Winners and Losers

LOSER: Tuesday Night Football

Disadvantage: Philadelphia, which needs to win on Tuesday against Minnesota and then on Sunday against Dallas while getting a Sunday loss by Chicago to Green Bay to secure a first-round playoff bye.

It wasn’t automatic that the game had to be moved back, either. Among the critics of the move: Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who does radio commentaries after Eagles games, and said “you play football regardless of the weather.”

Not anymore.

LOSER: Seattle?

Virginia’s kids have a couple of big wins this season (at Minnesota, at Virginia Tech). And then there was the week before Christmas. A narrow win over one-win Norfolk State, then a six-point loss to Seattle, just in its second year in D1.

Question: Which UVa. team is the UVa. team that is for real?

LOSER: McNabb to ask for release

Congrats, Coach Shanahan. You traded away Jason Campbell to clear room for Donovan McNabb, and now you’ve run off McNabb. Leaving the Redskins without an answer at quarterback, which is only the most important position on the roster.

Which is magnified in D.C. because of the utter lack of talent elsewhere on the roster.

WINNER: How about that Dawn Evans?

The JMU senior scored 42 points, 13 in the final four minutes, to lead the Dukes to an 82-80 win over Virginia on Dec. 20. I hesitate to call it an upset. The folks at UVa. that I had talked to before the game expected a tough matchup in the Convo, and I thought the Cavs did well in controlling the game most of the way.

Enter Evans, who simply refuses to lose. How that team came into that game with five losses already this season is beyond me.

Column by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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