Cal quarterback Jared Goff declares for NFL draft

Cal quarterback Jared Goff has declared for the NFL draft.
Goff threw six touchdowns and 467 yards in his final game, an Armed Forces Bowl win over Air Force.
He’s projected as a high first-round draft pick.
Goff set 26 school records.
This sseason, Goff broke his own single-season records with 4,719 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes.
His 161.3 passer efficiency rating this season is second on the Bears’ all-time list.
Goff and Memphis junior Paxton Lynch are regarded as the top quarterback prospects this year.
Lynch completed just 16 of 37 passes for 108 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in a 31-10 loss to Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl.
The Texans sent two scouts to the Birmingham Bowl.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

Leigh Steinberg representing Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

Leigh Steinberg, the former agent for Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Warren Moon and Drew Bledsoe, has landed a new top quarterback.
The one-time super agent is making a comeback, signing Memphis quarterback and top NFL draft prospect Paxton Lynch.
Steinberg battled financial and personal issues and conquered them to get back into the agent game.
This represents a major personal victory for Steinberg, who’s on the comeback trail.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

SQ Citrus Bowl Preview

The Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines were on the downtrend of college football the past couple of seasons, but thanks to new coaching staffs, both of these teams have changed direction rather quickly. Jim McElwain (Florida) and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) have done more than what was expected in their first seasons, and these two coaches will meet on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl. This matchup was a great surprise, and will certainly be one of the bowls to watch. Here’s what you need to know:

Storylines Heading Into the Game

Florida’s Offense Continues to Ride the Struggle Bus: Ever since Will Grier tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, Florida’s offense hasn’t been the same. Treon Harris has struggled as the team’s starting QB, and just hasn’t looked comfortable at all under center. The offense hit an all-time low in SEC Championship when it put up just 180 total yards. For the Gators to have any sort of chance against Michigan they’ve got to get Harris going early with short, quick passes.

McElwain and Harbaugh Surpassing First Year Expectations: It’s not really a surprise to see both of these programs doing well with their new coaches, but both have certainly exceeded year-one expectations. McElwain took Florida all the way to the SEC Championship when the team was picked to finish near the bottom in preseason polls. Meanwhile, Harbaugh brought Michigan back to relevancy by winning nine games and making them one of the toughest teams to score on.

A Battle of Two Great Defenses: If you love a good defensive duel, then you’re in luck because this game features two of the nation’s best. Florida and Michigan each rank in the top-10 in total defense, with each also ranking in the top-15 in scoring defense. Needless to say, neither of these offenses are looking forward to playing against their opponent’s defense. Whoever can limit mistakes on defense and win the turnover battle will come out on top of this game.

Key Stats

43 – The Florida Gators are tied for 126th in the nation with 43 sacks allowed this season. While young and inexperienced, the Gators’ O-Line held up decently in the first five games, surrendering 10 sacks. But it was downhill from there, and the Treon Harris has felt the brunt of the hits. The O-Line must do a better job of protecting Harris if he’s going to have any shot of being productive this game.

93.88% – Michigan may not have one of the best offenses in the country, but when it comes to redzone efficiency, the Wolverines are money. Michigan has scored 46 out of 49 times when in the redzone, and they’re going to need to take advantage of any trips inside the 20 against this defense. 

45.29 – Florida punter Johnny Townsend has averaged 45.29 yards per punt over the last three games. Field position is going to be a key in this game, and Townsend can be a game-changer for the Gators by pinning the Wolverines deep in their own territory. With Townsend’s ability to pin opponents back behind their own 20, it makes Florida’s job on defense a lot easier.

Key Players

Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida – With the way Florida’s offense has underwhelmed, Kelvin Taylor really hasn’t gotten the recognition he has deserved. Taylor has run for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games, and is the key for Florida to be successful in this game. Taylor is going to get plenty of carries in this game as Michigan has had trouble stopping the run as of late (746 rush yards surrendered in last three games). If Taylor can find holes early, it will go a long way in helping the passing game for Harris.

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan – Butt was named the best tight end this year after winning the Mackey Award, and he is the key to Michigan’s offense in this game. The Wolverines like to go to Butt early and often, as 30 of his 48 receptions have come in the first half this season. Going up against one of the best secondaries in the country, Butt is going to be QB Jake Rudock’s go-to target early on to gain some confidence.

Why Florida Will Win

Florida will win this game if it can squeeze enough points out of its offense. The offensive line is without a doubt the key component to offensive success for the Gators. A more stable O-Line will give Harris more confidence and he won’t feel like he has to run out of the pocket every time he feels pressure.

