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LEADING OFF

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Photograph by Damian Strohmeyer

CHICAGO BRRRS The Patriots kicked off to the Bears during a snowstorm at Soldier Field on Sunday. The cold, wet conditions seemed to bother New England less than Chicago, as the Patriots humbled the Bears 36--7 to raise their record to 11--2, tied for best in the NFL (page 54).

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Photograph by Jed Jacobsohn

RED-CARPET TREATMENT Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell took a snap against North Dakota State last Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) playoffs on the Eagles' distinctive turf in Cheney, Wash. Mitchell completed 13 of 32 passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns as top-ranked Eastern Washington defeated the No. 21 Bison 38--31, setting up a semifinal showdown with 11th-ranked Villanova on Friday.

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Photograph by Carlos Osorio/AP

ICE BOWL A crowd of 113,411, the largest in the history of Michigan Stadium and the largest ever to see a hockey game, watched the Wolverines take on Michigan State last Saturday on a rink set up in the middle of the football field. It was the first hockey game ever played in the Big House. The two teams had met on a gridiron rink once before, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing in 2001. This year Michigan won easily, 5--0.