Tuesday, January 10, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State Making Mark In Social Media
Mississippi State holds a top social media presence among U.S. higher education institutions. The university is ranked 11th on Facebook and 37th on Twitter, according to a report released late last month by Engagement Labs, a technology and data company. Mississippi State and University of Florida are the only Southeastern Conference members found among the Top 25 on Facebook. At Mississippi State, institutional social media operations are coordinated through the Office of Public Affairs led by Sid Salter, chief communications officer. The university's numerous social media strategies are directed by Checky Herrington, the office's marketing research analyst. Salter said the land-grant institution is "growing in so many positive ways, not just in our enrollment, but also in the number of high-quality students who are choosing to attend MSU.
 
Cotton may be best bet to ease fears of crop slump
While a study by the Mississippi State Extension Service forecasts a possible farm crisis for 2017, local farmers hold a more optimistic view, thanks to what they believe will be a strong cotton crop. While both commodity and input costs -- primarily seed costs -- have risen steadily over the early part of the decade, a decline in commodity prices since 2013 has not coincided with a comparable decline in those input costs, according to Bryan Parman, an agricultural economist for the Extension Service. The prospects continue to be discouraging when it comes to soybeans, where prices have fallen dramatically over the past four years -- from $14.40 per bushel in 2013 to $9.25 last year. The current market price of $9.50, if it holds by the fall harvest, only slightly reverses that trend. Meanwhile, both cotton (72 cents per pound) and corn ($3.40 per bushel) are at what farmers call decent, if not great, prices. That is something Noxubee County farmer Randy McGill has noticed, reducing his acreage of soybeans last year in favor of cotton.
 
Billboard clampdown: A look at local ban as Starkville mulls moratorium
While one Golden Triangle city mulls a short-term billboard ban, another has had one in place for more than a decade. Starkville's board of aldermen will consider enacting a six-month moratorium on billboards later this month in an effort to address concerns of overcrowding. Ward 3 Alderman David Little brought the matter to the board last month after receiving a citizen complaint about a billboard under construction in front of their business near the Mississippi Land Bank on Highway 12 in east Starkville. The moratorium would prevent new billboard construction and prohibit changes to existing billboards. Columbus has had such a ban on new billboards since 2000, and councilmembers have said they think the moratorium has been successful.
 
Four qualify for Oktibbeha's special chancery clerk election
Four candidates have qualified for November's special election for Oktibbeha County's chancery clerk position. A Democratic Primary and a General Election are required as three Democrats and one Republican filed qualifying statements of intent with the circuit clerk's office last week. Martesa Flowers, Margaret Jordan and interim Chancery Clerk Sharon Livingston are running as Democrats, and Barbara Mitchell is running as a Republican. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 8, and the General Election will be on Nov. 7. To qualify, a candidate must be a resident of Oktibbeha County, at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. There is a $100 qualifying fee.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves foresees phase-in for MAEP rewrite
Any rewrite of the state's school funding formula during the ongoing 2017 legislative session most likely will be phased in over multiple years, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday. Reeves, speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government/capitol press corps in Jackson, pointed out the current formula -- the Mississippi Adequate Education Program -- was passed during the 1997 legislative session, but not fully enacted until 2003. "You will certainly see a phase-in of sorts," said Reeves, who routinely speaks at or near the start of a new session to the Stennis luncheon group.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves: Ignoring roads 'not conservative position'
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says road and bridge maintenance and repair is a "core function" of government "and it is not a conservative position to ignore the need or desire to maintain the investments we have made." While he said Mississippi needs to spend more on infrastructure, he stopped short of endorsing a tax increase to do so, as many business and transportation leaders have been advocating. Reeves said state leaders are waiting to hear how President-elect Donald Trump's vow to spend more federal dollars on infrastructure shakes out. He has also recently said he does not believe there is enough support in the Legislature to pass a tax increase for road work. Reeves spoke Monday, the beginning of the second week of the 2017 legislative session, to the Stennis Institute of Government's Capitol press corps luncheon.
 
