Dolphins place Cameron Wake on injured reserve, sign Ulrick John

The Miami Dolphins have placed Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake on injured reserve.
Wake tore his Achilles on Thursday.
Wake, 33, had seven sacks this season.
The Dolphins signed offensive lineman Ulrick John off of the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

49ers cut Jarryd Hayne, promote Kendall Gaskins

The San Francisco 49ers cut Jarryd Hayne and promoted Kendall Gaskins to the active roster from the practice squad.
Gaskins attended Richmond where he had 605 rushing yards on 148 carries, as a senior. He finished his career second all-time in total rushing touchdowns with 38 in school history.
Hayne (6-2, 220) signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent on March 3, 2015. He appeared in six games this season and registered eight carries for 25 yards and returned eight punts for 76 yards on special teams.
Follow me on Twitter @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Boykin's TCU Is The Big 12 Team To Beat

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin isn’t just beating teams in Big 12 Conference play, he’s embarrassing them. 

In a 40-10 rout over West Virginia Thursday night, the Heisman Trophy candidate impressed in many ways–even to the point where WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen gave him a high-five after a prolific run.

Trevone Boykin finished the game completing 32 of 47 passes for 388 yards and three  touchdowns while also running for 84 yards and a rushing score–one that needs to be seen:

On the season, Boykin has 28 passing touchdowns to only five interceptions and has thrown 2,927 yards. He also has seven rushing touchdowns, as he’s making a strong case in what has become a two-man race for the Heisman with Leonard Fournette. 

Boykin now leads the nation in QBR at 88.9 and has thrown 17 touchdowns to two interceptions in Big 12 play. Two of his best performances this season have come against in-conference competition, one of which was when he tore up Iowa State’s defense completing 27 of 32 passes, throwing four touchdowns and not turning the ball over. His passer rating was 240.1 in that game. 

Boykin, despite a less than clean 63% completion rate, finished the game against Texas Tech with 485 yards passing and four touchdowns in a 55-52 escape in Lubbock. Boykin’s confidence is soaring through the roof as of late, and defenses just don’t have an answer. That’s why TCU is the team to beat in the Big 12.

With difficult road games remaining at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, along with the much anticipated home contest against Baylor on Black Friday, TCU still has a lot of football left play before being declared “the best” in the Big 12. However, with Boykin performing the way he has as of late, it’s hard to pick another team that will defeat the Horned Frogs. He’s just reading the field that well and looking at what defenses are giving him. With Baylor’s Seth Russell out for the season with a neck injury, TCU has perhaps closed the gap between the two as favorites in the conference. 

Even with Baylor’s promising true freshman backup quarterback in Jarrett Stidham, and perhaps the best receiving core in the country, TCU’s Boykin is playing at another level right now. He’s making passes you wouldn’t believe and not turning the ball over. Their quarterback play is less of a wildcard than what we can expect from the rest of the Big 12 favorites moving forward.

Holgorsen claimed once again that Boykin is the best player in college football following his team’s loss to TCU. Similar to former Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett, the WVU head coach said he is glad he doesn’t have to see Boykin again after losing to the quarterback three of four years. 

As a senior, Boykin’s completion percentage is at 66.7 percent, a jump from 61.2 percent a season ago. Sacks per game have dropped from 1.77 to 0.71, passing touchdowns per game have increased from 2.54 to 3.57, and passing yards per game have augmented from 300.08 to 362.71. Across the board, Boykin has been efficient and explosive.

TCU has explosive weapons on offense, including receiver Josh Doctson, who has 71 receptions for 1,250 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Along with guys like running back Aaron Green, who has eight rushing touchdowns in eight games, and speedsters Kolby Listenbee and KaVontae Turpin, Boykin will look to get everyone involved as the peak of the Big 12 slate nears. 

While Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma will be huge tests for TCU, Boykin gives the Horned Frogs what they need to be the team to beat in the Big 12.

