SPORTS: FEEL GOOD STORY OF THE WEEKEND: Behind “Mini-Cam,” Howard Bison Pull Off Biggest Upset In NCAA FB History — Visiting 45-Point Underdogs From DC Stun UNLV 43-40 In Sin City!

The Washington Post reports:

“I mean, coming to Howard, it’s not a football school right now,” Caylin Newton said last month. “It will be.”

The undersized freshman quarterback — whose brother happens to be a former NFL MVP, guy named Cam — wasn’t trying to make headlines. He was speaking matter-of-factly, in a cramped office, before an early-season practice. He hadn’t even been named the school’s starter yet, although he was confident that moment would arrive. But Newton seemed absurdly certain that his new school — which he selected after not getting offers from any Power-5 programs — was ready to take off, and soon.

Newton later became the starter, and his first game went far beyond any rational preseason rhetoric. The Bison, 40-some point underdogs at UNLV, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport late Saturday night, a 43-40 road win in Coach Mike London’s first game that will completely upend all expectations at the D.C. school.

Longtime Vegas analyst RJ Bell said Howard’s win was the biggest upset in college football history, noting that a $100 bet on the Bison to win outright would have paid out an astounding $55,000. The Associated Press confirmed that it was indeed the largest upset in college football history based on point spreads, topping Stanford’s win over USC as a 40-point underdog in 2007. And Howard was actually paid $600,000 for the honor of beating UNLV, according to USA Today, which reported that “Howard had to arrange for its band and cheerleaders to arrive in Las Vegas by noon the day before the game to participate in various events” to receive the full guarantee.”


Read the complete report at the link. Nice story!

Oh, yeah, after a sluggish start that saw them down 10-0 to four touchdown underdog Utah State in the second quarter, the #9 Wisconsin Badgers reeled off 59 consecutive points en route to a 59-10 thrashing of the Aggies in their opener at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. Go Badgers!




THE AM TWEET: Trump Will Nominate DOJ Vet Christopher A. Wray For FBI Post!

Here’s the blurb from HuffPost:

Sounds like an appropriate choice. My questions: 1) why does he want this job working in the Trump Administration, which has demonstrated a lack of respect for an independent investigative authority within the DOJ, 2) how long will he last before he quits or is fired?

On the other hand, Wray leaves a lucrative “big law” partnership to which he can return at any time.



Badgers Struggle But Outlast Nebraska 70-69 In OT!

The #7 Wisconsin Badgers struggled, particularly on offense, but still managed to edge the not-very-good (10-14) Nebraska Cornhuskers 60-59 in overtime at Lincoln, NE. Senior forward Nigel Hayes had a huge second half and finished with 20 points, including a three-pointer that turned out to be the game winner.  Sensational redshirt freshman center Ethan Happ had a tough night, managing only 8 points, but had a key blocked shot and takeaway to help seal the victory. Bucky shot a horrible 36.5% from the field, missing shot after shot in the first half to keep the Huskers in the game. They were also soundly out-rebounded by Nebraska 50-37. The Badgers improved to 21-3 overall, 10-1 Big Ten, remained in first place, and will next host the surprising Northwestern Wildcats at the Kohl Center in Madison at 6:30 EST (5:30 CST) on  Sunday evening.




Washington Post: A Syrian Refugee Family In “Trump Country” Finds Welcome, Kindness, Acceptance In The Heartland — Changing Views & Opinions One Human Being At A Time!

Robert Samuels writes:

“Here in deeply conservative Nebraska, President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim nations elicited complicated feelings about the state’s relationship with refugees. Many Nebraskans had supported attempts to keep the country safe but still wanted to show their heart for people fleeing terrorism and war. Their state has taken in more refugees per capita than any other.

During the presidential campaign, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) became a prime critic of Trump in large part because of his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. When Trump signed the executive order, Sasse criticized it as “too broad.” On Sunday, Sasse criticized Trump again, this time for tweeting about the “so-called judge” who halted the order late Friday.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who has supported a ban on Syrians from the moment Trump first pitched it, has also talked about welcoming refugees already here as a source of statewide pride.

. . . .

“I worry this ban will change how I feel inside, that it will cause me to worry more for me and my kids. We did not come here to cause trouble. We just want to live.”

. . . .

The Syrian city of Aleppo had been so dangerous that she delivered her twins in her own home, too afraid to go to the hospital. Two months later, she wrapped them tight and carried them on her shoulders as she walked through the desert at night to reach a Jordanian refugee camp. There were no bombs there, but there were no teachers for her children, either. Now her kids learn the alphabet at school, and she had an English teacher herself.

For so long she had been running away. Now, she was stepping out.”


This matches up with my own experience when I attended the Badger v. Nebraska game at Camp Randall Stadium last October.  I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know some of the Nebraska fans.

They were great.  Since both schools’ colors are red and white, it was pretty hard to tell them from Badger fans except that their group seemed a little older, somewhat less inebriated, and considerably less rowdy than the Wisconsin contingent.

