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In the last few weeks, Yahoo! Sports published an investigation alleging that five SEC football players—including a member of the 2011 and 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide national championship teams now in the NFL—accepted money and gifts from agents.

Sports Illustrated produced a five-part series about impropriety involving payment and academic fraud at Oklahoma State University. Time, meanwhile, distributed an article framed around Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel and his alleged autograph business called, "It's Time to Pay College Athletes."

Paying players has never been a hotter topic. There are a few really simple ways it can be done. First, we have to break the NCAA. The rest is easy.

This slideshow is an attempt to explain and simplify the issues. It finishes with five payment plans for athletes, not all of which I believe in. You can skip ahead to those if you're solution-focused.

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Immediately after the Philadelphia Eagles put forth an incredibly dynamic offensive performance in Week 1 that had everyone in the NFL buzzing, football pundits, analysts and television attention seekers tried to figure out something that will go wrong.

Some sharp, hard-working pundits took to the game tape to study how new head coach Chip Kelly managed to systematically dismantle the Washington Redskins defense in the first half of Monday night's contest.

Others charted the speed of Kelly's offense, wondering if the pace of snapping the ball with only half the play clock gone will be hard to sustain for an entire season and asking if it puts too much pressure on the Eagles defense whenever a drive stalls.

Still, there were some who decided to pick at the low-hanging fruit. What could go wrong with Kelly's offense after just one game? The quarterback will get hurt, as noted by Charley Casserly on NFL Network, via NFL.com:

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA's new targeting rule is either going to save football or ruin it entirely. The right answer may depend on which fans you ask.

With seconds remaining in the third quarter of Auburn's blowout victory over Arkansas State on September 7, Tigers linebacker Kris Frost was flagged with a roughing-the-passer penalty and ejected. Frost did not go helmet-to-helmet, but he did leave his feet to hit quarterback Adam Kennedy up high, a violation that falls under the new "targeting" rules this year.

The fans booed the flag and the ejection. (To be fair, it's hard to know entirely if the Auburn fans were booing the call or Frost's stupidity.) The penalty was dumb, but the hit was innocuous at best. Frost was kicked out of the game and, since the penalty took place in the second half, will miss the first half of Auburn's SEC opener against Mississippi State next week.

Frost's ejection was one of more than 10 punishments for targeting to be given out over the first two weeks of the college football season—admittedly, that number did decrease over the second weekend of the season after a rash of calls in Week 1.

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With 28 of the 32 NFL teams now looking at Week 1 in the rearview mirror, fans in some cities are already freaking out about how surprisingly good/bad/mediocre their favorite team looks this season.

Truth be told, even in a league where every game matters, losing in the first week is never the final nail in any loser's playoff coffin—in the last two seasons, at least four teams that made the playoffs had lost their season openers, some rather poorly. Meanwhile, winning the season opener hasn't exactly offered any kind of season-long guarantee for success.

(The Jets have won their last three season openers. Let's not start planning any parades for Week 1 victors.)

There were some surprisingly bright spots on the first Sunday of the NFL season, with some horribly low moments as well. But remember, through all of the ups and downs of Week 1, the sky is not yet falling…for most of us.

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As the 2013 NFL season begins, I can't help but shake the sense that Tom Brady may be the most important man in the world.

There has been so much said this preseason about Robert Griffin IIIColin KaepernickRussell WilsonMatt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, among others—and holy cow, did you see that opening game from Peyton Manning? Brady, in a way, seems to have gotten a little lost in the NFL quarterback conversation.

With only a handful of true Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, and the AFC East possibly being the weakest division in the league, it feels insane to suggest the New England Patriots aren't one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. And yet, so much of that prediction feels like it's based on one guy.

In an offseason where everything in New England has been about everyone but Brady, there is no player—perhaps in the entire NFL—whose team is more about him as the season begins.

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Ryan Braun is a cheater and a liar. We have known the Milwaukee Brewers slugger was a cheater for a while now, especially after years of defiance led to the acceptance of a 65-game suspension in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation.

Looking back on his legendary speech after, ahem, clearing his name during the 2012 drug suspension appeal—and the many denials before and after—is comical at this point. Everything Braun has said about performance-enhancing drugs in the past now serves to expose him as a liar.

With nothing left to lose at this point, Braun released a statement, via MLBlogs, apologizing for the cheating and the lying. And while fans of the Brewers won't forget what Braun did, they certainly can, and will, forgive him. 

While a lengthy tell-all statement seems like a good start, especially after rumors swirled last week that Braun was sullying the name of the test collector by suggesting he was anti-Semitic, there is one way Braun will get Brewers fans back on his side.

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Adrian Peterson might be taking the whole "Purple Jesus" thing a tad too literally.

When I saw the quote "I'm juicing on the blood of Jesus" flash across my Twitter feed from NFL humor site Kissing Suzy Kolber, I assumed it was a tease for another one of its clever satirizations, creating an over-inflated egotistical caricature of the league's reigning MVP.

Clicking the link had me ready for hilarity, until I realized it was an actual direct quote Peterson used in a feature for Peter King's new football-centric TheMMQB.com. Sorry, KSK, Peterson outdid you at your own game.

In a feature called "10 Things I Think I Think," King's site asks current and former players to share 10 bite-sized nuggets of information about their careers, upcoming expectations and whatever else is on their minds. Peterson, it seems, has records on his mind. And Jesus.

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Chip Kelly came to the NFL from the University of Oregon as something of a football innovator.

Kelly has always prided himself on finding any possible edge to make his team better, even if a new idea or innovation flips the NFL paradigm on its head. In one offseason, Kelly has changed the entire Eagles training camp process, from location to nutrition to the music to the pace in which the team practices and plays.

If everything in Kelly's NFL seems different, why shouldn't that pertain to the quarterback situation as well?

Everyone—from Eagles fans to the players to even the media—has been patient while Kelly evaluates his quarterbacks to determine the best player to lead the Eagles into his first NFL season.

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Too often in life, human beings define one another by what makes them different.

Throughout time, the human race has gone out of its way to classify and categorize itself into different subcultures based on color, language, religion and—as is the case in the world of international sports right now—sexuality.

Russia, host of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, recently passed a law that essentially prohibits people from "acting gay" in public. The actual term the Russian law—signed into effect by President Vladimir Putin in June—uses is "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships."

In other words, you are allowed to be gay while in Russia, but you aren't allowed to be gay in public, or show support for anyone who is gay in public, while in Russia.

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What can a soccer fan get for $83 million?

Someone in charge of a top European football club might get an entirely rebuilt midfield for that sum—or, inexplicably, one world-class offensive player—to make a run at a league title and a spot in the UEFA Champions League.

Someone in charge of the top soccer league in America might come close to paying the salaries of every single player in MLS. (The total of salaries in MLS, before Clint Dempsey's mega-deal with Seattle Sounders, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 million.)

Or, perhaps with $83 million, someone in charge of an American television network could procure the rights to televise every single English Premier League match for an entire year. That is precisely what NBC did last year to secure the rights to Premier League matches in America for each of the next three seasons.