Kiss of Death: Goodell, Strong, Weis and More

This week's Kiss of Death looks at why NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wanted to meet with Charlie Strong, 10 things you need to know about Baylor, why Kansas fired Charlie Weis, and the call for an Upset Saturday this week!


Charlie Strong grew up in a house in Batesville, Ark., in which his mother and father took in other family and friends when they needed a hand.

The women ate first. If there was food left over, the men would eat.

There were many nights Charlie Strong and his father didn’t eat, so the women in the house could.

Looking out for women as opposed to belittling them or beating them was how Strong was raised.

But he saw a lot of desperation where he grew up as well, men losing hope, turning to drugs and alcohol and treating the mothers of their children as the outlets for their rage.

Strong learned from his father how to treat a woman and Strong was determined if he ever got into a position to make a difference that he’d do everything he could to break a cycle of behavior.

Maybe that’s why God blessed him with two daughters.

But I get this a lot: Why do people make a big deal about Charlie Strong’s 5 Core Values?

How hard is it to follow rules that include: 1) Honesty 2) Treat Women With Respect 3) No Drugs 4) No Stealing 5) No Guns

These rules pertain to every player who lines up for Strong.

But they probably pertain most to the at-risk college students on his teams. The first-generation college students who likely grew up in a single-parent, low-income household surrounded by drugs, stealing, guns and disrespectful behavior toward women.

Those are the people Charlie Strong is trying to save.

That’s why when he recruits kids he makes three promises: 1) a degree; 2) playing for championships; and 3) leaving college a better man, prepared for the rest of his life.

That conviction is what Roger Goodell wanted to tap into on Sunday. College football is the NFL’s farm system, and Goodell is now making a priority to create a better relationship between the NFL and college programs.

And Goodell knows the origins of domestic violence or any tendency toward child abuse are formed in players long before they reach the NFL.

So Goodell wanted to hear how Strong communicated and enforced his core values.

At one of the most critical times in the NFL’s history in terms of handling social issues, for Goodell to seek out Strong as a resource is an overwhelming endorsement of the way Strong tries to shape the attitude and behavior of student-athletes.



#1 … They’re 4-0 against a down-pillow soft schedule. The best team faced is Iowa State, which has the second-most punts (24) in the Big 12 this season behind Texas (25).

#2 … Baylor leads the Big 12 in sacks (18), one more than Texas (17) and has yet to give up a single sack on offense.

#3 … BU runs it more (54 percent) than it throws it (46 percent), but the Bears’s ability to go deep in the passing game creates room for the running game and leads the nation in yards per completion (17.58).

#4 … Freshman wide receiver K.D. Cannon is really good. He’s BU’s leading receiver, averaging 22.6 yards per catch and already has 5 TDs.

#5 … They’ve already gone for it on fourth down 11 times, converting 10 of them (91 percent). More on that in a second.

#6 … The Bears jump on you early, outscoring opponents 87-7 in the first quarter this season and 63-3 in the second quarter.

#7 … Backup QB Seth Russell leads the Big 12 in pass efficiency (190.3), ahead of starter Bryce Petty (162.2). Both quarterbacks have 7 TD passes and 1 INT.

#8 … Want to know why Baylor has gone for it on fourth down 11 times already? BU kicker Chris Callahan is just 1-of-6 on FG attempts this season, making Nick Rose look like a Groza Award candidate.

#9 … Bryce Hager, the son of former Texas line backer Britt Hager, is Baylor’s leading tackler and makes the defense go. (But, hey, Texas got Bryce’s younger brother, Breckyn, an Austin Westlake linebacker, to flip his commitment from BU to Texas.)

#10 … Did we mention Baylor is the No. 1 scoring team in Division I, averaging 56.8 ppg?



#1 … Before the season, I called for TCU to upset Oklahoma in Fort Worth next Saturday.

I thought the Horned Frogs’ defense would be better than people suspected, and TCU’s new Oklahoma State-style offense under Doug Meacham would put more points on the board.

So far so good for the Frogs, who are giving up a meager 7 points per game while averaging 44.7 ppg on offense.

It’s a tall order. But TCU has the defense to make quarterback Trevor Knight miserable, and the game is in Fort Worth.

TCU 24, Oklahoma 23

#2 … Speaking of defense, Kansas State’s is proving to be really good against the run.

First, K-State holds an Auburn rushing attack that had been averaging 330 yards rushing per game to 128 yards on 45 carries (2.8 ypc) in a game the Wildcats would have won if they had a FG kicker.

Then, KSU holds UTEP, a team that had been averaging 314 yards per game on the ground to 59 yards on 31 carries (1.9 ypc) in a 58-28 romp.

Next up, a chance to run all over Kliff Kingsbury’s beleaguered defense.

K-State 44, Texas Tech 27

#3 … Kansas' athletic director Sheahon Zenger is on the hot seat, too.

I have confirmed he had then-Auburn OC Gus Malzahn ready to accept the Kansas job in 2011, when KU decided to hire Charlie Weis instead.

Now, KU has to pay Weis $2.5 million for this season, 2015 and 2016 - so $7.5 million (all of it was guaranteed, apparently) - to go away.

One reason for Zenger to make this move now is to try to get moving on Texas A&M WR coach David Beaty, who I hear is also a top candidate at SMU.

Beaty, who coached at KU under Mangino, is a master recruiter because he coached at high schools all over DFW.

I thought Beaty should have been elevated to OC at A&M when Kliff Kingsbury left.

But I think Sumlin left Beaty as WR coach because he's such a strong recruiter.

As OC, Beaty wouldn't have been able to get out on the road as much.

I think Beaty would be a good hire for both Kansas and SMU. And even though SMU has the allure of DFW, Kansas has the allure of the Big 12.



#1 … Oregon
#2 … Oklahoma
#3 … Alabama
#4 … Florida State



Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama


THE WEEK AHEAD ( … and it looks like a great one )

Alabama at Ole Miss (UPSET ALERT ... I called this upset before the season)

LSU at Auburn (Auburn's gauntlet schedule stretch begins - LSU, at Miss St, S Carolina, at Ole Miss, Texas A&M, at Georgia)

Texas A&M at Miss State (UPSET ALERT ... I'm calling Miss State now after A&M's emotional comeback win over Arkie. I predict a clunker game from K Hill.)

Stanford at Notre Dame (How good is Everett Golson? We about to find out.)

Ohio State at Maryland (UPSET ALERT ... I called this upset before the season)

Nebraska at Michigan State (I, like the rest of the country, love Ameer Abdullah! Is he enough to put Bo Pelini over the top?)

Miami (Fla) at Georgia Tech - Ga Tech is the team to beat in this one.

Utah at UCLA (UPSET ALERT ... How does UCLA handle a week of people finally bragging on the Bruins?)

Arizona State at USC (Will ASU QB Taylor Kelly be back in time to shake things up in the Pac-12 South?)

THURSDAY - Arizona at Oregon (The Wildcats smashed Oregon 42-16 last year in Tucson)


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