June Jones

Predictions 101 — BBVA Compass Bowl

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SMU vs. Pittsburgh
Jan. 7, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
At Birmingham, Ala.

After inheriting a 1-11 team before the 2009 season, June Jones is leading the Mustangs into their third consecutive bowl game.

That’s why Jones’ name is often on the short lists of athletic directors seeking a new football boss. In fact, he was apparently one step away from being signed, sealed and delivered to Arizona State, until a last-minute change of heart by the Sun Devils nixed the deal and sent agent Lee Steinberg into a Twitter tizzy.

None of that helps the mission of beating the Panthers (6-6), who defeated Kentucky, 27-10, in this bowl game last year. In that contest, Pitt players fought hard to honor Dave Wannstedt, who was fired after leading them to a 7-5 regular season and share of the Big East title.

Players are sometimes known to give full and focused efforts when they feel they’ve contributed to their coach being canned. The opposite is true when they feel that their coach has his sights set on greener pastures (or dusty deserts).

And we aren’t just talking about Jones’ near exit. The Panthers will play this game without coach Todd Graham, who bailed for Arizona State, co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and two other assistant coaches, who left to join Rich Rodriguez at Arizona.

Even if mental focus and togetherness doesn’t let SMU (7-5) down, its lack of ball security will. The Mustangs rank dead last in the nation in turnover margin with 31 giveaways and just 14 takeaways.

Opening point spread: Pittsburgh by 5 1/2

The pick: Pittsburgh 28-17

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.

Appalachian State announces five-year extension for head coach Scott Satterfield

Scott Satterfield
Associated Press
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One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.

“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”


Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.

Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.

“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”

Wisconsin announces 10-year agreement with Under Armour

Joel Stave
Associated Press

What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.

“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”

The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.

Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:

Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.

“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.

Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.