I was struck by the fact that although the Huskers had just lost an overtime thriller to the Badgers 23-17 on a play that probably could have been called either way, nobody was griping about the call, blaming the referees, or taking anything away from the Badgers. And, for our part, the Badger fans acknowledged that Nebraska had played a great game that could easily have come out the other way. The overall message from “Husker Nation” was that they had fun in Madison, appreciated the hospitality, looked forward to returning, and wished the Badgers well for the rest of the season as I did the Huskers.



Sluggish Badgers Hold Off Western Michigan to Win the Cotton Bowl!

The favored Wisconsin Badgers did just enough to hand the outmanned but game Western Michigan Broncos their first defeat of the season, 24-16 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The lackluster performance gave the Badgers an 11-3 mark for the season, while the Mid America Conference Champion Broncos, who entered the game as the only undefeated “BCS” team besides Alabama, dropped to 13-1.

The Badgers came out in the first quarter looking like they were going to do what a bigger, stronger, more athletic team should do when faced with a highly motivated yet less-talented opponent — ram the ball right down their collective throats and end the game early. Behind senior quarterback Bart Houston and an initially punishing running game led by senior running back Corey Clement and the outsized offensive line, the Badgers put together touchdown marches of 75 and 88 yards to lead 14-0. It looked like a laugher.

But, thereafter, the Badgers allowed the smaller, less-talented Broncos to push them all over the field, on offense and defense, outscoring Bucky 16-10, to make a game out of it. After Houston ably led the first two drives, completing all of his passes, Badger Coach Paul Chryst did what he often has done this season – switched to freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook. The results were immediate – on a third and long Hornibrook lobbed a long, but not crisp, pass that forced receiver George Rushing to come back on the ball, failing to pick up a first down needed to keep the drive going. Wisconsin punted.

Reminiscent of the Penn State debacle, which cost the Badgers a shot at the Rose Bowl, the offense then largely went dormant. Indeed, the only other Badger touchdown was set up by a defensive interception by sophomore inside linebacker T.J. Edwards, who ironically had initially committed to play for the Broncos.

The Badgers also benefitted from several questionable decisions by Broncos Head Coach P.J. Fleck. First, Fleck apparently decided not to have his coaching staff study Wisconsin game film. The Wisconsin field goal was set up by a 51- yard wide receiver sweep by Jazz Peavy – a carbon copy of one that Wisconsin had run successfully in many games this season, until opposing coaches finally caught on. The Broncos also helped the Badgers by continuing to “grind out” yards and occupy clock, even well into the fourth quarter when down by two scores, rather than speeding up the offense and forcing the ball downfield.

The undisputed star for the Badgers was junior tight end Troy Fumagalli, who caught six balls, at least two of them spectacular, for 83 yards and a touchdown. On the other hand, the supposedly “shut down” Wisconsin defense, failed to mount a consistent pass rush against the Broncos smaller offensive line, managed not to corral several Bronco fumbles that were right in front of them, and the Badger defensive backs more or less stood and watched while Bronco quarterback Zach Terrell lobbed a desperation “ripe banana” pass to Corey Davis in the end zone with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter to bring the Broncos within eight. Thereafter the Badgers were able to recover the onside kick and run out the clock to avoid embarrassment and preserve the less than inspiring victory.

The Badger football season is over. On to basketball, where the #14 UW Men (12-2, 1-0, BT) take on the #16 Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington tomorrow night.

Modest suggestion for Coach Chryst:  Next season, if you want to give your “future stars” some real-time game experience, why not use your superior size and talent to put games like this “out of reach” early before bringing in the next set of “Hornibrooks?”  Houston wasn’t going to compete for the Heisman Trophy, but he was a competent senior quarterback who provided some offensive consistency and was more mobile with a better arm than Hornibrook. The bizarre move to Hornibrook early in the Cotton Bowl let a reeling, discombobulated, and totally outmatched WMU team back into the game.  Bad move!  It also made the game tedious for the fans, as WMU lacked the talent to win while Wisconsin lacked the “oomph” to put the game away.






Razorback FB Player Charged With Ripping Off Belk Store Shortly Before Team’s Appearance in Belk Bowl! — Thought He Was At Walmart?

“Part of the player gift for Thursday’s Belk Bowl between Virginia Tech and Arkansas was a $450 gift card to the Belk department store in Charlotte’s SouthPark Mall and 90 minutes to spend it on anything the players would like.

For Arkansas senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, that apparently wasn’t enough.

Arkansas announced two hours before kickoff that Sprinkle had been suspended. He was the Razorbacks’ No. 3 receiver this season with 33 catches, 380 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season, and although the team did not reveal what the suspension was for, SEC Country’s Jason Kersey reported Sprinkle was caught shoplifting during the team’s shopping spree earlier this week.”

Meanwhile, on the field, former Badger Coach Brett Bielma’s Arkansas Razorbacks squandered a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a 35-24 thrashing at the hands of the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Led by Bud Foster’s resuscitated second half defense and quarterback Jerod Evans, the Hokies scored five unanswered touchdowns. Bielma won lots of games at Wisconsin, but not many of the big ones.  Guess things haven’t changed much for Ol’ Brett down in Fayetteville.