Florida is going to show up on defense, that much we know. The good thing for the Gators is that Michigan doesn’t have a great run game or a premiere running back. In all three of the Gators’ losses, each team had a feature back that ran for at least 180 yards. Containing Rudock and Butt are what the Gators should focus on in this game.

Why Michigan Will Win

On offense, Michigan has the upper hand in this one. Rudock improved greatly over the course of the season, and has become one of the better signal callers in the Big Ten. However, the shoulder injury he suffered against Ohio State could cause concern in this game. Facing a strong secondary tandem in Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Tabor is going to make it that much more important for Rudock to make smart decisions.

Michigan’s defense could end up making New Year’s Day a mess for Florida. The Wolverines have a strong enough pass rush that will cause Harris to get of the ball quicker than he wants to. The one question Michigan faces on defense is if All-American Jabrill Peppers will be able to play or not. If he’s not able to go that’s a big blow to the team, leaving them not only without a standout safety, but one of their better running backs. 


This game is going to be an all-out defensive war. What it’s going to come down to is who can hold on to the ball, and make the least amount of mistakes. Contrary to popular belief, Florida will not look as bad on offense as it has in the past few games, but that isn’t saying much. But for the Gators to win, Taylor and Harris each have to have good games in a combined effort. In the end, if Florida can muster up three touchdowns, Jim McElwain should notch his first bowl victory with the team.

Final Score: Florida 21 – Michigan 17

Ohio State players Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones leaving to NFL

Ohio State is losing a trio of players via early entry to the NFL.
Defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones are declaring for the draft.
Bosa will be a high first-round pick. Elliott will go in the first round, too.
Bosa had 26 career sacks, 16 tackles for losses this year and 50.5 tackles for losses for his career.
Elliott rushed for 1,672 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin arrested, charged with felony, suspended

Texas Christian quarterback Trevone Boykin was arrested and charged with a felony in San Antonio for fighting at a bar and allegedly hitting a police officer.
He’s been suspended for the Alamo Bowl against Oregon along with wide receiver Preston Miller.
Boykin was formally charged with assaulting a public servant, a third-degree felony, and assigned a $5,000 bond.
“Trevone Boykin and Preston Miller have been suspended for Saturday’s game due to a violation of team rules,” TC coach Gary Patterson said. “We are disappointed in their actions and apologize to the TCU Horned Frogs Nation, Valero Alamo Bowl and city of San Antonio.”

Authorities told multiple media outlets that Boykin, 22, and some teammates were in an establishment named Pat O’Brien’s just before 2 a.m. when some patrons recognized the quarterback and began to trash talk. Boykin became upset and a scuffle ensued. In the melee, Boykin struck a bar employee.
According to an incident report provided by the San Antonio PD, the suspect “was very aggressive and was being held back by the group that he was with. Members of his group stated they would get him back to the hotel they were staying at.”
After walking away, the suspect, whom police were told by bystanders was Boykin, charged officers. He allegedly was swinging at one officer and then several officers took him to the ground. After officers threatened to use a stun gun on Boykin, he was arrested. In addition to the charge of assaulting a police officer, he had also faced charges of resisting arrest and public intoxication.
The crime scene investigative team photographed the officer’s injuries, and he was treated by emergency medical personnel for lacerations.
The TCU athletic department issued a statement Thursday morning.
“We are aware of a situation last night and are gathering information,” the statement reads. “We will continue to closely monitor this and evaluate additional details as they become available.”
Boykin is a senior who passed for 3,575 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. The Dallas native was a second-team All-American last season.

Fired Eagles coach Chip Kelly expresses regrets

One day after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Chip Kelly broke his silence.
Kelly expressed regret that he didn’t build on his pair of 10-win seasons. Kelly went 26-21 in the NFL after leaving Oregon.
“I’m grateful to Jeffrey Lurie for allowing me to coach his Philadelphia Eagles for the past three seasons,” Kelly said. “I deeply regret that we did not bring this great city and its fans the championship they deserve. I was blessed to work with a gifted and hard-working coaching staff every day, and they will succeed wherever they go. Finally, my players mean the world to me. I will miss them very much and I will be rooting for them to achieve their dreams. Life is all about responding to challenges and seizing opportunities.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL
Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

SQ Rose Bowl Preview

After enjoying three of the six bowl games on Thursday, you better buckle up for an exciting slate of games on New Year’s Day. One of those games is the Rose Bowl between Stanford and Iowa, which can be seen on ESPN at 5 p.m. EST.