Video: Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at Stennis
Video: Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves discusses the state budget and other topics at the Stennis Institute lunch on Monday.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Says He Expects Education Funding Report Within Days
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says he expects a consultant to submit its recommendations for changing Mississippi's education funding formula "in the next week or so." The Republican said Monday at a luncheon sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government and the Capitol press corps that lawmakers still plan to rewrite the formula during the current legislative session. Lawmakers have fully funded the current formula only twice. From 2009 through the current budget year, funding has fallen a cumulative $1.9 billion short.
 
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves Outlines His Legislative Agenda
A nearly 11 percent up-tick in Mississippi's graduation rate and significant gains in 4th grade reading and math prove the state is headed in the right direction, according to Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. He talked about the issue at the Stennis Capitol Press Forum, in Jackson. Reeves, a Republican, believes reforms like K-3 reading coaches is working. He says his focus is on getting more money to the classrooms. Reeves is awaiting a report from Ed Build, a firm, reviewing Mississippi's Adequate Education Program-a funding formula that's been in place since 1997. "It's time to have a formula that support schools for the 21st Century not for the 1900's. The thing that I've been most encouraged about is that the vast majority of Mississippians agree," said Reeves.
 
'Blue Lives Matter,' immigration bills get Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' support
In addition to meat and potatoes issues that dominate every legislative session. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is signaling he will endorse measures that he says will support law enforcement. Reeves, speaking to the Capitol press corps, lobbyists and business leaders Monday, indicated he plans to get behind a so-called Blue Lives Matter bill as well as legislation to prohibit so-called sanctuary cities. In May, Louisiana enacted a law that gave public safety workers similar protected class designation as racial and religious minorities. The change means crimes against law enforcement officers and paramedics could count as hate crimes under state law. Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, is working on drafting the legislation, Reeves said.
 
Video: Phil Bryant discusses online sexual harassment training course
Video: Gov. Phil Bryant signed an executive order Monday requiring online sexual harassment training for state employees.
 
Legislators talk education, infrastructure at Area Development Partnership forum
With the 2017 legislative session underway, the Area Development Partnership brought several lawmakers out Monday to talk about their plans, hopes and expectations for the session. Chad Driskell, vice president of external affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, led the forum at the Trent Lott Center during which lawmakers talked about such hot topics as the fuel tax, roads and infrastructure, and education funding. He launched immediately into education funding, asking if the state would see some changes to the funding formula this year. Sen. John Polk, R-Hattiesburg, said lawmakers may want to wait until next year before making decisions on raising the fuel tax because President-elect Donald Trump plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. He wants to see if Mississippi will get a portion of that money for its roads before the state makes any decisions on raising taxes.
 
Mississippi bill: Fly the state flag or face penalties
Flying the state flag in Mississippi will be up for discussion again this legislative session. Sen. Joseph Seymour (R-Vancleave) filed SB20157 last week, regarding flying the state flag. The bill would require governments or state colleges to display the official state flag on a Monday through Friday of each week. If the administrative head does not fly the flag, the state will withhold 25 percent of his or her monthly salary until compliance. In June 2015, the deadly shooting of nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, sparked controversy across the country. The state of South Carolina removed the flag from capitol grounds in October 2015. This is when University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett removed the flag from campus, replacing it with an American flag. WDAM 7 News reached out to USM President Rodney Bennett. A spokesperson for his office said President Bennett still stands on his decision to remove the flag.
 
Bill would stop wrongful birth lawsuits in Mississippi
No known "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" lawsuits have been filed in Mississippi, but one lawmaker wants to make sure one is never filed. Senate Bill 2034, filed by Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune, would shield doctors from liability against a claim that a child shouldn't have been born. The issue involves doctors telling parents about their child's birth defects. Hill's bill says "No civil action may be commenced in any court for a claim of wrongful birth, and a person is not liable for damages in any civil action for wrongful birth based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, a child or children would not or should not have been born." The bill also says the same applies for wrongful life claims.
 
Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden urges applications for state bicentennial grants
Mississippi House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden recommended communities and organizations apply for grants to promote the state's bicentennial during the East Mississippi Development Corp. Council of Governments meeting Monday at the Checkerboard Restaurant. The State Humanities Council is partnering with Mississippi Development Authority's Visit Mississippi to oversee the BiCentennial Year Grant Program. The initiative will award up to $10,000 to individual public programs celebrating the state's historic year. The program's goal is to inspire and empower local organizations throughout the state to develop public programs documenting, interpreting and exploring community culture. Snowden also discussed the 2017 Legislative session, which began last week. He said he expected priorities to include education, infrastructure and budget.
 
Local senator again seeks $6M for Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center
A Natchez senator is once again seeking $6 million in state funding to renovate the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center. Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez, is sponsoring bill seeking $2 million per fiscal year to fulfill the estimated $6 million in renovations needed at the Mississippi Landmark as a three-phase project. Dearing and other legislators have unsuccessfully tried in recent years to pass bills to fund the renovations at the center. Dearing said he thinks dividing the funding up over three fiscal years increases the chances of passing the bill this year. "The approach we're taking this time is $2 million this year, $2 million coming in 2018, and $2 million in 2019," he said. "Hopefully this will make it a little bit easier to get it passed. I think it's a good approach for us to take."
 
Area legislators contribute to Tupelo High School band trip to inaugural
The Tupelo High School marching band is a step closer to raising the money necessary to attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump next week. Area legislators teamed up to make a donation to the band Monday morning. They each contributed their own money for a total sum of $1,650 from the group. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville; Shane Aguirre, R-Tupelo; Hob Bryan, D-Amory; Chad McMahan, R-Guntown; and Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, all contributed. The THS band is the only band from Mississippi selected to attend.
 
Gov. William Winter's prognosis good after fall
Former Gov. William Winter is recovering well at the University of Mississippi Medical Center following a head injury and should move from the neuroscience intensive care unit on Tuesday to a regular room, his doctor says. Winter, 93, slipped on ice on the driveway of his Jackson home late Saturday morning when he went to walk his dog. He suffered a traumatic head injury, including a small brain bleed, and multiple lacerations, according to UMMC. Dr. Gilbert Mbeo, his neurologist and traumatic brain injury specialist, said in a UMMC news release that the governor's progress is much better than he'd expect for someone his age.
 
GOP celebration: Local Republicans mark imminent Trump presidency
Local Republican voters and leaders from north Mississippi gathered Tuesday night to celebrate the imminent inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States. Mitch Tyner, who served as chairman of Trump's Mississippi election campaign, spoke Tuesday night at an event hosted by the Lee County Republican Club. The event was part of a statewide victory tour hosted by the state campaign. "There is still a lot of work to be done, but let's take some time to celebrate," said Lee County Republican Club President June Geddie
 
In the world of cyber global security, is the United States still at the top?
After decades of being an overwhelming force in all global security matters, there seems to be growing evidence that at least in the cyber world, the United States is now facing a somewhat leveled playing field. The news last week, which is expected to continue through this week and be part of the discussion at the confirmation hearing for retired Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense, has focused an enormous amount of attention on Russia's attempts to influence the American presidential election. Alongside a dispute between what appears to be a unified U.S. intelligence community and President-elect Donald Trump, recent hearings have made it clear that the cyber threat from other state and non-state actors seeking to damage the United States is much wider than previously believed.
 
Ole Miss campus construction projects continue
In the coming months, construction on certain sections of the Ole Miss campus will still be ongoing, as well as new projects getting underway. All American Drive has just been closed starting at Hill Drive to University Avenue. "This is to aid with the new STEM building construction," said Mike Harris, Director of Parking and Transportation at the university. "It is possible it may be opened back up by commencement; however, this will depend on many variables." Harris says that all of the construction is "making great headway." "The residential garage is on schedule and moving along quickly," he said. "It is slated to be finished mid-July." The new garage began construction last June and is slated to have 1,500 spots.
 
