Bulls

Kelly relieved to avoid BCS politics

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Kelly relieved to avoid BCS politics

Brian Kelly said earlier in the fall he aimed to stay out of BCS politics. But as Notre Dame's path to the BCS Championship became clear in requiring two teams ahead of them to lose, it became difficult for Kelly to steer clear of politicking for his team.

After Notre Dame beat Boston College to improve to 10-0, Kelly voted his team No. 1 in the coaches poll, which is a component of the BCS. No other coach did. While Kelly said he told his team he believed they were No. 1, on some level, Kelly was doing his part to improve Notre Dame's standing in the BCS.

That was one thing Kelly could control -- his vote in the coaches poll. He had Notre Dame No. 2 before Alabama lost, and then moved them to No. 1. Nobody's questioning his No. 1 vote for Notre Dame this week, though.

"Oh, absolutely, but I understand it, too," Kelly said, relieved to not have to answer questions about politicking. "It comes with the territory, you're going to have those questions posed to you, and the best thing that I can do is keep our football team focused on the next game, and that's what we tried to do."

No matter how well Notre Dame played, and no matter what Kelly did, the Irish needed some combination of Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon to lose to have a chance to reach the national title. All three lost in successive weekends, and as long as Notre Dame beats USC, there won't be any BCS controversy in 2012.

"It's like being selected for the playoffs," Kelly said. "Now you know you're in if you take care of business, and you've got to win each week. I think it's more about just the feeling that you're included now in the race for a championship."

Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)

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AP

Bulls Talk Podcast: 2018 NBA Draft primer (and some Kawhi talk)

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Strotman and Scott Phillips get you set for the 2018 NBA Draft. They put together their own mock draft, analyzing each of the first seven picks, analyze a handful of options the Bulls should look at at No. 22, and answer questions from Twitter. They also discuss the Kawhi Leonard trade rumors and whether the Bulls could put together a package that would entice San Antonio.

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith remains unsigned, a situation that prior to the rookie wage scale would've been cause for concern. With contracts now based on slotting, or where a first-round pick is selected, there's little reason or room for agents to haggle over terms. A holdout isn't expected.

There have been some exceptions to this general principle, however. Joey Bosa, who was selected with the third pick by the Chargers in 2016, held out until August 29 over offset language and his signing bonus. So, while a holdout for Smith is unlikely, it's not impossible.

Assuming he agrees to a contract on time, here's what the terms of his deal should look like, according to CBS Sports:

2018 Cap Number: $3,349,485
Signing Bonus: $11,517,940
Four-year value: $18,477,168

If the numbers are correct, Smith will have the 17th-highest cap hit for the Bears in 2018, according to Spotrac. By comparison, Danny Trevathan has a $7.15 million cap hit this season.

Drafting well is critical for long-term success. If a general manager misses on first-round picks, the cap consequences mount over time. Consider Kevin White, the seventh-overall pick in 2015. He has zero touchdowns in his pro career but has a $5.27 million cap hit this year. Leonard Floyd, the team's first-rounder in 2016, has a $4.30 million cap hit and Mitch Trubisky, last year's second pick overall, is $6.59 million. Pace's four first-round picks, when counting Smith's expected deal, are four of the top-17 paid players on the payroll even though none of them have the production to back it up.

Smith, however, is as close to a bust-free prospect as the Bears have drafted in Pace's tenure. He was considered one of the best pure football players in the entire 2018 draft class and will start immediately alongside Trevathan as a rookie, assuming he's under contract in time to contribute in Week 1.