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  • Uniform roundup: Sweet helmets at Nevada and Butler, stars and stripes and Kelly Tough

    Nevada is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a state, and the Wolf Pack will apparently mark the occasion by wearing these ultra, ultra-chrome helmets. I want one of these for my office.

    Nevada chrome

    Many programs will honor Veteran’s Day this weekend, but few will do it better than Butler. The Bulldogs will remember the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a cruiser that did not survive World War II – marking the greatest loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

    A brief history lesson, courtesy of Butler’s release:

    The USS Indianapolis was a highly decorated heavy cruiser.  During World War II the Indy was Flagship of the Fifth Fleet under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance. Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk in twelve minutes.  The Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission, delivering component parts of the first atomic bomb to the U.S. air base at Tinian Island, where it would later be dropped on the Japanese City of Hiroshima. Those who survived the torpedo blasts, abandoned ship and floated for almost five days in shark-infested waters before they were accidentally spotted by Navy pilot Lt. Wilber C. Gwinn who was flying a routine mission. With a total crew of 1,196 Sailors and Marines, only 317 men lived to tell the story of their ordeal.   

    Survivors Don McCall of Champaign, Illinois and Dick Thelen of Lansing, Michigan, along with their families and friends, will join the Butler University football team at their game this Saturday.  Also attending will be Mrs. Mary O’Donnell, widow of USS Indianapolis Survivor James E. O’Donnell, the only Sailor from the City of Indianapolis to survive the sinking.  Mr. O’Donnell, who spent his career as an Indianapolis firefighter, passed away in January 2013 at the age of 92. 

    This is what the Bulldogs will wear Saturday versus Morehead State:

    Butler 1

    Butler 2

    Butler 3

    Other programs trading their colors for stars and stripes this weekend include Northwestern State…

    … South Florida

    South Florida rwb

    … and Minnesota.

    And finally, cancer survivor Jim Kelly will be in the house for Miami’s game with North Carolina on Saturday, and the Canes will wear Kelly Tough decals to support their former quarterback.

  • Check out Kentucky’s new football app

    Your team just won a major, season-changing road game. The plane will land back at home at 11 p.m. Your head coach would love it if fans could great the team at the airport, but what’s the best way to get out the message?

    There’s Twitter, of course. But even Twitter, great as it is, doesn’t guarantee your fans will see it. Thanks to its new app, Kentucky won’t have to worry about getting the word out.

    Our friends at JumpForward have produced the Wildcats’ app puts the entire Kentucky football universe’s social media accounts in one place, and lets UK fans behind the curtain of their favorite team.

    Kentucky 1

    Kentucky 2

    Check out more in the App Store.

  • Fitz: “I’m going to get fired as a coach before I get fired as a dad or a husband.”


    We’ve been consistent on this site in saying that there are things in life more important than football, and family is at the top of that list. It’s about having the proper perspective on life, and few have a better perspective on life than Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

    In an interview with WGN Radio in Chicago, Fitzgerald touched on balancing family and football.

    “It’s a challenge,” he said. “It takes a very special, special wife, and my wife Stacy is amazing. She’s very independent. I think she should get a C.O. or whatever license to be able to drive the bus that she has to drive with all these kids going to sporting events. I’m just very thankful she and the boys allow me to be a mentor and a person that develops young men with 112 other guys. It’s kind of crazy, you feel like you’ve got 115 kids.”

    While many coaches from previous generations treated football and family like the government treats church and state, Fitz’s generation sees it differently.

    “We have a blast. It’s a great family profession. It starts with leadership in our athletic department. (Athletics director) Jim Phillips allows us to have balance as coaches. I really think that’s important. I’m going to get fired as a coach before I get fired as a dad or a husband. I think the previous generation in my profession did not break that way, and Coach (Gary) Barnett and Coach (Gary) Walker were definitely family men. I think I was raised the right way in this profession.”

    With five bowl trips (and counting) since 2008, Fitzgerald isn’t in danger of being fired by Northwestern any time soon. And it’s safe to say he’s signed a lifetime contract with his wife and three sons as well.

  • Week 10 Best Bets – The FootballScoop staff weighs in

    We had our first fence post week in Week 9, going 1-1-1 as a staff. Zach hit Georgia Southern blowing out Georgia State, Doug missed on Alabama -17 at Tennessee, and Scott pushed on Mississippi State +14 at Kentucky.

    Scott: washington-state.120 over usc.120

    I like Washington State getting 9.5 vs USC on a cool and potentially wet afternoon on the Palouse. It’s hard to believe that Mike Leach’s team is 2-6 right now; but I don’t see them quitting and there always seems to be something in Sark that brings out the beast in Wazzu. I see this as a final possession type game. Don’t know if they win the game outright or not, but I really like Washington State plus 9.5.

    Doug: odu-logo over vanderbilt.120

    Vanderbilt’s only two wins this season have come against UMass (by 3) and Charleston Southern (by one). ODU doesn’t have the same offensive firepower that they did last year, but they won’t need all of it to cover the spread as +7 dogs to the Commodores. I wouldn’t be surprised if the flat out won this one.

    Zach: auburn.120 over ole-miss.120

    I’m concerned that Ole Miss couldn’t beat LSU despite the tigers placing the win in their hands multiple times, and the Rebels aren’t running the ball like teams that compete for SEC championships usually do. Meanwhile, I think Auburn is really, really good, and I think they come away with a 7-10 point win.


    This season: Scott (3-5-1), Doug (3-6), Zach (5-3-1)

  • Photos: Northern Illinois unveils Huskie Stadium stadium renovations

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 8.45.31 AM

    Northern Illinois has worked to position itself as the Boise State of the Midwest, and has lived up to that self-appointed billing by winning on the field with four straight MAC West titles and two conference crowns and by lining up a national non-conference schedule. Boise State built its brand by doing both of those.

    Next comes facilities, and the Huskies announced a new grand master plan on Thursday

    “This is a launching point for Huskie Athletics,” athletics director Sean T. Frazier said in the announcement. “Now that we have the plan, we will move forward with the evaluation of the projects to determine our priorities. I know that I’m excited for the next steps because we have the passion, the drive and the determination to make it happen, and it’s going to be outstanding.”

    The master plan will touch about every corner of the Northern Illinois athletics campus, with football’s Huskie Stadium at the top of the list. “Three areas of Huskie Stadium are addressed, with the East Side receiving a major makeover with premium suites and club seating, the creation of a new South Endzone, and phased improvements to the West Side,” reads the release.

    Capacity presently sits at 24,000. No official figures have been released, but the new project figures to boost that figure above 30,000.

    The East side:

    NIU east


    East side interior:

    NIU east 2

    West side:

    NIU west


    South side:

    NIU south


    As a point of reference, here is Huskie Stadium in its current form:

    Huskie Stadium

    A timetable for construction was not listed in Northern Illinois’ press release.