With future uncertain, Jets’ Frank Gore doesn’t want to end his career with a winless season

Frank Gore has encountered almost every possible scenario over the course of his long NFL career. He’s gone to a Super Bowl and finished last in a division while suiting up for five different teams.

But it took 16 seasons to encounter something like he has with the Jets.

The team fell to 0-10 with a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, officially making the Jets the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention this season. That was a foregone conclusion, and now the possibility of a winless season is firmly on the table for Gore and the Jets.

No player wants to endure 16 games of hell without sniffing a single victory. But for the Gore, the timeless 37-year-old running back, the future is very much up in the air, and he doesn’t want a winless season to be his final memory of the NFL.

“I’d say it’s tough, because of the stage of my career. When I was younger in (San Fransisco), I always felt like, ‘I got time, I got time.’ And now, I don’t know if I’m going to play next year,” Gore said. “But you just never know. And I’ve got to be real with myself. You know how teams think about my age, and they might not want a 38-year-old running back on the team. But it’s tough because I don’t know about next year.”

To be clear, Gore didn’t say he intends to retire after this season. If he makes that decision, it will come in the offseason. But the realist in Gore knows that decision could be made for him, just based on how teams view veteran running backs.

Gore scored his first touchdown of the season on Sunday, and while the Jets have firmly committed to getting younger players more time on the field, the veteran running back still has a consistent role each week.

The motivation for Gore to keep giving it his all is simple. He wants to show everyone he’s still capable of playing at the NFL level, and he desires to get the Jets at least one victory.

“When you’re up at (my) age with the position I play, guys in the front office, some people don’t go by tape,” Gore said. “They go by, ‘OK, he’s going to be 38 at that position, he’s going to lose something.’ And I think every organization I’ve been in, they know the way I work. If they really know me, they’ll know I’ll be OK if I want to play. Because they know I’m going to give it my all in the offseason to get ready, to help whatever organization that wants me to be on their team. But sometimes it don’t work like that, and I know this.

“So I’ve got to keep it real with myself. But while I’m here, I’m going to try my best to get these young men everything I’ve got, just to get the first win, on the practice field

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N.J.’s Bobby and Danny Hurley are excited for college basketball, but uncertain how COVID-19 plays out

The last time Bobby or Danny Hurley coached a basketball game was back in March, just before their conference tournaments, and ultimately the NCAA Tournament was canceled by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now the Jersey City natives and former St. Anthony’s High School stars are both poised to begin coaching again on Wednesday when the 2020-21 college basketball season tips off.

Both brothers hope their seasons end with deep runs in the first NCAA Tournament to be held in a bubble, likely in Indianapolis. But how the season plays out, and how many games are disrupted or canceled amid the pandemic, is anybody’s guess.

Before the season even begins, Arizona State’s schedule has been thrown into disarray when Baylor coach Scott Drew announced Sunday he had tested positive for COVID. No. 2 Baylor was set to face No. 18 Arizona State Wednesday in the Empire Classic at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., but now Baylor won’t appear in the event at all. Instead, Rhode Island will face Arizona State, with No. 3 Villanova facing Boston College in the other game Wednesday. The event continues Thursday.

“I think having gone through this the last eight months or so, it’s given you a greater appreciation for the opportunity to do what you love to do and so our guys are very excited to start,” Bobby Hurley, the coach of Arizona State, told NJ Advance Media.


Already during the preseason, more than 30 Division 1 schools have paused or canceled their seasons due to positive COVID tests, including pauses by seven of the Big East’s 11 teams. The NCAA recommends a 14-day pause for any Tier-1 indiviual who tests positive, which includes student-athletes and essential basketball personnel whose job function requires direct access to players on a regular basis.

Seton Hall went into a pause Nov. 11 and is expected to emerge this week ahead of their season-opener Friday at Louisville. Baylor is slated to play Seton Hall on Sunday at Prudential Center, but that game was in limbo as of Monday night.

Danny Hurley’s UConn team came out of quarantine on Nov. 19 and is due to open the season Wednesday against Central Connecticut State. The Ivy League became the first Division I conference to cancel winter sports, impacting eight men’s and eight women’s programs. Eleven games initially scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed or canceled, including Rick Pitino’s debut at Iona, according to ESPN.

“If it’s happening to all these programs already, the likelihood [is] that you’re going to be subjected to a stoppage or a cancellation, a missed game, you just gotta be really adaptable and prepared to hold things together for when things are going bad at any point this year,” said Bobby Hurley, who led Duke to two NCAA championships in the early 1990s and was the No. 7 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft.

After his team announced a positive COVID

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After 20 years of service, the Space Station flies into an uncertain future

The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.
Enlarge / The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.


The Cold War had been concluded for less than a decade when NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, crammed themselves into a Soyuz spacecraft and blasted into orbit on Halloween, 20 years ago.