In Battle of Unbeaten Teams, Broncos vs Packers Tickets Exceeding $700 Average on Resale Market

Super Bowl 50 may be more than three months away, but this Sunday’s matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos could be an early look into who will play in Santa Clara come February.
Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field is generating playoff-like ticket prices on the secondary market, too. According to TiqIQ, the average secondary market price for Broncos vs Packers tickets is now $703.04, making it the most expensive remaining game in Denver this season. If looking just to get in, the cheapest ticket available is listed for $414.
While ticket prices are high for the Week 8 showdown at Sports Authority Field, many hotels can still be found in the Denver area at affordable rates. Denver hotels on start for as low as $60 per night this weekend while four-star hotels begin at $164 each night. Flight options are also available on Hipmunk for those traveling from out of state.
Both the Broncos and Packers are 6-0 on the season ahead of their Week 8 game, two of five teams that are still unbeaten entering Week 8. Alongside the obvious threat of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning the Broncos own one of the most feared defenses in the NFL, who have allowed a league-leading 281.3 YPG.
The pass rush will be a decisive factor in how well Aaron Rodgers plays for the Packers. The Broncos have recorded 26 sacks through the first six games of the season, which is tied for first in the league alongside the 7-0 New England Patriots. Running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks have traded places all season long for the Packers without much consistency and will only have a bigger mountain to climb Sunday against the a Broncos defense that allows just 3.6 yards per carry.
Of course, Peyton Manning will also be susceptible to a formidable Packers defense, so a runaway game won’t likely be in the cards for the Broncos. Manning has had a nightmarish start to the season despite his team’s overall success, throwing just seven passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions en route to a 72.5 QBR – his lowest since his rookie season. The Broncos can hold their own defensively, but have been forced to carry a larger workload with Manning’s slow start. Manning will again have his hands full against a defense that leads the league with just 101 total points allowed.

SQ College Football Power Rankings: Week 9

The ACC was the main focus of the college football world last week with Clemson handing Miami its worst loss ever, and Georgia Tech pulling off an improbable miracle to beat undefeated Florida State. Needless to say, the rankings have been shook up as a result. Before today’s games kickoff, check out where these teams rank in our Top 25.

1. Ohio State

Previous SQ Rank: 1

Coaches Poll Rank: 1

“For the first time this season, the Ohio State Buckeyes finally lived up to their first-in-the-country billing. The Buckeyes were excellent in their Week 8 49-7 rout of Rutgers. Most importantly, the decision to start sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett over Cardale Jones turned out to be a great one for Head Coach Urban Myer. Barrett completed an efficient 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 13 times for 101 yards and two scores. This is the kind of quarterback play that will instill fear in the hearts of opposing defenses for the Buckeyes.” – Ray Boone

2. Baylor

Previous SQ Rank: 2

Coaches Poll Rank: 2

“Everyone wants to know, can the Bears keep rolling without Seth Russell? Baylor’s defense still leaves plenty to be desired as teams are averaging 25 points per game against them.” – Brian Peel

3. Clemson

Previous SQ Rank: 6

Coaches Poll Rank: 6

“Clemson’s 58-0 thrashing of Miami was exactly what this team needed to put them atop the higher echelon of teams this season. The most impressive stat of the week for Clemson was forcing three interceptions from a Miami team that had only thrown one in the six games prior.” – Sean Berger

4. LSU

Previous SQ Rank: 5

Coaches Poll Rank: 4

“Another week, another win for the LSU Tigers. This team is rolling behind Heisman hopeful RB Leonard Fournette and QB Brandon Harris, whose performance has been encouraging over the past three games (716 yards passing, 62.7% completion percentage and seven touchdowns).” – Sean Berger

5. TCU

Previous SQ Rank: 4

Coaches Poll Rank: 3

“TCU’s 40-10 win against West Virginia has this team yet again looking strong this week. Trevonne Boykin made some incredible plays against the Mountaineers as well as his case to add yet another QB to the list of Heisman Trophy winners (currently second in the nation in total offense with 431.4 yards per game).” – Sean Berger

6. Alabama

Previous SQ Rank: 10

Coaches Poll Rank: 7

“Alabama probably has the best talent in the country, but their offensive inconsistency could spell doom. They’re the kind of team that could either be National Champs or lose three games.” – Brian Peel

7. Michigan State

Previous SQ Rank: 7

Coaches Poll Rank: 5

“Michigan State struggled with Indiana much more than the final score indicated. The Hoosiers only trailed by five points with under five minutes left to play before the Spartans scored three late touchdowns. That’s not surprising considering MSU seems to save their best for the best.” – Brian Peel

