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Mr. Sports: Football, Rocketman, and MVP

We’re about a week away from the start of the 2012 football season with both the high school and college seasons kicking off.

The prep games during the first week of the campaign will feature Bob Jones at Northridge and James Clemens hosting Johnson, both on Friday. Madison Academy opens its season on Thursday at Tanner.

James Clemens, in its first ever season, will play its home games at the Madison City Schools Stadium.

SEC Football

The highly anticipated college football season gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 30 with three SEC teams in action. Kicking off at 6 p.m. (ESPN) will be South Carolina at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 9 in the season opening Associated Press poll. With a 6:30 p.m. kickoff time, one of the two new schools in the SEC this season, Texas A&M will be at Louisiana Tech (ESPNU).

There is one game set for Friday, Aug. 31 as the Tennessee Volunteers will travel to North Carolina State to face the Wolfpack with the game set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU).

On Saturday, Sept. 1, the bevy of games include: Jacksonville State at (10) Arkansas (PPV), Buffalo at (6) Georgia (11 a.m.- Channel 54), Bowling Green at (23) Florida (2:30 p.m.- ESPN), (14) Clemson vs. Auburn in Atlanta (6 p.m.- ESPN), North Texas at (3) LSU (6 p.m. – ESPNU), Central Arkansas at Ole Miss ( 6 p.m.- PPV), Jackson State at Mississippi State (6 p.m.- FSN), Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri, the second of the two new schools in the SEC (6 p.m.- PPV), and (8) Michigan vs. (2) Alabama in Dallas (7 p.m.- Channel 31).

Something different helps kick off the new football season with a rare Sunday game. On Sept. 2, Kentucky will be at (25) Louisville (2:30 p.m.- ESPN).

Super 6 Football

The Alabama High School Athletic Association has extended its contract to rotate the Super 6 state football championships at Auburn and Alabama through 2020. Bryant-Denny Stadium in T-Town will host the games in 2013, 2015, 2017 while Jordan-Hare Stadium will be the site for the games in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

This season’s titles games in the six different classifications will be held Dec. 6-7.

Rocketman Triathlon

The 19th Annual Rocketman Triathlon is scheduled for this Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Carroll D. Hudson Recreation Area on Redstone Arsenal. The event is a USAT Sanctioned Olympic Distance Triathlon put on by the Team Rocket Tri-Club.

The three-event race, swim, bike and run, is the third event in the Alabama Championship Series. The race is limited to 500 competitors. Mike Gerrity heads up the event and indicates the entry limit is being met with participants representing nine states.

“We have a new event in conjunction with the triathlon this year,” said Gerrity. “We’re hosting the Aquabike where those not wishing to participate in the run portion of the race will just be able swim and bike and will cover the same courses as the triathlon in the swim (1.5K) and bike (40 K). The remainder of the participants will also tackle the run portion of the event (10 K).

The race of endurance is grueling, challenging and at times unbearable for those athletes willing to put their minds and bodies through a gut-wrenching event.

Hunter Morris MVP?

The Huntsville Stars will host its final home stand of the 2012 season Aug. 24-28. This will probably be the last chance to see Huntsville’s own Hunter Morris play at Joe Davis Stadium as he’s expected to be called up next season by the Milwaukee Brewers after the Huntsville native had a banner season this year representing what many consider good enough to be named Most Valuable Player of the Southern League.

Heading into the last two weeks of the season, Morris is first in the Southern League in homers, slugging percentage and doubles. He is second in hits and RBIs. He’s third in batting average while hitting .300 for the year.

His stats compare greatly with other MVP seasons and in many areas top those past MVP numbers. It will be a travesty if he does not win the honor. The 23-year old first baseman played at Grissom High and went on to All-Star performances at Auburn.

My predictions for the first week of the football season (I was 82% correct on my picks for last season) include: Tennessee beats N.C. State, Auburn upsets Clemson and Alabama hangs on to win against Michigan in a showdown of the SEC versus the Big Ten.

BTW, my pick for the national champ for the upcoming season: Southern Cal.

By Bob Labbe