One day after his Gamecocks lost to Georgia, 41-30, Steve Spurrier’s assessment of South Carolina was typically blunt.
“”We’re not a very good team right now,” he said. “We’ve got to work hard to get our stuff together. We don’t need to worry about any kind of championships.”
The usually-stout Gamecocks defense was shredded by the balanced Bulldog attack. Georgia’s 536 total yards included 266 on the ground. It was the most yards allowed by a South Carolina defense since 2007. All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was largely a non-factor, despite picking up his first sack of the season.
On the bright side, the Gamecocks offense showed some proficiency. Tailback Mike Davis looks to be an upgrade over the departed Marcus Lattimore as he rushed for 150 yards on 16 carries to notch his second-straight 100-yard game. The sophomore once again showed he had downtown speed as he tore off a 75-yard run in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Connor Shaw continued to improve, too, throwing for 228 yards and two scores on 16 of 25 passing. He also ran for 75 yards.
So to say South Carolina isn’t a good team is probably going a bit far. It’s just that the Gamecocks ran into a buzz saw on Saturday. After all, it’s not easy to contain the likes of Murray, Gurley and Co.
As usual, Spurrier seems to be flapping his jaws for one reason only: To motivate his team.
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.