8. Stanford

Previous SQ Rank: 15

Coaches Poll Rank: 8

“Stanford continued their roll over Pac-12 competition by dominating Washington 31-14 at home last week. The Cardinal should get a big test in the Palouse on Saturday against a Washington State team averaging 415 passing yards per game.” – Brian Peel

9. Notre Dame

Previous SQ Rank: 14

Coaches Poll Rank: 9

“The Fighting Irish had a BYE week in Week 8, so there’s not much to say. However, I will say that they should probably fix their defense — specifically their pass defense. The Irish gave up 440 passing yards and three touchdowns to USC in the Irish’s 41-31 victory. Overall, Notre Dame has an 80th ranked rushing defense and a 34th ranked passing defense.” – Ray Boone

10. Florida

Previous SQ Rank: 9

Coaches Poll Rank: 12

“Florida is in control of its own destiny when it takes on SEC East rival and foe Georgia this week. A win likely puts the Gators in the SEC title game for the first time since Tim Tebow was under center for the team. Florida’s favored in this game, so far, but expect Georgia to put up a strong fight as they’ve won three of the last four meetings.” – Sean Berger

11. Iowa

Previous SQ Rank: 18

Coaches Poll Rank: 11

“The Hawkeyes are looking to build off a really solid Week 7 performance of crushing the previously highly-ranked Northwestern squad, winning the game 40-10. Defense was always the handicap with this team, but their performance against the Wildcats provided some hope. If this team is to be taken seriously, they need to have similar performances against the quality teams on their schedule.” – Ray Boone

12. Oklahoma State

Previous SQ Rank: 16

Coaches Poll Rank: 10

“Oklahoma State has been a pleasant surprise, starting off the season 7-0. However, they’ve mostly been unchallenged beating teams like Kansas, Texas and Central Michigan. This week offers an interesting challenge against a Texas Tech team that has averaged 46.6 points per game this season.” – Sean Berger

13. Oklahoma

Previous SQ Rank: 20

Coaches Poll Rank: 13

“The 6-1 Oklahoma Sooners took care of Texas Tech in Week 8 with a dominating 63-27 win. However, the play of outstanding quarterback Baker Mayfield was not the reason for the huge win. The Sooners racked up a whopping 405 yards and seven scores on the ground. Running back Samaje Perine pounded Tech’s defense to the tune of 201 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries.” – Ray Boone

14. Utah

Previous SQ Rank: 3

Coaches Poll Rank: 14

“The perfect season is no more after being thrashed by USC but Utah is still fighting for a Pac-12 South title. QB Travis Wilson, who threw four interceptions against the Trojans, needs to play better for that to be a reality.” – Brian Peel

15. Michigan

Previous SQ Rank: 11

Coaches Poll Rank: 17

“The Michigan Wolverines are coming off a Week 8 BYE — and boy, did they need one. The Wolverines suffered one of the most painful losses in College Football history in Week 7, losing to Michigan State in the final seconds of the game. Michigan’s punter fumbled the snap, which was then recovered by the Spartans and returned for a touchdown for a walk-off 27-23 victory. However, I believe in this Michigan team. Their No. 1 ranked defense is legit, and they were only seconds away from beating a Top-10 team. Look out Ohio State, the Wolverines are hungry.” – Ray Boone

16. Memphis

Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked

Coaches Poll Rank: 16

“Memphis is one of the most underrated teams in the country, but is finally starting to get the recognition that it deserves. After all, the Tigers are tied for
second in the nation in scoring (48.9 points per game) and is sixth in total offense (557.3 yards per game).” – Sean Berger

17. Houston

Previous SQ Rank: 24

Coaches Poll Rank: 19

“Houston has been one of the most productive offensive teams in the country under Tom Herman’s leadership (561.1 yards per game). And even though they’re taking on a lowly Vanderbilt squad, don’t underestimate the Commodores defense. The ‘Dores have held opponents to 16.3 points per game, good for 13th in the country.” – Sean Berger

18. Florida State

Previous SQ Rank: 12

Coaches Poll Rank: 15

“Can you really blame Roberto Aguayo for being such a poor tackler? The guy is so accurate at 89% for his career that he probably doesn’t even watch the ball after he kicks it anymore.” – Brian Peel 

