Meandering our way through the offseason, a single one-liner at a time…
— Coming off a six-loss season, Mark Dantonio goes
delusional on the record by saying that Michigan State is “not that far away” from a return trip to the Rose Bowl that’s a quarter century in the making.
— If you’re in the mood for both a feel-good story and the shedding of a tear or two along the way, read this piece from The Oregonian‘s Lindsay Schnell on Oregon State wide receiver and burgeoning star Brandin Cooks.
— His momma calls him “Clint Chelf” while his football family calls him “Steady Eddie,” which is much better than “Choo Choo.”
— Mark Richt has apparently decided to cannonball right into the Twitterverse.
— Televised spring games not exactly “Must-See TV” for Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (or anyone else with a semblance of a life for that matter).
— True frosh history could be repeating itself at inside linebacker for Colorado.
— New North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren still looking for “the guy” at quarterback.
— Auburn defensive tackle Ben Bradley has shed 30 pounds to get down to his fighting weight of 300(ish) pounds.
— Tennessee continues preparations for Saturday’s Orange & White game.
— Hard work has been kind to Utah safety Tyron Morris-Edwards, which in kind could be good news for the Utes’ defense.
— Wide receiver-turned-cornerback Ian Thomas is looking to fill a void for Rutgers at cornerback.
— Nearly two dozen recruits will take in Penn State’s spring game Saturday.
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.