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In weird Week 17, Bucs would win by losing

Believe it or not, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent the past 3½ months trying to win football games. According to coach Lovie Smith, his team will be playing to win on the regular season’s final Sunday, too. And that could be a costly mistake, if the Buccaneers actually do win.

Win-total disaster: Cutler, Bears bad news

Almost everything about this Chicago Bears’ season has been bad news, especially for the optimists who banked on their regular-season win total going over 8½. It’s a bet that has no shot.

Another sort of Christmas story: There is life after abuse

As a 10 year old, Brandon Marshall saw abuse first-hand and escaped with his mother and brother to a Las Vegas shelter. Now, the Denver Broncos linebacker wants to use his voice to speak out against domestic violence.

Brady, NFL bettors left crazy and confused

Dazed and confused, picked off once and sacked four times, Tom Brady finally went to a knee to run out the clock as the New England Patriots escaped from New York.

Judge Mountain West by its best teams

Colorado State on Saturday afternoon proved that Mountain West football this season was arguably its worst since the league formed in 1999, falling to Utah 45-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl. Much depends on how Boise State fares against Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31.

Rebels could pick a program to follow, but which one?

Every five years when UNLV fires its football coach there is a great whoop-de-doo and la-di-da about football. It usually lasts until the UNLV basketball team plays a quality nonconference opponent. Is there a program out there UNLV ought to be imitating?

Roethlisberger, McRib are underrated winners

Some hard-working people never get the recognition or respect that is truly deserved. It might be a maid, a mailman or a mechanic. It also could be a blue-collar quarterback such as Ben Roethlisberger.

Utah enjoys life among the ‘haves’

The Utes have discovered the benefits of playing in a power conference after jumping from the Mountain West to the Pac-12. “When recruits walk into our building, they know we mean business and that we’re in this to win,” said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Variables add peril to bowl wagering

Thirty-eight bowl games are on the schedule, and picking winners might be tougher than making Nick Saban smile. The Alabama coach is absolutely great at what he does, which is frown all the time and win a lot of football games.

Public bettors blindsided as Rodgers, Packers flop

On any given Sunday, there is a quarterback who flops so miserably that he gets mocked by everyone on Monday. But never is Aaron Rodgers that guy.

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