Southern Miss Luckyday Program Director Elected Board President
Dr. Larry A. Sparkman, director of the Luckyday Citizenship Program at the University of Southern Mississippi, has been elected to a second year as President of the Board of Directors for the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA). Sparkman has been a board member for the past four years serving on various national committees. The National Scholarship Providers Association is a nonprofit, member association that advances the collective impact of scholarship providers and the scholarships they award. It was established in 1999 by Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Fastweb.com, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Scholarship America to facilitate the creation of scholarship best practices, encourage professional development, and establish cooperative relationships among scholarship providers.
 
Woman struck and killed by train near U. of Alabama campus
A woman was struck and killed by a train near the University of Alabama campus early Tuesday. The 20-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed on 10th Avenue at midnight, shortly after the College Football Playoff Championship game ended. A witness told authorities that the woman was attempting to cross the tracks, said Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Service spokesman Fire Marshal Gene Holcomb. Further information will be released later this morning.
 
Auburn University Alumni Association seeking nominations for its board of directors
The Auburn University Alumni Association is looking for nominees for its board of directors. Four positions are open on the board with nomination forms due by 5 p.m. March 29. The nomination form can be found on the Alumni Association's website at www.alumni.auburn.edu. Qualified nominees must meet specific criteria. The nominating committee also will take other factors into consideration such as an individual's potential for representing the association's various constituencies, their college major and geographic location.
 
U. of Tennessee opens new residence hall, dining facility
When students return to campus this week for the spring semester, they'll have a new dining facility where food is prepared in front of them and for some, a new state-of-the-art residence hall with 186 new apartments. The Stokely Family Residence Hall, named for a family with long-time leadership and philanthropic ties to the university, opened on Friday. As students and their parents navigated the icy sidewalks outside the building during move-in Monday morning, they also had a chance to stop in and eat at the building's new dining hall, which opened Monday. University officials beamed with pride at the new building, which is among several multi-million dollar projects underway at the Knoxville campus.
 
Permanent cuts to TOPS, more hours per year recommended in new Louisiana regents report
The panel that oversees public colleges and universities statewide is considering the idea of permanently trimming TOPS by giving less money to freshman and sophomores and increasing the required course load. Under the recommendations released Monday by the staff of the state Board of Regents, college freshmen would be eligible for 80 percent of their total tuition costs from the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students. Sophomores could get 90 percent, while juniors and seniors would be eligible for 100 percent of the merit aid, which is based on modest academic requirements. The new rules would take effect for the freshman class of 2018. In addition, students would have to earn 30 credit hours per academic year to keep TOPS, up from 24 credit hours under current rules. The changes would have to win approval from the Legislature to take effect.
 
Should Louisiana sell naming rights to fund TOPS? Board of Regents staff says yes
The staff of Louisiana's Board of Regents has weighed in on public higher education's most talked-about topic: Yes, the state should cut its TOPS program that picks up much of the cost of tuition at state colleges and universities. And coming to a campus near you might be the Rouses Market TOPS Scholarship, the Cajun Industries TOPS Scholarship or the TOPS Scholarship Opportunity Award, powered by Entergy. That is if state officials agree to a Regents staff recommendation to sell naming rights for the cash-strapped program to increase private funding. Staff members presented these and a host of other draft recommendations to the Board of Regents on Monday. Most would require the Legislature's approval. The report, required by Act 619 of 2016, confronts fiscal realities. Louisiana taxpayer support for colleges has plummeted.
 
Regents asked to lease property to two UGA sororities, sell a farm for $2.2 million
The University System of Georgia was asked to lease two properties to University of Georgia sororities while selling an 865-acre farm in eastern Georgia for $2.2 million, according to the agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the Georgia Board of Regents. Two Regents-owned properties in Athens would be leased to the Eta Chapter of the Sigma Delta Tau Sorority and the Beta Sigma Chapter of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, respectively, according to the agenda. As UGA works to consolidate its real estate holdings throughout the state, it has deemed these properties "no longer advantageously useful to UGA or other units of the University System of Georgia," and is asking the Regents to set up an initial 30-year term lease with both sororities.
 
