t producing enough yards, and after fumbling on his very first college snap he would throw two TD passes and pass for 118 yards while going 6 for 8.

He also rushed for 2 TD’s, which is an exciting element to the offense from the quarterback position that would serve him and the team well throughout the season. All in all, it served him well to have such a stout defense in this game (USC only scored 6 points) and throughout the season, and running back Damien Harris rushed for 138 yards on 9 carries. Alabama found its quarterback. Hurts went on to win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC freshman of the year. He started all 15 games and passed for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, while rushing for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Despite pushes from people out there that are never satisfied and want to see Tua Tagovailoa start after Alabama lost the National Championship game to Clemson where Hurts didn’t have his best showing (13-31, 131 yards, 1 TD), and couldn’t convert on 3rd down, his performance wasn’t as bad as some have made it out to be. I thought the game was over after his rushing touchdown with a little over two minutes remaining.

Alabama just hurt themselves with penalties (and if I remember right there were two against the defense on Clemson’s last drive), and it hurt the offense when Bo Scarbrough went down. He left the game with 93 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns. It doesn’t matter what offense we run or who is throwing the ball, Alabama always uses the running game to wear opponents down. With him being the workhorse the last couple of games and Clemson being unable to stop him I wonder what could’ve been had he not went down with an injury.

I wish him well, and he will be back strong next year, but Hurts in the unquestioned QB and the MVP in this offense in my opinion. He will develop more as a passer. That’s what practice and the off season are for. Who knew that he would go on to have the type of year that he had? I think in today’s world some people tend to focus on the bad and not appreciate what they have, and that leads them to want whatever (or whoever) is new.

I would say don’t forget that Hurts was only 18 years old and is far from a finished product. Despite that fact, look at what he was able to do this past season. If he keeps progressing, I see him possibly going to the NFL after his junior season, and leaving the offense to Tagovailoa, who at that point would have three years of eligibility remaining if he redshirts during the 2017 season. That’s a great scenario in my mind. If Hurts stays 4 years, I certainly wouldn’t complain. I’m not a fan of the Heisman trophy, but at times during his true freshman season he was being mentioned as a possible candidate, but people continually point to his issues. Imagine what good he will become with more experience?

I don’t know for sure how things will turn out next season, but I’m going to assume that Hurts will be the starter. The real question now is who will call plays? Here we go again with questions, but the word on the street is that New England Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll will be named the new OC. With success comes opportunity, and opportunity has come knocking frequently with assistants under Coach Saban. Kiffin went to FAU, which still baffles my mind, but the guy wanted to be a head coach again. My hopes that Kirby smart would stay and take over after Saban were dashed, and I honestly hoped the same for Kiffin afterward. He is gone, but Sarkisian was there. WAS.

The fact that Sarkisian left to take the same position for the Atlanta Falcons was surprising to me, because he was able to get that job after only coaching one game over a couple of seasons, but it is what it is. He is gone. Welcome Brian Daboll. Obviously, he comes from a championship atmosphere being under Bill Belichick for four seasons. He has 17 years of NFL experience and was a grad assistant under Coach Saban for 2 years under him at Michigan State.

It helps that they have a history, and Coach Saban is great at picking offensive coordinators. He has won at least one title with every OC he has had at Alabama, so why can’t it happen again with Daboll? Look at the weapons the future OC will have…Hurts, an embarrassment of riches at RB, Calvin Ridley. It’s an attractive job. They get a whole spring and summer to work together before next season. Stay tuned. Roll Tide Roll.



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