Storylines Heading Into the Game 

Very Similar Offenses

When this matchup was first announced, one of the many things that came to mind was the similar offensive strategy of both squads. Nowadays, fewer and fewer offenses are using fullbacks, but Iowa and Stanford are arguably two of the most recognized teams for their use of a fullback. However, don’t think for one second that this game will be boring, because both offenses average over 30 points a game.

Can Iowa Complete a Dream Season?

Besides Iowa fans, it is fair to say that nobody really expected the Hawkeyes to have a 12-win season and play in the Rose Bowl, but they absolutely deserve it. Although Iowa’s schedule was a bit on the easier side, there is no denying what they were able to do against teams like Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.

Kevin Hogan’s Last Game

Trying to follow up what Andrew Luck was able to do at Stanford would be a tall task for anyone, but Kevin Hogan stepped up and did a fantastic job. Totaling 9,215 passing yards and 35 wins over his four years in Palo Alto, Hogan led the Cardinal to three Rose Bowls, and is seeking his second Rose Bowl victory on Jan. 1 against Iowa. Now the question is: who will follow up Andrew Luck AND Kevin Hogan?

Key Stats

146- The average amount of rush yards that the Stanford defense allowed per game this season. Playing against a Hawkeye team that revolves their game plan around establishing the run, Stanford cannot let Iowa control the line of scrimmage if they want a shot at winning the Rose Bowl. In Stanford’s two losses (Northwestern and Oregon), their defense allowed over 220 rushing yards, so that will be something to watch as the game unfolds.

334- The average amount of total yards that the Iowa defense allowed per game this season. In a game that will feature Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who finished second in the Heisman voting, it will be difficult to keep the Cardinal from racking up yards, but the 21st-ranked defense in the nation is capable of slowing down McCaffrey and company.

268- The amount of all-purpose yards that Christian McCaffrey averaged per game this season. In addition to his production in the run game, McCaffrey also returns kicks and is a very effective pass catcher. Basically, whenever the ball is in his hands, good things happen for the Cardinal.

Key Players

C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa

With the departure of Jake Rudock, Beathard was able to take over the starting job for the Hawkeyes and he didn’t disappoint. Throwing 15 touchdown passes and only four interceptions, Beathard efficiently ran Kirk Ferentz’s run-heavy offense to near perfection. If the Hawkeyes want to beat Stanford, Beathard will have to make sure his first few throws are on target so that the Stanford linebackers begin to back up, allowing some openings in the run game.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

The Heisman runner-up will be the main focus in Iowa’s defensive game plan, but preparing for him is one thing, lining up across from him in a game is a totally different monster. Moreover, McCaffrey has been the key to Stanford’s offense all season long and it will not be changing in the biggest game of the year. If you still need convincing, check out the highlight video above. 

Why Iowa Wins

Iowa can win the Rose Bowl if they are able to limit the big plays generated by Christian McCaffrey and win the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball. Also, the Hawkeyes have the ability to put up points, and taking a few chances on some deep throws will open up the rest of Kirk Ferentz’s playbook. Iowa was kind of a “Cinderella” type of team this season, so it’s safe to say a Rose Bowl victory would be a great end to an awesome season.

Why Stanford Wins

Stanford can win the Rose Bowl if they play very disciplined on defense and win the turnover battle in a game where possessions will come at a premium. The Cardinal have the edge on offense and they have a chance to display it on a national stage, so there is no reason to hold back. Additionally, Stanford can help their chances if they are able to get a big play or two from McCaffrey on special teams.


First of all, this is a must-watch game and if you don’t tune in for at least part of it, you better have a good excuse. Yes, it features two offenses that still use a fullback, but it also features two consistent quarterbacks, two solid defenses, and Christian McCaffrey. All in all, I think this game will come down to the last possession. Iowa will find enough success in the running game to open up the play-action pass that Beathard is quite good at, while Stanford will be playing against the best defense they’ve seen all year. My prediction is that the wild ride of a season for Iowa will end in a victory at the Rose Bowl.

