It wasn’t pretty and it was far from a work of football art, but for LSU it got the job done.
A field goal with just over a minute left stretched LSU’s lead over Arkansas to seven points, and the Tigers were able to withstand a last-minute drive by the Razorbacks that ended with Tyler Wilson overthrowing the Hogs’ last-gasp chance in the end zone as the Tigers escaped with a 20-13 win. It also kept the Tigers’ faint SEC West title hopes alive.
If Auburn beats Alabama in the Iron Bowl tomorrow (ROTFLMAO) and Texas A&M beats Missouri, it would create a three-way tie atop the West division of the six-time defending BcS champion conference. Those two dominoes falling would mean all three teams would be tied at 6-2.
It would also mean that the Tigers would claim the division based on the SEC’s three-way tiebreaker rules. All three teams finished 1-1 against each other, which prompts the second step of the three-way tiebreaker — “Record of the tied teams within the division” — to come into play. Both of Alabama’s losses — assuming a defeat at the hands of Auburn — would have come against West foes while LSU and A&M would have just one divisional loss apiece, eliminating the Tide and reverting the process back to the two-way tiebreaker.
The first part of the SEC’s two-way tiebreaker is head-to-head competition between the two tied teams; as LSU beat A&M 24-19 on Oct. 20, the Tigers would advance to the SEC championship game to face SEC East winner Georgia.
As Alabama is a 30-plus-point favorite over Auburn and are playing in Tuscaloosa, however, it’s highly unlikely the three-way tiebreaker will come into play. And if A&M happens to lose to Mizzou? LSU would lose out on the divisional title regardless of what happens to Alabama as the Tide beat the Tigers head-to-head earlier this month.
Suffice to say, though, LSU, with their business taken care of, will be huge A&M and Auburn fans come Saturday afternoon.
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.
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.