19. Ole Miss

Previous SQ Rank: 13

Coaches Poll Rank: 21

“Lots of talent, lots of inconsistency. No, I’m not talking about Meryl Streep, I’m talking about Ole Miss. I could see them blowing out a struggling Auburn, but could also see them choking against a down Auburn team.” – Brian Peel

20. Toledo

Previous SQ Rank: 23

Coaches Poll Rank: 20

“If you’re scheduled to play football on three straight Tuesday nights, you probably aren’t one of the 25 best teams in the country. But give it up to the Rockets, who are undefeated and in the Top 25 in offensive points per game and defensive points allowed per game.” – Brian Peel

21. Duke

Previous SQ Rank: 25

Coaches Poll Rank: 18

“David Cutcliffe really has this team playing well again, and people are now more aware that Duke actually has a football team. Thanks to a stellar defense (has allowed 281.3 yards per game and 14.1 points per game), the Blue Devils have a great shot to get to the ACC title game.” – Sean Berger

22. Temple

Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked

Coaches Poll Rank: 22

“It’s Week 8, and the Temple Owls are still undefeated. Quarterback P.J. Walker continued with his steady season, throwing for 250 yards and one touchdown. He has thrown nine touchdowns to only three interceptions all year. Temple’s 14th ranked defense has also continued with its spectacular ways, coming up with an interception in the win.” – Ray Boone

23. Pittsburgh

Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked

Coaches Poll Rank: 24

“First-year head coach Pat Narduzzi has Pitt rolling at 6-1. The Panthers are 16th in the country in total defense, allowing only 308 yards a game to their opponents. No real surprise considering the Nard Dog was Michigan State’s defensive coordinator for eight seasons.” – Brian Peel

24. UCLA

Previous SQ Rank: 17

Coaches Poll Rank: 25

“Josh Rosen continues to impress with three more touchdowns and 399 yards against Cal. The Bruins could have been a playoff contender, if not for several defensive injuries early in the year.” – Brian Peel

25. Mississippi State

Previous SQ Rank: Not Ranked

Coaches Poll Rank: 27

“The Bulldogs’ offense has been great as of late, averaging 44 points over their last three games. Dak Prescott has been a major reason why, picking up 846 yards of total offense over the past two weeks.” – Sean Berger

Others Receiving Votes: Texas A&M

Ravens safety Matt Elam suspended one game for violating substance-abuse policy

Already on injured reserve with a torn biceps, Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam has been suspended one game without pay for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
The suspension will cost Elam a $60,010 game check as part of his guaranteed $1.02 million guaranteed base salary.
“We have been aware of this situation for a while,” the Ravens said in a statement. “Matt has been in our building rehabbing his injury on a regular basis, and he will continue to do so.”
Elam has been a major disappointment. Drafted in the first round in 2013, Elam has 26 starts, 123 tackles and one interception.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle

Stanford Is The Struggling Pac-12's Only Hope For Playoffs

There is a deep, dark, ancient secret that those on the East Coast might not want you to know about. Every Saturday night, when Nick Saban is swaddled in his footie pajamas and Urban Meyer is eight slices deep into a Papa John’s Meat Lover’s Pizza, college football is just getting underway in a land where Pumpkin Spice Lattes flow like water. I’m speaking of course of the West Coast, home of the Pac-12. Yes, the Pac-12 is used to getting no respect from East Coast media. But perhaps this season those critics have a point.  

The truth is, the Pac-12 has only itself to blame this season for being one of the forgotten Power Five conferences in 2015. Compared to the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12, which have a combined 13 teams in the Top 25 in either the AP or Coaches Poll and seven of the top ten teams, only three Pac-12 teams find themselves in the Top 25 and it doesn’t help that the conference continues to cannibalize each other, especially at the top. Last week No. 3 Utah’s perfect season was obliterated by USC, 42-24 in Los Angeles which few outside of Las Vegas saw coming. The Trojans of course are the conferences’ most talented team once again but just as the case has been every year in the post-Pete Carroll era, inconsistency has been their downfall. USC was ranked as high as No. 6 in the country before dropping three games amid the Steve Sarkisian scandal. Things look just as bad up North in Eugene, with Oregon already falling three times including a astonishing 42-point loss to Utah in Autzen Stadium. The rest of the conference has looked mostly mediocre to bad with no team even close to challenging for a playoff berth. That is, besides the smart guys of course. 