Two days later their small spacecraft docked with the International Space Station, then a fraction of the size it is today. Their arrival would herald the beginning of what has since become 20 years of continuous habitation of the laboratory that NASA, leading an international partnership, would continue to build for another decade.

Born of a desire to smooth geopolitical tensions in the aftermath of the great conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, the space station partnership has more or less succeeded—the station has remained inhabited despite the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, and later, nearly a decade of no US space transportation. NASA, Roscosmos, and the European, Japanese, and Canadian partners have been able to rely on one another.

Not that it has been easy. Tensions have existed from those very first moments on the station. Shepherd, who would serve as the first ISS commander over his more experienced cosmonaut counterparts, wanted to nickname the station “Alpha.” He had support for this from Krikalev, but some Russian space officials believed their earlier, Mir space station, had earned that honor. The new station, they believed, ought to be named “Beta.” NASA, too, had not signed off on this designation.

Nevertheless, Shepherd pressed ahead. He liked that Alpha was the first letter of the Greek alphabet, neither American nor Russian. So on the crew’s first day aboard the station, during a space-to-ground call with NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, Shepherd said over the public loop, “The first expedition on the space station requests permission to take the radio call sign Alpha.”

Goldin was not expecting this, and he spoke away from the microphone for a few moments, conferring with others on the ground. Then he came back and said the name “Station Alpha” was authorized for the duration of Shepherd’s nearly four-month expedition.

This suited the crew, and Shepherd replied, “Out, from Space Station Alpha.” Since then, more than five dozen other crews have rotated onto the International Space Station, most recently Expedition 63, which launched in mid-October. Always, in the two decades since, there have been at least two humans on board.

Days before the most recent launch to the space station from Kazakhstan, the mission’s NASA crew member, Kate Rubins, addressed this anniversary in the crew’s final pre-flight news conference.

“I think the International Space Station is one of the most incredible engineering achievements in human history,” she said. “It is quite a marvel to see such a giant machine that was built entirely by humans and flown off the surface of Earth still persists in space 20 years later.”

The station is unique in that no one has

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Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence sidelined with COVID infection; will miss Boston College game, uncertain for Notre Dame on Nov. 7

Trevor Lawrence

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) waves to fans after an NCAA college football game against Syracuse in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Ken Ruinard/Pool Photo via AP)AP

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for COVID-19, putting into doubt whether the face of college football will be available to play the top-ranked Tigers’ biggest game of the regular season.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement released by the school Thursday night that Lawrence is in isolation with mild symptoms. Swinney said Lawrence would miss Clemson’s game Saturday against Boston College. The Tigers are scheduled to play No. 4 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, on Nov. 7.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for a minimum of 10 days.

The junior from Georgia is a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy and potentially the top overall pick in next year’s NFL draft. He led the Tigers (6-0) to a national championship as a freshman and back to the College Football playoff championship game last season. Clemson’s loss to LSU in the title game was the first — and still only — game the Tigers have lost in Lawrence’s 32 career starts.

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What to make of what should be a unique and uncertain college football bowl schedule

This was going to be largest bowl season in history with 43 games. But like everything  affected by COVID-19, plans are being rewritten. How things play out with the three College Football Playoff games and the remaining 36 scheduled bowls remains uncertain.

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What we do know is that the experience for teams, players, fans and communities is going to be vastly different. That’s understandable given health conditions have pushed the season to a later finish, limited or eliminated attendance at games and altered travel plans.

a group of baseball players standing on top of each other: Michigan State celebrates a win over Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium last December.

© Adam Hunger, Getty Images
Michigan State celebrates a win over Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium last December.

Those  who build holiday plans around bowl season and those  who can’t imagine ringing in the new year without watching the biggest postseason games should still be able to enjoy the season’s conclusion — albeit with a different feel.

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An assessment of how things stand after talking with multiple officials involved in the bowl process. They requested anonymity because the situation is in flux.

Expect lots of losing records

A waiver by the NCAA eliminating the win requirement for bowl eligibility will make team selections more straightforward. The annual calculation about whether conferences have enough teams with six wins goes away.

Bowls are still expected to follow league affiliations and tie-ins, regardless of the records of the teams.

With three of the Power Five leagues — the Big Ten, Pac-12 and  Southeastern Conference — playing a league-only schedule and the other two having only one non-conference game, math tells you it’s going to be impossible to avoid having a swath of teams with losing records.

In the case of the Big Ten, it will fill all of its seven spots outside the New Year’s Six games. That could open the door for selection of the 10th-best team among its 14 members. The same will be true for the other conferences that have spots for more than half their membership.

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The SEC has 14 teams and nine possible bowl affiliations outside the College Football Playoff and Sugar Bowl, but only five schools have winning records through five weekends. Six have losing records.

