Michigan v Alabama

Tide player, frat named in federal lawsuit


The last thing a team churning toward a date with the BcS crystal needs is an off-field distraction.

Would this qualify?  Probably not, but it’s safe to say head coach Nick Saban isn’t pleased with the timing of this development.

According to the Birmingham News, senior H-back Kelly Johnson and his fraternity have been named as part of a personal injury lawsuit filed in federal court in Birmingham last Friday.  The amount of damages being sought was not detailed.

The suit claims that the alleged victim, Logan Herring, was involved in an incident at Johnson’s residence in September of 2010 that resulted in Herring suffering “a concussion and brain injury, memory loss, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.”

The incident occurred at what was described as a pledge event at Johnson’s home that was, oddly enough, serving alcohol to underage individuals.

The suit claims that, after Herring had puked all over a couch in Johnson’s residence, Herring was assaulted by Johnson in a bathroom, where the football player allegedly punched and kicked the alleged victim in the head to the point of unconsciousness.  For good measure, it’s alleged that Johnson gave Herring’s head a goodbye slam into a wall on his way out of the home.

As for why the frat is involved in the civil action, the News writes that “[t]he suit also alleges that members of the fraternity were aware that Johnson had assaulted another student at least once, including at least one other pledge.”

Johnson, who has played in all four of the No. 1 Tide’s games this season and started one, was not criminally charged for the events that led to the lawsuit.

The paper notes that Johnson was seen on the practice field Tuesday, preparing for this weekend’s game against Ole Miss.

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.

Video: There’s nothing wrong with Cardale Jones

Getty Images

In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.

Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst.  Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.

Is that perception valid?  Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.

He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.  It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season.  When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.

He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts.  Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well.  During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.

So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right?  Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.