Flashback to week one of the college football season and you might think any chance of Stanford making the Playoff was as unlikely as Donald Trump hosting the Latin Grammys. The Cardinal, a team known for their bullying, physical style of play since Jim Harbaugh rebuilt the program in 2007, got a taste of their own medicine when Northwestern dominated them from start to finish, coming away with a 16-6 victory. Stanford’s power run game was held in check against the Wildcats as the Cardinal only managed 85 rushing yards while giving up 225 rushing yards of their own. One big factor why Stanford struggled so much may have to due with the fact that the Cardinal had to travel half-way across the country and play a game that started at 9 a.m. Pacific time. 

Whatever the reason may be for Stanford’s sluggish start to the season, things have certainly turned around since. After their opening loss, the Cardinal have won their last six games by an average of 21 points. Stanford is undefeated in the Pac-12 at 5-0 in the conference, including dominate victories over then No. 6 USC and then No. 18 UCLA. The Cardinal win over the Bruins may best be known for when receiver Francis Owusu made the catch of the year in college football. 

In their six game winning streak, Stanford is at 42.6 points per game and have rediscovered their run game, averaging 244 yards on the ground. After falling out of the top 25 following the loss to Northwestern, the Cardinal is now ranked No. 8 in both polls. 

Northwestern Average in Last Six Games 
Rushing Yards 85 244
Total Yards  240 490
Points  6 42.6

Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan has been his usual steady self, tossing 14 touchdowns and limiting his turnovers. Hogan has done his job but who the Cardinal have really leaned on is multidimensional superstar Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey, the son of former Denver Broncos Receiver Ed McCaffrey, is technically a running back but this season he has proven to be much more. The sophomore from Denver has 1,818 total yards which leads the entire nation and has put him in the Heisman conversation. Not only has McCaffrey run for 953 yards but he has also made 21 catches for 284 yards and returned a combined 27 punts and kickoffs that give him another 581 yards. Wearing the number five jersey, McCaffrey looks a little like USC’s most recent Heisman winner Reggie Bush who finished the 2005 season with 2,611 total yards and got the ball in every way possible as well.    

Stanford’s spectacular offense has been needed as the Cardinal defense has yet to look like the dominant unit it has been for the past few seasons. While the defense hasn’t been poor, ranking 32nd in the country in both defensive yards allowed and points allowed, they have yet to play some of the most explosive teams on their schedule. One of the most glaring deficiencies in this year’s defense is the lack of an elite pass rush, which is what Stanford’s defense has been built on in the past. This year, the Cardinal only have ten total sacks which is tied for 103rd in the nation and second to last in the Pac-12. Since David Shaw took over as head coach in 2011, Stanford has been near the top in the country in sacks which means it is less about the scheme and more about the players. Six players have a sack for Stanford but four of those players have only one. 

This lack of pressure could spell doom for Stanford down the stretch starting at Washington State on Saturday. The Cougars are second in the country in passing, averaging 415 yards through the air and are finally looking like Mike Leach era Texas Tech. If the Cardinal do survive Saturday up in the Palouse, they still have a tough gauntlet of Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame, and a potential Pac-12 Championship Game to close the season. 

Fans of West Coast football know what kind of program Stanford has built. They know that despite a brutal opening loss that the Cardinal can rebound and make themselves relevant again. They know that Stanford is tough enough to close out a season even against good competition. They know that David Shaw and his team are mentally strong enough to play well even when the stakes are raised late. If all that does come to fruition, perhaps the East Coast will finally know as well.  

Three Reasons Why Tennessee Won't Lose Again This Season

Tennessee has had a rough going so far this season. If you’ve been paying any attention to college football this year, you would know that is an understatement.

The Volunteers (3-4, 1-3 SEC) played a close one against No. 8 Alabama in Tuscaloosa last week, falling 19-14 after entering the 4th quarter with the lead. It was the latest in a series of heartbreaking losses for the Vols this year.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a team that has suffered more demoralizing defeats. Tennessee has lost all four of their games by a combined total of 17 points. 

However, it would be even harder to find a better team with a losing record. Tennessee may be 3-4, but they are the best 3-4 team in the nation.