New bill grants Kentucky governor sweeping power over universities
A bill filed by Senate President Robert Stivers would grant sweeping powers to the governor to abolish every public educational governing board in Kentucky, including all eight state universities, the Kentucky Board of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education. Senate Bill 107 would allow Gov. Matt Bevin to remove a member or an entire board if he finds that the member or board is no longer functioning according to statutory mandate. That includes the "inability to hold regular meetings, to elect a chairperson, to establish a quorum, or to reach consensus among its members in order to carry out its primary function." Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, called the proposal "a huge power grab."
 
Digital Green founder shows AgriLife audience at Texas A&M how tech can help agriculture
Rikin Gandhi's childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut led him to a different frontier: agriculture. The 35-year-old's nonprofit company, Digital Green, has worked to provide agricultural education to those in need through technology. Gandhi was the keynote speaker Monday at the 2017 Texas A&M AgriLife Conference, being held this week on the Texas A&M campus. He told attendees from around the state how the company he co-founded in 2008 is using technology and existing support groups to engage with small-land farmers in rural communities through video content featuring real farmers demonstrating new techniques. Gandhi earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University and a master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical space engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
 
Jeb Bush, son to speak at Texas A&M
The Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M is inviting the public Tuesday to hear former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush discuss his experiences as Florida's governor, as well as the impact gubernatorial leadership has on all levels of government. Bush -- who will be in the midst of a 10-day lecture stint at the school named for his father, former President George H.W. Bush -- will take the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center's stage at 6 p.m. Following his remarks, his son, Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush, will join him to continue the discussion about public service. A year ago this winter, Bush was running for president in the Republican primary but dropped out in February after poor showings during the non-traditional campaign.
 
Embry-Riddle and Temple top U.S. News online college rankings
For the second straight year, a private university specializing in aviation and aerospace has claimed the top spot in the U.S. News and World Report list of online bachelor's degree programs. Just behind Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide in the rankings released Tuesday are several large public universities seeking to use technology to expand their market profile. The online market for higher education is large and fluid. Mississippi State University's online MBA program was ranked at No. 18 on the list of top programs.
 
Twitter Campaign Urges Betsy DeVos to Make Title IX a Priority
Activists and college students are using Twitter to urge Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald J. Trump's nominee for education secretary, to make priorities of combating sexual assault and enforcing Title IX policy. Ms. DeVos's confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11. Although Ms. DeVos hasn't shared much of her plans for higher education and her background is mainly in elementary and secondary education, the activists and students fear she may change Title IX policies.
 
Survey finds gender gap in presidential spouse expectations
College presidents' partners and spouses aren't all wives hosting receptions in the president's house. Many work jobs outside of their role as presidential partners. A growing number are men. And many say the expectations placed upon them by a college or university influence their spouse's decision to work as the institution's president. A new study from University of Minnesota researchers examines the role of the presidential spouse or partner at a time when it is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. Researchers called the survey, which was released Monday after being presented at the Council of Independent Colleges' Presidents Institute last week, the "largest and most diverse known sample of presidential partners to date." The results of the study, which involved the leaders of public and private colleges, were earlier presented at a CIC meeting.
 
High Court Argument to Center on Level of Benefits for Special Education
When the U.S. Supreme Court made its first substantive interpretation in 1982 of the main federal special education law, it was careful to say that courts should not impose their own view of education adequacy upon states and districts for children covered by the law. In that case, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, the court created a definition of a "free, appropriate public education" in the special education arena that has stood for decades. Under the definition, special education must confer "some educational benefit." But in a case set to be argued Jan. 11, the court is weighing in on what "some" should mean. The question at hand: What level of educational benefit must school districts provide to students with disabilities in order for them to receive that free, appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State's Ben Howland sticking with new starting lineup
Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland plans to stick with the same starting lineup he used during the win over LSU when the Bulldogs travel to Arkansas on Tuesday. Howland met with the media prior to leaving for Fayetteville to discuss his team's matchup with the Razorbacks.
 
