For better or worse, one of our nation’s favorite pastimes has become the commercials that air during the Super Bowl. More times than not, the discussion of the quality of ads overshadows the actual game itself and OMG the image of a blotchy nerd making out with a supermodel is forever burned into my cortex.
In that vein, the Kentucky Wildcats football program took to the Super Bowl airwaves Sunday night in an attempt to create some excitement and anticipation in its fan base. Featuring the voice of new head football coach Mark Stoops as well as an ominous air raid siren, the commercial, which aired only in Lexington, had one simple message: “buy tickets, we’re serious about football” as Cornett IMS, which produced the ad, put it.
I don’t know if it helped sell any tickets, but it was a well-executed and well-intentioned endeavor by the folks at Lexington-based Cornett.
Getting the UK fan base energized over its football team, though, will be easier said than done for the basketball-first school. Splashy ads are nice and all, but boosting a moribund football program will come down to something that’s been in short supply for nearly a century– wins.
The Wildcats have not won eight games in a season since 2007. Just twice in the 97-year history of the program (1950, 1977) have they hit double-digits in wins. There are only seven BCS conference schools that have an all-time winning percentage worse than UK’s .471: Wake Forest (.407), Indiana (.414), Kansas State (.432), Temple (.432), Northwestern (.440), Iowa State (.451) and Oregon State (.463).
In other words, “win some, they will come” regardless of any commercial that may or may not air during the Super Bowl.
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.
A very serious allegation has triggered the latest resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.
UCLA confirmed in a statement that Adam Searl (pictured, No. 39) has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. The move comes nearly a day after the punter was arrested on three counts of rape.
He was released a handful of hours after his arrest on a $300,000 bond.
“We have been informed of the situation involving Adam Searl, and we take these accusations very seriously,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “Adam has been suspended from the team indefinitely while the legal process runs its course. Due to the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time.”
The arrest stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in the middle of last October, and is the result what the Los Angeles Police Department described as “an exhaustive investigation.” As for what led to the charges, here’s the Los Angeles Daily News‘ account of the alleged incident:
The victim, a student at UCLA, reported the alleged assault to the LAPD on Oct. 14, 2014. She told police that she had met the suspect outside of an off-campus house party in Westwood. They went to another residence, where she fell asleep and awoke to find him assaulting her. She was able to identify Searl following the police investigation.
Searl punted 11 times as a redshirt freshman last season. He had punted five times this season as the backup to Matt Mengel.