The Vols should not lose another game this season.

Here are three reasons why:

Remaining schedule

Up to this point, Tennessee has had quite a tough schedule. They opened their season with a win against a veteran Bowling Green squad, a team that is now 6-2 with their only other loss coming to No. 16 Memphis.

With an out-of-conference game against No. 14 Oklahoma, an away game against No. 11 Florida, and last week’s game against No. 7 Alabama, it is not hard to see that Tennessee’s first half of the season was filled with quality opponents.

As the Vols move into the second half of their schedule, the challenge looks to be much more manageable:

Oct. 31  @ Kentucky
Nov. 7 vs. South Carolina
Nov. 14 vs. North Texas
Nov. 21 @ Missouri
Nov. 28 vs. Vanderbilt

Tennessee has beaten Kentucky 29 times in the last 30 years. Butch Jones is 2-0 against the Gamecocks, and Steve Spurrier is no longer coaching for them. Tennessee is 0-3 against Missouri since they joined the SEC, but the Tigers lost to Vanderbilt last week and were subsequently ranked dead last in ESPN’s SEC power rankings.

Battle-tested Vols

Tennessee has been starting one of the youngest teams in the SEC this year. The close losses the Vols have suffered starts to make sense when you look at the youth of the team.

Being thrust into meaningful roles has been a baptism by fire of sorts for many young Vols. But these snaps have given Tennessee’s underclassmen valuable experience against quality opponents.

After losing another game they could have won, Tennessee should look to take out their frustrations on their remaining opponents.

The improvement is there

For Tennessee players and fans alike, the phrase “moral victory” is one they are tired of hearing. But after last week’s game in Tuscaloosa, the Vols’ performance couldn’t be more accurately described. 

The Vols have lost to Alabama for nine straight years now, and most of the losses they have suffered have not been close. But last week, the Vols were competing on Alabama’s level for the first time in a long time. Tennessee lead to open the 4th quarter, a feat they have not accomplished since 2006.

Tennessee’s home upset against a ranked Georgia team is further proof of their improvement throughout the course of the season. 

The Vols are almost there, they just haven’t quite turned the corner yet.


An 8-4 finish for the Vols might not meet the lofty expectations that were set by fans before the season began. But at this point, it’s the best Tennessee can do. 

With such a finish, the Vols would find themselves in a solid bowl game with a chance to finish 9-4. After last season’s 7-5 record, finishing 9-4 is undeniable improvement.

Jerry Kill: A Coaching Rarity

Earlier this week, Jerry Kill announced he was stepping down as the Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach due to health concerns. His exit isn’t like Steve Spurrier’s at South Carolina, or Steve Sarkisian’s at Southern California, and no where close to Al Golden and Randy Edsall being sent their walking papers – all of those guys suffered from self-inflicted problems within their programs, whether it be not winning enough or personal struggles with the rigors of coaching.

Kill had to make this decision: live out your dream and deal with life-altering health problems, or get healthy and give up your dream. We’ve seen press conferences and statements from coaches that show little to no emotion, and then we get a farewell presser like the one Kill issued.

“Last night, when I walked off the practice field … I feel like a part of me died.” – Jerry Kill

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 28, 2015

Right there, is pure, raw emotion in it’s physical form. You get teary-eyed watching his presser because you can feel in his voice the sadness of giving up the only thing he knew: coaching football.

When you dig into the coaching career of Kill, you find out why he was beloved in the college football world: he worked hard to move up the ladder.

There was no stop as a coordinator at a powerhouse program like Ohio State. The ascension to FBS head coach was a process that took over 20 years to complete – and that was just to get to Northern Illinois.

Stops at Pittsburg State paved the way for Kill to go to Saginaw Valley State, which then led to a return to Kansas at Emporia State. Notice how none of these schools are remotely close to being an FBS school; and Kill spent 15 years fighting upriver in the coaching world.

Let’s look at some other coaches and their climb up the ranks:

Nick Saban started out at Kent State, an FBS school, in 1972 as a graduate assistant. Within 18 years, he made stops at Syracuse, Ohio State, the Houston Oilers in the NFL and Toledo as a head coach.

