Bears-Texans rematch in Super Bowl?


Bears-Texans rematch in Super Bowl?

An ugly home loss to the Houston Texans was a tough pill for Bears fans to swallow Sunday night, but as bad as the Bears played they were in the game until the very end with the best team in the AFC.

So could the Bears and Texans meet again, possibly on a much larger stage, in the Super Bowl?

Yeah, I think it would be a heck of a rematch, especially on a better field, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. Our vision and our dream is to get to the Super Bowl and there aint no shame in saying that.

And why are the Bears worthy?

Because they got a heck of a defense, Smith said. When you have a defense that can give you more chances to score, youre going to be a successful team. Even though people may talk about Jay Cutler and things like that, when hes on he can be a great quarterback.

Mannings return to the Windy City

Texans safety Danieal Manning was a second round draft pick by the Bears in 2006 and spent five seasons in Chicago. But, before the 2011 season he and the team decided to part ways and now Manning is flourishing in his home state of Texas.

Sunday night, Manning had an interception and forced a fumble in the opening half against his former team.

Honestly its a just the nature of the beast with this game on the business side, Manning said. They made a great decision and I feel like the DBs they have is good for them, and I made a good decision by coming here.

Manning and Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had a moment just after Mannings early interception.

He gave me the thumbs up and I gave him thumbs up back, Manning said. Hes always had my back and I have the same respect for him and all of those guys over there, even the coaching staff.

Power outage

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt came into Sundays game the NFL leader with 10.5 sacks and he left town at the top of the list. Surprisingly, the most elite defensive player in the league was not allowed to get to the quarterback by a Bears offensive line that has had some problems in the past with pass rushers.

Obviously there werent many opportunities for sacks out there, Watt said. We had to shut down the run and I think we did a good job of that. Anytime you can win a game like this in a tough situation on the road its very impressive. Were proud of ourselves today.

Whos better?

The Bears defense has shined brightly by becoming a turnover machine in 2012. A week ago, Charles Tillman had four forced fumbles against the Tennessee Titans and the defense was considered by many the best in the NFL heading into Sunday nights matchup with the Texans.

You hear a lot about their defense, Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "Sometimes our defense is overshadowed, because of what they do so much with taking the ball away. Today we did a great job of taking the ball away and playing great defense.

Joseph confirmed that the Texans defensive unit was vocal coming into the game about not playing second fiddle to the Bears.

Most times theyre the ones getting the turnovers, Joseph said. We responded with our own turnover run as well and got four in the first half. In a game like this thats the difference.

Foster the people

Texans running back Arian Foster was handed the ball 29 times and accumulated 102 yards on the ground, while also catching five passes for 15 yards and atouchdown Sunday night against the Bears. There is no doubt his effectiveness is a big reason the Bears are 7-2 and the Texans are 8-1.

This is what you play for," Foster said. "You play for big games and you play to help the team out when they need you the most. I didnt play a perfect game, but I felt like I did okay tonight. It was a great win for us, it really was. We control our own destiny in this thing and thats a good feeling.

Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen could miss rest of season with injury


Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen could miss rest of season with injury

Minnesota tight end Brandon Lingen has struggled to stay on the field this season, and now he might be off it for the rest of the year.

Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys wouldn't comment Tuesday on whether Lingen would be done for the year with his latest injury, but he didn't deny it either. Lingen is listed as out for Saturday's game at Illinois.

"I don’t know that for a fact, so I’m not going to comment any more than that," Claeys said, his quotes published by the Star Tribune.

Lingen has played in just one full game this season. The junior missed the season-opener before breaking his clavicle in the second game of the year and sitting out the next three games. He played the entirety of Minnesota's game against Maryland but suffered a foot injury last weekend.

Lingen started a total of 11 games in his first two seasons and last season proved an effective weapon in the passing game with 33 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns. This season, he has three catches for 28 yards.

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh is college football's highest-paid coach, per USA Today's updated database


Michigan's Jim Harbaugh is college football's highest-paid coach, per USA Today's updated database

The highest-paid coach in college football?

It's no longer Nick Saban.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is the highest-paid college football coach, according to USA Today's salaries list, the always-useful tool which was updated for the 2016 season on Wednesday.

According to the list, Harbaugh will make $9.004 million this year, an increase of $2 million from the last time the list was updated.

Saban, who's led Alabama to four national championships since arriving ahead of the 2007 season, gets paid $6,939,395 this year.

Why is Harbaugh's pay so much higher than the next highest-paid coach? You might remember Harbaugh's renegotiated contract from earlier this season. If you don't, USA Today provided a helpful explanation of that somewhat-confusing deal.

School pay includes two in what are essentially a series of $2 million interest-free loans that Harbaugh will receive. He received the first of these loans on June 3, 2016; he will receive the second only if he remains head coach on Dec. 6, 2016. The compensation actually is in the form of an annual life insurance premium payment by the university, which is entitled to reimbursement from the policy's death benefits.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer came in at No. 3 on the list with his $6.0948 million in 2016. Three other Big Ten coaches ranked in the top 15: Penn State's James Franklin at No. 10 ($4.5 million), Iowa's Kirk Ferentz ($4.5 million) and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio ($4.3 million).

The Big Ten has the second highest median coach's salary among the college football conference at $3,540,788. The median SEC coach's salary is significantly higher at $4,172,500.

Here's where all the Big Ten coaches landed on USA Today's list.

1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: $9,004,000
3. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: $6,094,800
10. James Franklin, Penn State: $4,500,000
11. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: $4,500,000
14. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: $4,300,000
28. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: $3,350,638
42. Mike Riley, Nebraska: $2,800,000
43. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin: $2,706,200
46. DJ Durkin, Maryland: $2,412,000
50. Kevin Wilson, Indiana: $2,320,000
53. Darrell Hazell, Purdue: $2,190,000
57. Chris Ash, Rutgers: $2,000,000
60. Lovie Smith, Illinois: $1,809,179
68. Tracy Claeys, Minnesota: $1,400,000