by John Walters
1. Road Kill
Seven up, four down.
Seven unbeatens did the “Road Trip!” thing last Saturday. Three of them (Michigan, Clemson, Washington) won and will be amongst the Selection Committee’s top four in its initial rankings tomorrow. The other four—Nebraska, Baylor, West Virginia and Boise State—lost.
Most notable defeat? The Broncos, who gave up a safety in the final 90 seconds at Wyoming to lose 30-28. I’m not sure if there’s ever been a more noteworthy sports moment in the state of Wyoming.
Two implications: 1) Right now the playoff four is set, barring an upset, which there will almost certainly be. Keep an eye on Bama at LSU, Auburn at Bama, Michigan at Ohio State (hardly an upset), and USC at U-Dub. 2) Western Michigan, which only plays one more team with a winning record, is going to be your Group of 5 major bowl selection.
I’m offended that they allowed a fan into the game with this.
Is this what @UWMadison and @UWBadgers supports? pic.twitter.com/izvzMOqgEG
— Nigel Hayes (@NIGEL_HAYES) October 30, 2016
Meanwhile in Madison, two fans dressed up for Halloween (?) as POTUS in a noose. They were not kicked out of the Nebraska-Wisconsin game, just told to remove the costume. Outspoken Badger ‘baller Nigel Hayes had a problem with that.
2. Cub Your Enthusiasm
Chicago avoids elimination with a 3-2 win and an eight-out save by Aroldis Chapman, whose cap was festooned with “JF 16” in honor of fallen countryman Jose Fernandez.
Meanwhile, here’s what the Cubs (cough cough, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez) should work on during today’s off day: not striking out. The Cubs have whiffed 53 times through five games, or 10.6 times per game. They’ve drawn just 15 walks as opposed to that. Throw out Game 2, where they drew 8 walks and struck out just 8 times, and those figures would be 45 and 5 (of course, you can’t throw out 20% of a sample to make a point, unless you’re FiveThirtyEight.com, which we are not).
3. Setting His Own Pace
Is it too soon to call Oregon’s Edward Cheserek the best collegiate distance runner of all time? Nope.
Last Friday the senior from Newark (and before that, Kenya) won his fourth consecutive Pac-12 men’s cross-country individual title. A few former Pac-10/Pac-12 runners who never accomplished that feat: Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Henry Rono.
A few weeks from now in Terre Haute, Ind., Cheserek, 22, will seek to become the first man to ever win four NCAA X-Country individual titles.
4. Of Emails and Females
It seems that FBI director James Comey also wanted to be part of the CYA. No, that’s not a typo (for once). I mean he wants to be part of “Cover Your Ass.” In an effort to not later be seen as showing favoritism to the Clinton campaign, he appears to have bent over Simon Biles-style in the other direction by sending a vague letter to Congress last Friday, an unprecedented step.
Be clear on this, history: If the FBI were not independently investigating Anthony Weiner’s sexting, none of this ever comes up. And if Weiner hadn’t been married to Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, that connection never occurs. If you’re wondering how come powerful institutions avoid the spouses or family members of disgraced characters, this is your exhibit A.
Not sure what HRC actually did wrong. Neither is anyone else, including Donald Trump or James Comey. But, like the buzzword “Benghazi!”, it causes the Trump-kins to salivate. There’s just something funny about a presidential candidate who won’t release any of his tax returns preening about his opponent having an uncovered emails problem, no?
Meanwhile, Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald notes the hypocrisy of Trump crowing about hidden emails. I love Kurt, and if Trump wins I’ll be sure to visit him monthly in whatever gulag Trump places him in.
5. Jose Fernandez
This is not the last word on the Jose Fernandez situation, just the latest. Last Friday the Miami Herald sued the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s office for not releasing the autopsy and toxicology reports on the Miami Marlin pitcher, who died in late September in a boating crash that took the lives of himself and two other men on the boat.
That legal action prompted a letter from Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez that basically said, “Don’t look at us; Florida Fish & Wildlife says this is still an active criminal investigation.”
To which the Miami Herald replied, rightly, “Everyone on board the boat is dead; whom could you be investigating?”
To which Gimenez replied, “Hey, FF&W, you wanna be part of this lawsuit?”
To which FF&W replied, ‘Uh, no.”
To which the ME’s office released the reports, which tell us that Fernandez had cocaine in his system and was intoxicated by nearly twice the legal limit (,147 as compared to .08). The other two victims, Emilo Macias and Eduardo Rivero, both had alcohol levels BELOW the legal limit but the latter had coke in his system.
Meanwhile, authorities have interviewed a “highly reliable” witness who said that Fernandez was not driving, that he was on a cellphone at the time of the crash. None of this brings the three men back, none of it taints what Fernandez did on the diamond. It’s just the latest story, and won’t be the last, of young men being reckless. And paying for it with the highest possible price.
This is the only version of Bobby Pickett’s quirky 1962 “graveyard smash” in which the artist is seen performing it (even if he is lip-synching). Pickett, an aspiring actor, did a Boris Karloff impersonation for friends and they encouraged him to to more with it. This was the result. The lyric “Now my ‘Monster Mash’ is the hit of the land” were prophetic: the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart the week before Halloween that year.
Halloween AMC 2 p.m.
The Shining IFC 4:30 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.
House on Haunted Hill TCM 4:30 p.m.
The Strangers SyFY 7 p.m.
Best movie of the bunch? “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” Halloween is the godfather of horny teens -paying-for-it fright fests, House on Haunted Hill is classic Vincent Price, and The Strangers is the spookiest film I’ve seen in the past decade (wish the ending had been a little less sadistic, though)