Coach Mike Anderson, Hogs aim to rebound
Arkansas' men's basketball team will look to bounce back from a 26-point loss at Kentucky when the Razorbacks play Mississippi State tonight at Walton Arena. The No. 6 Wildcats beat the Razorbacks 97-71 last Saturday night at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., pulling away after leading 41-38 at halftime. "Kentucky is a great team, so that can happen to anybody in our conference, and to anybody in the country for that matter," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said. "Arkansas will respond. I'm sure. and come back with a renewed emphasis on everything they do." The Bulldogs (10-4, 1-1) won 95-78 at LSU last Saturday. "I hope that inspires confidence," Howland said. "It's a very important thing to have when you're playing the game.
 
Mississippi State football adds 11 newcomers on Monday
Mississippi State's football roster swelled on Monday as 11 newcomers joined the team to begin classes for the spring semester. Four of the enrollees are early high school graduates, three of which arrived from in-state. Lafayette cornerback Tyler Williams came in along with Ocean Springs wide receiver Austin Williams and Pascagoula defensive tackle James Jackson. All three Magnolia State prospects were rated as three-stars. That trio was also accompanied by four-star quarterback Keytaon Thompson, who was Louisiana's Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year. Thompson completed 198 of 331 passes for 3,825 yards, 46 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while also rushing 152 times for 1,434 yards and 26 more scores while leading Landry-Walker to a Class 5A state championship. Seven junior college players that signed national letters of intent last month also started classes on Monday.
 
Mississippi State's Leo Lewis earns Freshman All-American honor
Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis is the first player in program history to be recognized as a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, which was established in 2001. Lewis started all 13 games and led all Southeastern Conference freshmen with 79 tackles -- 30 more than any other player in the league. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Brookhaven also added 4.5 stops for loss and a sack. Lewis is the sixth Bulldog to receive distinction as a Freshman All-American joining Mardye McDole (1977), Billy Jackson (1980), Corey Broomfield (2009), Benardrick McKinney (2012) and Chris Jones (2013).
 
Outgoing AD Bill McGillis reflects on time at Southern Miss
Bill McGillis vividly recalls one of his primary bullet points from his introduction as athletic director at Southern Miss in July 2013. "I referenced winning with people," he said. Now, as he transitions out of that office after formally accepting a similar position at the University of San Diego more than three weeks ago, McGillis is confident he accomplished that. "Whatever progress has been made, that's how we did it," he said. "Collectively." Officially, McGillis has one week left at Southern Miss before taking over as athletic director and associate vice president at San Diego. The Seattle native is set to take over Jan. 23. Director of sports performance Zac Woodfin is serving as interim athletic director until McGillis' permanent replacement is named.
 
All In, All Win: Tigers on top of the world after winning title, avenging loss to Tide
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney stated leading up to the national championship game the Tigers would only win if they were able to knock out the champs, Alabama, not just knock them down. With one second remaining, Deshaun Watson and Hunter Renfrow delivered the finishing blow. Watson connected with Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown pass with one second on the clock as the Tigers topped Alabama 35-31 to win their first national title since 1981. "Eight years ago our goal was to work our tails off and eventually get Clemson back on top. ...The paw is flying on top of that mountain tonight," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. "We saw the top of it last year, didn't get quite there. Tonight we took that next step."
 
Crimson Tide fans not used to losing in title game
First, there was a stunned silence. Some fans wept. Others hugged, comforting each other. Yet another group took a different approach, expressing disappointment with a few select obscenities or kicking bar stools. University of Alabama fans went on an emotional roller coaster ride in the final minutes of the Crimson Tide's 35-31 loss to Clemson in Monday night's national championship game at Innisfree Irish Pub in Tuscaloosa. UA junior Michael Birschbach, a Boston native, boarded a plane at 3 a.m. on Monday morning so he could watch the game in Tuscaloosa. He arrived at the pub at noon for pregame festivities. "I'm from Boston, so I am a Patriots fan, so I obviously assume the Patriots are going to win a Super Bowl every year, and I also go to Alabama, so I expect Alabama to win a national championship every year. If either of those teams don't win the championship, it's just, I'm completely disappointed."



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