Randy Edsall spent the first 10 years of his coaching career at Syracuse. Edsall had the advantage of formally being the quarterback at ‘Cuse, and was taken under the wing of Tom Coughlin, who was one of the coaches of the Orange. 

Those are just two examples, but they highlight the important example of life: it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Jerry Kill is college football. A heartbreaking day all around.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 28, 2015

However, Kill took that concept and threw it out the window. From one dusty road in the middle of the country to the next, Kill kept on trucking along, and finally hit paydirt with an FBS coaching gig in 2008 with Northern Illinois – but this was after a stop at Southern Illinois for seven seasons.

If you’re doing the math, that’s about 14 years of head coaching at small colleges before the FBS came calling. Not regular coaching, but head coaching. Tack on the other, roughly, nine years worth of high school and coordinating coach positions, and you finally have the picture of what it took to make it to the top division of football coaching.

Now, let’s look a little closer at the numbers. 

While at Southern Illinois, this was the production Kill had:

Year Record Result in I-AA/Division Playoffs
1 1-10
2 4-8
3 10-2 First Round Loss
4 10-2 First Round Loss
5 9-4 Second Round Loss
6 9-4 Second Round Loss
7 12-2 Semifinal Loss

Steady improvement, that’s what Kill had going for him. Every year, his teams got better – or stayed consistent. The dream scenario for any program is the formula Kill had created over the course of 20 years. A formula of getting better year-in and year-out. It may seem obvious, but that formula is hard to obtain – you have a better chance of finding out the secret formula to the Krabby Patty, or trying to understand what the secret ingredients are for KFC chicken. 

Talk is cheap, what Jerry Kill gave you were solid results that you would be proud of.

Fast forward to Minnesota , the Gophers were on a trajectory that could’ve rivaled what they had in the 1960’s. I’m not kidding, given four more years following the Kill formula the Gophers would’ve been in a situation to be vying for a Big Ten title and possibly a Rose Bowl.

But, like anything, the universe will step in and taketh away. All the sleepless nights spent looking over film, recruiting, driving around, and strategizing are taken away in the snap of a finger. 

And it sucks. The guy who fought to get to where he is has to step down due to something out of his control. Even after cutting out the sugary drinks and doing everything he could to get better, the universe basically said, “yea… we are still collecting dreams, Jerry. Time to pay up.” 

We won’t see another Jerry Kill caliber coach for a long time. He truly is a one-of-a-kind coaching gem that was pulled up from the rural dirt in Kansas. 

Combine Kill’s sudden departure with the even more sudden death of Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, and the state of Minnesota has plenty of reason to grieve. 

Like any sudden event, ordinary people rise up and become extraordinary. Whether it’s a team effort – like Ohio State clicking on all cylinders in both football and wrestling after the death of Kosta Karageorge – or an individual effort, people rally. Yes, the Gophers head coach isn’t there, but the values and beliefs instilled on the players by Kill will still be there. The imprint left by Kill will be there for as long as the players and coaching staff allow it to be there. Looking at Kill’s track record and the subsequent years after leaving a destination, the imprints left shine; there aren’t smudges. 

The way Jerry Kill rose up the college ranks through hard work is lyrical. There was a chorus, hard work; a verse, consistency; and a melody, anchored by being successful. But like any great song, it ends too soon.

Kill’s final press conference ended his career on a minor chord. However, that won’t take away from the major chords he had throughout his career. If there is anything we learned from Jerry, it’s this: hard work will get you to the top. It may take time, but you’ll get there if you truly want it. 

I talked about how the universe takes away, but it can also give you the objects of your desire. You have to ask for it, though. 

Coach Kill used hard work as the language to the universe, and he received. While just for a short amount of time, he got the dream.

At the end of the day, that’s what we all are chasing. Let’s look to Jerry Kill as the example of how to finish the chase.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft takes shot at Colts

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft took a shot at the Indianapolis Colts during a speech honoring Willie McGinest.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than saddling the Indianapolis Colts with a loss, something the Patriots did 16 times in Willie McGinest’s career,” Kraft said after the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame at halftime of New England’s 36-7 win against Miami.
The video showed McGinest making a tackle against the Colts in a 2003 win.
Of course, the Patriots don’t care for the Colts after the ‘Deflategate’ scandal that started when Colts general manager Ryan Grigson reported the Patriots were using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.