O’Brien agrees to take over Houston

According to multiple reports, Bill O’Brien has agreed to a deal to become the head coach of the Houston Texans, leaving Penn State only days after telling a recruit that he would not leave the school. The Texans moved quickly the reach a deal with O’Brien, who was the third person to inter-view for the job after Lovie Smith and Wade Phillips.

Follow me on Twitter @JasonPhilColehttp://www.twitter.com/jasonphilcole

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O'Brien agrees to take over Houston

According to multiple reports, Bill O’Brien has agreed to a deal to become the head coach of the Houston Texans, leaving Penn State only days after telling a recruit that he would not leave the school. The Texans moved quickly the reach a deal with O’Brien, who was the third person to inter-view for the job after Lovie Smith and Wade Phillips.

Follow me on Twitter @JasonPhilColehttp://www.twitter.com/jasonphilcole

Jay Cutler unsure of future in Chicago

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a soon-to-be free agent, is aware that there is some doubt with his future with the franchise.

Cutler, appearing on his weekly radio show on Chicago station WMVP-AM, said the two parties will try and work on a new deal so he can remain with the Bears.

“We'll find equal ground. We'll get it worked out,” Cutler told the radio program, via the Chicago Tribune. “I don't know when it's going to happen. And eventually it might not happen. But we're going to take a crack at it, I'm sure.”

Cutler added, “I think if you polled quarterbacks around the league, everyone's going to want to come here. Why wouldn't you want to play here? We've got a lot of guys who can make some plays. It would be fun to stay here. Obviously I want to stay here.”

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Jon Gruden not interested in NFL vacancies

As for the open jobs with Detroit, Minnesota, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, there's one coach you can cross off the list.

ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden, in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, said he's not interested in becoming the head coach of either of those football teams.

“I don't want to be considered for any of these jobs,” Gruden said. “I don't want to be considered for anything. There are plenty of good candidates out there. I'm just sick for the guys who can no longer coach their teams. … I'm hoping to do the best I can to hang on to my job.”

Gruden has spent the past five years calling games for ESPN and seems happy with his current job.

It would appear that a can't-miss opportunity would have to be presented to Gruden for him to return to coaching.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Percy Harvin on track to play divisional round game

Percy Harvin may finally be a factor for the Seahawks.

After missing 15 of Seattle's 16 regular season games in 2013, Harvin appears to be ready to play in the Seahawks' divisional round playoff game on Jan. 11.

Harvin only appeared in one game this year after dealing with hip surgery prior to the season started.

According to an ESPN report, Harvin avoided being placed on injured reserve after a workout he put in earlier this week.

The Seahawks' offense has been efficient all year, scoring 26.1 points per game. Adding Harvin back for the postseason would be a huge gain for them.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

Peyton Manning may not have broken Drew Brees' record

It's possible that Peyton Manning will not go down in NFL history with the most yards in a single season.

According to a report from ESPN, the NFL is reviewing a 7-yard pass completed to Eric Decker in the first quarter. A question has arisen as to whether Manning's pass traveled backwards, making it a lateral and a rush for Decker. If so, seven passing yards will be taken away from Manning's total.

With the completion, Manning finished the 2013 regular season with 5,477 yards, which bested Drew Brees' mark of 5,476, set in 2011.

Without the seven yards, Manning's season total would fall to 5,470 and into second-place among single-season passers.

The report states that one camera angle makes the play look like a lateral, while another appears to show Decker catching the ball at the 48-yard line with Manning standing slightly behind that marker.

Nonetheless, it looks like Manning and the Broncos will have to wait a couple of days to find out what side of history the future Hall of Famer is on.

After tossing his 51st touchdown in Week 16, Manning added four more to his total against Oakland, extending a separate single-season record of 55 touchdowns in one season. This beat Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's previous NFL best of 50 touchdowns thrown in 2007.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

49ers CB Carlos Rogers not expected to play

San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rogers will test his injured hamstring Wednesday, but is not ex-pected to play in the 49ers playoff opener at Green Bay on Sunday. Rogers was injured in the season finale against Arizona and had an MRI on the hamstring on Monday. Initial results were not promising.

“We’ll see, but knowing hamstrings the way I do, I wouldn’t expect him to play,” a source said.

If Rogers, who also serves as the San Francisco’s nickel cornerback, can't play, he would be replaced by a combination of Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Wright would be the nickel corner. In addition, the 49ers signed cornerback Perrish Cox on Monday.

Follow me on Twitter @JasonPhilColehttp://www.twitter.com/jasonphilcole

Redskins want to interview Darrell Bevell

The Washington Redskins have put in a request to interview Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, according to a report from the NFL Network.