Final Score: Iowa 24 – Stanford 21

Seahawks Battle Cardinals in Most Expensive Week 17 Game on Secondary Market

Don’t look now, but the 2015 NFL season is nearing the end. The final weekend of games will carry plenty of playoff implications across the league, ranging from several teams looking for home field advantage to the Colts needing the stars to align to secure a playoff spot.
Check out the list of this week’s top-priced games below, according to TiqIQ:
1/03/16 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals  |  Avg. Price: $299.09  |  Get-in: $90
The Seattle Seahawks have clinched a postseason berth and will look to end the regular season on a high note with a win in Arizona on Sunday. Arizona Cardinals tickets for the final regular season home game in Glendale own a secondary market average of $299.09 and the cheapest ticket is listed for $114. The Seahawks have a shot at clinching first place in the NFC West with a win and a Tampa Bay Buccaneers win over the 14-1 Carolina Panthers.
Heading out to the game this weekend? offers the best deals on Glendale hotels surrounding University of Phoenix Stadium. The cheapest hotels can be found from $41 per night while Airbnb listings start at just $27 each night.  
1/03/16 New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins  |  Avg. Price: $298.17  |  Get-in: $102
The New England Patriots will quickly forget their overtime loss to the New York Jets last weekend and again set their sights on clinching home field advantage with one final regular season win. They’ll take on the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, where the average price for Miami Dolphins tickets vs the Patriots is currently $298.17 and the get-in price is $120. Pending a loss in Miami the Patriots can still clinch home field through the playoffs if the Denver Broncos fall to the San Diego Chargers.
1/03/16 Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers  |  Avg. Price: $233.81  |  Get-in: $110
A de facto NFC North championship game is in order Sunday when the Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Both teams sit at 10-5 and have each clinched a postseason berth but will hope to add a banner to their respective home field with a win this weekend. Green Bay Packers tickets against the Vikings average $233.81 and the get-in price is $110.
1/03/16 Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears  |  Avg. Price: $213.01  |  Get-in: $65
The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears have both underachieved in the NFC North this season, but that won’t deter fans from paying big on the secondary market for their final battle of the season at Soldier Field Sunday. Chicago Bears tickets for the team’s final home game of the season own a secondary market average of $213.01 and the cheapest ticket is $65 on the secondary market. It will be yet another year without a playoff win for the Lions, whose last postseason victory came against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1991 NFC Divisional Game.

Breaking Down WR Aaron Burbridge and WR Braxton Miller

Aaron is a fourth year senior and a two year starter for Michigan State. In his first two seasons, he was a part time starter. He had a breakout year in 2015 with 80 receptions for 1219 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2014 he had 29 catches for 358 yards and one touchdown.
Size –
6010 – 210 – 4.50 (all estimates)
Strong Points –
Good to very good athlete with adequate speed. Has excellent hands, can snatch the ball and can make the difficult catch. Very good route runner who can get open versus zone and man. Good quickness out of cuts to gain separation. Will compete for the ball in traffic and win. Strong runner after the catch with quickness, elusiveness and strength. Willing blocker.
Weak Points –
Not a burner, won’t be a real deep threat at the next level.
Summation –
Burbridge is a talented and productive receiver who has the tolls to be an eventual starter at the NFL level. He plays in an NFL style offense and will not have the learning curve some spread receivers have. He is a very good route runner who knows how to get open. I don’t see him as a deep threat but he can become a very good possession type receiver. Can become a consistent number two receiver in most schemes.
Braxton Miller – WR/RB/QB – Ohio State
Miller is a fifth year senior and a four year starter for Ohio State. He enrolled in 2011 and quickly become the starter at quarterback. He remained the OSU quarterback for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. He injured his shoulder at the end of the 2013 season and reinjured again in August of 2014 causing him to miss the 2014 season. This year he played wide receiver, running back and some quarterback. He finished this season with 24 receptions for 329 yards and three touchdowns and 40 carries for 254 yards and one touchdown. He will most likely be a wide receiver at the next level.
Size –
6016 – 215 – 4.45
Strong Points –
Excellent size with exceptional overall athleticism and body control. Has good hands and he is an excellent runner after the catch showing speed, power and elusiveness. Very instinctive. A top competitor. Has outstanding big play potential.
Weak Points –
Very raw as a receiver. Needs to develop his route running skills and his ability to read coverages. Right now he is a jack of all trades and master of none.
Summation –
May be one of the most exciting players in the draft. Has excellent big play ability but he is still raw as far as being a wide receiver. He will need to go through an understandable learning curve but once he is comfortable…look out! Will contribute early as a spot player while he is learning. With his run skills, he may be able to play some running back also. It would not surprise me if he becomes a top return man. Very few have his natural talent.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe