If the rash of “Hail Mary pass” references wasn’t bad enough after the Wisconsin-Michigan State game, the litany following the Badgers’ loss to Ohio State means sports writers and announcers are either full of faith or out of clichés. If Wisconsin loses the same way to Purdue Saturday, will a writer or announcer term the Badgers’ streak the start of a sorrowful mystery?

Clarification: In my last posting, I noted that the “Hail Mary pass” reference dates to Nov. 23, 1984 when Doug Flutie’s last second pass led Boston College to victory over Miami. Now, I learn, it was a staunch Catholic, Roger Staubach, who made the phrase part of sports lexicon. Following an NFL playoff game on Dec. 28, 1975, in which he threw a last second, game-winning pass to Drew Pearson, the QB was asked about the play. He responded, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.” And the sports media haven’t been able to come up with a less offensive description of a desperation pass in nearly 36 years.

Mary, Queen of Victory: This has nothing to do with football, but during a children’s Halloween costume party held at a public school in suburban Washington, D.C. on Saturday, a 10-year-old girl dressed as the Blessed Mother was one of the winners. Even the super heroes and heroines couldn’t top that.  Sports as religion: It is interesting that Marquette has supposedly been talking to the “Catholic” members of the Big East about their future conference plans. Fifty years ago, half of Marquette’s schedule was against “Catholic” schools, i.e., Loyola, De Paul, Saint Louis, Xavier, Detroit and Creighton.

Aside from Xavier, and maybe De Paul, none of the others have the drawing power today of Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s. Thus, unless the athletic directors and marketing people can figure out how it would make their schools a lot of money, don’t expect to see a “Catholic” conference in your basketball future. 

What the bell was going on out there? I was glad to read that the historic bell stolen from the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco on Oct. 23 was recovered Oct. 26 in West Oakland. According to Catholic News Service, the 5,330-pound bell is 80 percent copper. Oh, the price for scrap copper is $1.50 per pound; more than $2.50 in some parts of the country. Much more than “The Gong Show” prize money, but evidence that some crooks have had their bells rung if they would stoop so low as to steal a church bell.

Something to celebrate: All Saints Day – a celebration for those in heaven and on earth – is a great way to start National Inspirational Role Models Month. And this heads-up for our aforementioned sports media friends: Wednesday, Nov. 3 is Cliché Day.