Bevell has enjoyed a great deal of success as Seattle's offensive coordinator. This year alone, the Seahawks finished the regular season fourth in rushing yards per game with 136.8. But they also finished 17th in total offense (339.0) and 26th in passing (202.2).

Then again, that can be attributed to Seattle holding a lot of leads late in games and running out the clock, along with quarterback Russell Wilson's dual-threat ability.

The Redskins are looking to replace ousted coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired Monday morning.

The Vikings have also reportedly put in a request to interview Bevell.

Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider

Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.


Bowl game betting primer: Volume 2

That 1-3 start to the 2013 college football bowl campaign wasn’t exactly what we had in mind coming off a solid regular season, but thankfully, we’ve still got more than a dozen games remaining on the schedule. So let’s try to right the ship starting today with a couple of games we’ll be keeping a real close eye on.

Note: While there are only four games in today’s primer, I posted Boston College +7.5 on twitter early Tuesday and will likely add some more games over the next few days using the same platform. In addition, we’ll be back soon to cover the championship showdown between Auburn and Florida State.

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.


Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 4-1 road) vs. #17 UCLA Bruins (9-3, 4-2 road)

When: Tuesday, 2:00pm ET
Open: UCLA -7.5
Current: UCLA -8

Virginia Tech in 2013: 4-7-1 ATS, 7-4-1 to the OVER
UCLA in 2013: 8-4 ATS, 7-5 to the OVER

Analysis: How stoked is UCLA to play in the Sun Bowl when this team could have earned a second-consecutive trip to Pac-12 title game had they not dropped their home finale to Arizona State, 38-33? That’s the big question to ponder here, as motivation is the most important factor to consider when handicapping bowl games. However, Virginia Tech dropped three of their final five contests and fell short of expectations for the 2013 campaign, so it’s not as if the Hokies have been lights out this season. For me, this game comes down to the fact that I can catch eight points with a defense that surrendered an average of just 17.4 points per game this year (eighth in NCAA).

Notable Trends: Virginia Tech is 3-1-1 ATS over their last five bowl games, while UCLA is 6-1 ATS over their last seven non-conference games.

Pick: Virginia Tech (+8)

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL (Atlanta, Georgia)

#24 Duke Blue Devils (10-3, 5-1 road) vs. #21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 2-2 road)

When: Tuesday, 8:00pm ET
Open: Texas A&M -11.5
Current: Texas A&M -12.5

Duke in 2013: 10-3 ATS, 8-5 to the UNDER
Texas A&M in 2013: 5-7 ATS, 8-4 to the OVER

Johnny ManzielJohnny Football takes the field for Texas A&M one last time on Tuesday.

Analysis: I’d love to pepper you with a bevy of trends and insight as to why I’ll be siding with the Aggies come Tuesday night, but the reality of the situation is that this is a play straight from the gut. Don’t get me wrong, Duke has been a hell of a football team in 2013. But this is star quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s final collegiate contest before the dual-threat signal-caller takes his game to the professional ranks. We’re betting that Johnny Football goes out with a bang.

Notable Trends: Duke is 8-3 ATS over their last 11 non-conference games, while Texas A&M is 4-1 ATS over their last five non-conference games.

Pick: Texas A&M (-12.5)

OUTBACK BOWL (Tampa, Florida)

Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 4-1 road) vs. #16 LSU Tigers (9-3, 2-3 road)

When: Wednesday, 1:00pm ET
Open: LSU -7
Current: LSU -8

Iowa in 2013: 7-5 ATS, 8-4 to the OVER
LSU in 2013: 5-6-1 ATS, 9-3 to the OVER

Kirk FerentzICONFerentz has been dangerous in bowl games while at Iowa.

Analysis: The Hawkeyes bounced back from a disastrous 4-8 campaign in 2012 to post an 8-4 mark this season en route to a New Year’s Day bowl bid. So not only does this team possess the requisite amount of motivation we look for this time of year, but they’ve also got a head coach in Kirk Ferentz who is 7-3 ATS in bowl games during his time at Iowa. Give this guy a month to prepare for an opponent and he can hang with just about anybody. Meanwhile, LSU enters Wednesday’s matchup down quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL against Arkansas in the season finale. Note that Iowa has covered the number in seven of their last ten games overall, while LSU is just 1-5-1 ATS over their last seven contests following a victory.

Notable Trends: Iowa is 4-1 ATS over their last five bowl games, while LSU is 1-4 ATS over their last five games overall.

Pick: Iowa (+8)

ROSE BOWL (Pasadena, California)

#5 Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 4-2 road) vs. #4 Michigan State Spartans (12-1, 4-1 road)

When: Wednesday, 5:00pm ET
Open: Stanford -3
Current: Stanford -6.5

Stanford in 2013: 7-6 ATS, 8-5 to the UNDER
Michigan State in 2013: 8-4-1 ATS, 8-5 to the UNDER

Kevin HoganStanford quarterback Kevin Hogan has completed 65% of his passes since taking over in 2012.

Analysis: 2013 has been a hell of a ride for the Spartans, who try to put the icing on the cake Wednesday in the school’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 26 years. But Michigan State will be without team captain and All-Big Ten middle linebacker Max Bullough, who has been suspended for the Rose Bowl. On the other side of the field sits the battle tested Stanford Cardinal, who are marking their fourth-consecutive BCS bowl appearance and are 4-0 ATS over their last four bowl games. Stanford has the big game and big stage experience, while Michigan State could get tripped up early in this one courtesy of some BCS jitters. Be advised that Stanford is 11-4 ATS over their last 15 non-conference games, while Michigan State is 0-4 ATS over their last four outings against Pac-12 opposition.

Notable Trends: Stanford is 35-16-1 ATS over their last 52 games overall, while Michigan State is 5-11-1 ATS over their last 17 games played on grass.

Pick: Stanford (-6.5)

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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Boston College RB Andre Williams & Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey: I grouped these two prolific tailbacks together because they will be on opposing sidelines on Tuesday for the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport. It's not too often that two of the nation's elite running backs are involved in a non-BCS bowl game, but that's exactly what will take place when Boston College and Arizona square off. Williams, of course, was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the winner of the Doak Walker Award. He has 2,102 rushing yards, and he'll have his chance to show NFL scouts and college football fans that the nation’s leading rusher has indeed been worthy of his late-season high praise. Meanwhile, Carey may be playing his last game for the Wildcats as he tries to notch his ridiculous 16th consecutive 100-yard game. He should have received more Heisman love, but playing on the West Coast probably affected his candidacy unfortunately. He'll want to end the season and likely his college career with a big effort.

Brett HundleyUS PRESSWIREBrett Hundley faces a tough Virginia Tech defense in the Sun Bowl.

UCLA QB Brett Hundley: Will the dual-threat signal-caller return to Westwood next year? Bruins head coach Jim L. Mora expects him to return to school in 2014, but the redshirt sophomore is one of the more gifted quarterbacks in the nation and could elect to test the NFL waters early. This season he has thrown for 2,845 yards and 22 touchdowns against nine interceptions, and he has rushed for 587 yards and nine more scores. There is no doubt that he needs to become a more accurate passer, especially on his longer throws. And there is improvement that is needed with his footwork when the pocket collapses, but he is highly valued by some NFL scouts. Still, another season of polishing would enhance his stock even more for 2015. He sometimes likes to squeeze the football into tight spaces, and there's no question that Bud Foster's Hokies defense is going to be a tough matchup in the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

UCLA LB/RB Myles Jack: Not many players received as much hype in the month of November for his play than Jack, and it was well-deserved. The true freshman, who was already excelling at linebacker, started to get carries at running back because of the Bruins' health woes at the position. And the star defender excelled on the other side of the ball, recording 120 yards at Arizona on November 9 and notching a four-touchdown game against Washington on November 15. But UCLA is now healthy at running back, so it'll be interesting to see how Mora uses Jack on offense. I would be stunned to not see him used on offense against the Hokies, because he's too special of a talent. After all, he was both the Pac-12 freshman offensive and defensive player of year.

Rice's offensive backfield: In the Liberty Bowl, Mississippi State will face a tough test against a Rice team that won the Conference USA championship under head coach David Bailiff. The Owls are in the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 1960-61, and a lot of the success has to do with a dominant ground attack. Senior Charles Ross, who led C-USA in rushing, leads the way. He has a five-touchdown effort on his 2013 resume, but he's not the only productive Owl. Four other Rice running backs had at least 60 carries this fall, and quarterback Taylor McHargue is a running threat as well. But if you're an NFL fan, Ross is the one to keep an eye on because he may be able to stick on a pro roster next season.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel: The Chick-fil-A Bowl against Duke will be the final game for Johnny Football with the Aggies. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner finished fifth in this year's race following a redshirt sophomore season that featured rough outings against LSU and Missouri. However, he still managed to have a phenomenal early season performance against defending BCS national champion Alabama and finished the year with 4,418 yards of total offense and 41 touchdowns. He remains must-see TV, and this will be our final chance to enjoy his antics on the collegiate level.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.