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Vegas loses big in NFL's opening weekend

Sept. 13, 2015 - Chicago, IL, USA - Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) cuts though the Green Bay Packers defense while carrying the ball during the second quarter at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. The Packers won, 31-23. (Credit: Chicago Tribune via Icon Sportswire)Opening week of the NFL season is an unofficial holiday for many sports fans. It marks the end of seven months of hibernation since the last down of the Super Bowl was played and the chance to once again witness the glory of professional football (the preseason doesn't count). And, for many fans, it also marks the beginning of betting season.

Last year, Nevada sportsbooks finished the season up a staggering $113.7 million dollars according to ESPN. Yet despite the long odds of success, many fans still flocked to the casinos or to their closest bookie, demonstrating that their favorite team's chances at success were not the only source of irrational hope.

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College football's glorious unpredictability

Joel Hale #51 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Ohio State Football Media Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio, August 16 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Jason Mowry)The 2015 college football season kicks off Thursday night and it couldn't come a moment too soon. Last season's 4 team playoff was a huge success and its champion, Ohio State, goes into the season as the heavy favorite in virtually every ranking. As ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit recently pointed out, the Buckeyes are the first team in the history of the Associated Press Poll to enter the season as a unanimous number one pick. They are stacked on both sides of the ball with their biggest question being which of their potential Heisman caliber quarterbacks will start.
 
That said, it's worth noting that in 4 of the last 7 years, the team that was ranked first in the AP poll at the start of the season finished outside the top 10 by the time the last game was played. While few are predicting that will happen to Ohio State, the beauty of college football is in its inherent unpredictability. I guess that makes sense given that such predictions are based on the dependability of teams comprised mostly of young men not even old enough to legally drink.

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Rugby player trying to make it in NFL

Jarryd Hayne (38) of the San Francisco 49ers speaks to the media following 23-6 NFL preseason win against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, August 23, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Roy K. Miller) Jarryd Hayne, former rugby star in Australia, is attempting the near-impossible sports fear: crossing over from one professional sport to another. Crossover athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are rare in an increasingly specialized sports culture. Jackson and Sanders made the leap between football and baseball, but their success stands in stark contrast to countless others who have tried and failed.

Michael Jordan famously retired from basketball in the prime of his career in order to pursue baseball, but besides the occasional flash of brilliance, Jordan was a mediocre player overall. More recently, Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson have flirted with professional baseball careers, but have not ventured as far as to try to crossover completely.

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Who's to blame for Sam Ukwuachu?

Sam Ukwuachu, one-time All-American who transferred to play football at Baylor University, on the stand during his trial accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student athlete in 2013, August 20, 2015  (Credit: AP Images/Waco Tribune-Herald/Jerry Larson)As we get closer to the start of the College Football season, Baylor University has been in the news quite a bit. While that's perhaps to be expected for the team that has won at least a share of the Big-12 Title the past two seasons, the most recent stories have been for a far more serious and troubling reason. Sam Ukwuachu, a former DE, was sentenced last Friday to 180 days in jail and 10 years' probation for the 2013 sexual assault of a former Baylor soccer player.

Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor from Boise State in 2013 but never actually played a game for the Bears as the assault took place before he was declared eligible. Prior to that, he was kicked off the Boise State team after coaches and school officials were made aware of an altercation with his then-girlfriend where he was accused of hitting her repeatedly during a fight while drunk. While emails that have since been released show that then head coach Chris Petersen and others knew about Ukwuachu's intoxicated state and verbal abuse, they do not necessarily show an awareness of any physical altercation and no police report was officially filed.

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Jason Day: a champion at last

Sam Ukwuachu takes the stand during his trial at Waco’s 54th State District Court, in Waco, Texas. The one-time All-American who transferred to play football at Baylor University has been convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow student athlete in 2013. (AP Images/Waco Tribune-Herald/Jerry Larson)The PGA Championship is the last of the 4 annual major tournaments in professional golf. This year's event, held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, served as a fitting culmination for a season that has been defined by the sport's next wave of stars beginning to make their mark. By the end of play on Sunday, two records had been set and the sport had a new top ranked player. But the best story was undoubtedly that of Jason Day, a man defined more for his failures in golf than his successes, finally achieving his first career Majors victory.

Going into the tournament's last day, Jason Day had a two stroke lead over heavy favorite Jordan Spieth. However, that was not Day's first time this year having at least a share of the lead. He'd been tied for the top score going into the final round of both the U.S. and British Opens, only to lose them in heartbreaking fashion. He was determined not to see history repeat itself, keeping up his relentless pace from previous rounds and never giving Spieth a chance to make a run at the top.

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