The 10-team Big 12 has the potential for six bowl spots outside its guaranteed berth in the Sugar Bowl. The league has just six teams with winning records.

Eight of the 15  Atlantic Coast Conference schools have winning records, but the conference has 10 possible bowl spots.

The NCAA waiver does create fewer opportunities for Group of Five teams. Five served as replacements for Power Five schools unable to fulfill their allotments last

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The uncertain future of the oceans

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The ocean plays a key role in the current climate change, as it absorbs a considerable part of the atmospheric carbon dioxide emitted by mankind. On the one hand, this slows down the heating of the climate, and on the other hand, the dissolution of CO2 in seawater leads to acidification of the oceans. This has far-reaching consequences for many marine organisms and thus also for the oceanic carbon cycle. One of the most important mechanisms in this cycle, is called the biological carbon pump. Part of the biomass that phytoplankton forms in the surface ocean through photosynthesis sinks to the depths in the form of small carbonaceous particles. As a result, the carbon is stored for a long time in the deep sea. The ocean thus acts as a carbon sink in the climate system. How strongly this biological pump acts varies greatly from region to region and depends on the composition of species in the ecosystem.

The study, which has now been published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is one of the most comprehensive studies so far on the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. Scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel have now been able to show for the first time that ocean acidification influences the carbon content of sinking organic material, and thus the biological pump. Surprisingly, the observed changes were highly variable. The carbon content of sinking particles increased or decreased significantly with increasing CO2, depending on the composition of species and the structure of the food web. Since the underlying data cover a wide range of ocean regions, this seems to be a global phenomenon. These findings allow a completely new assessment of the effects of ocean acidification.

Dr. Jan Taucher, marine biologist and main author of the study, says, “Interestingly, we found that bacterial and animal plankton, such as small crustaceans, play a key role in how the carbon cycle and biological pump respond to ocean acidification. Until now, it has been widely held that biogeochemical changes are mainly driven by reactions of phytoplankton. Therefore, even modern Earth system models do not take into account the interactions we observe between the marine food web and the carbon cycle. Our findings thus help to make climate models more realistic and improve climate projections.”

Up to now, most of the knowledge on this topic has been based on idealized laboratory experiments, which only represent ecological interactions and the dynamics of the complex marine food web in a highly simplified way. This makes it difficult to transfer such results to real ocean conditions and project them into the future. In order to gain a more realistic insight, the study summarizes several field experiments that were conducted with large-volume test facilities, so-called mesocosms, in different ocean regions, from arctic to subtropical waters.

Mesocosms are, so to speak, oversized test tubes in the ocean, in which changes in environmental conditions in a closed but

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The University of Maine women’s basketball team is eager to play, but start to the season still uncertain


University of Maine forward Blanca Millan, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, will return for a fifth season. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

The University of Maine women’s basketball team is ready to go. The players have been working out in small groups since late summer and are practicing for a season that could begin Nov. 28 with a tough non-conference game against Mississippi State at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

But a lot will have to happen before the Black Bears play a basketball game during a pandemic.

First, the team will need to meet COVID-19 testing requirements as set forth by the NCAA. Then, it will need an exemption from state government officials that would allow the team to travel out of state for contests.

The NCAA announced last month that the Division I basketball season would start Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving. The Black Bears are scheduled to open the season three days later in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge tournament, which will also feature Mississippi State, Connecticut and Quinnipiac.

While the tournament features two Division I powerhouses in Mississippi State and UConn, it’s far from certain the games will be played.

“It’s something that’s really making me anxious, and a lot of people in our department (anxious),” head coach Amy Vachon said Friday afternoon in a Zoom call with media. “We’re ready to go. Our athletic department is ready to go. Our girls have been practicing since August. The NCAA has said this is the start date. Our conference is ready to go… So we’re ready, but we need help.”

The NCAA’s return-to-basketball guidelines recommend testing of all team personnel three times a week, on non-consecutive days. Along with testing, UMaine will need Gov. Janet Mills to give winter sports teams an exemption that would allow them to travel out of state for games, as well as host out-of-state opponents.

“We are really in a tough spot right now. If that were to happen, if weren’t able to travel, that’d be a really hard pill to swallow. To see everyone else in the (America East) conference playing, and most teams in the country playing and we’re not, that would be really tough. We’re very positive, but we definitely need help. There’s no doubt about it,” Vachon said.

Fifth-year senior guard Blanca Millan, the America East Player of the Year in 2019, returned after missing most of last season to a knee injury. Millan said the entire team is excited to get going, even while practicing in masks.

University of Maine women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon instructs her team during a preseason game against Stonehill on Oct. 27, 2019 in Bangor. Morning Sentinel file photo

“You get used to it. You kind of forget about (the mask). We’ve been doing it for two or three months now,” Millan said. “We practice every day as if we’re playing tomorrow.”

The good news for the Black Bears is that they have more than a month for

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