Late last week, Jimbo Fisher created the kind of kerfuffle that only usually occurs in the offseason when he (gasp!) openly acknowledged that he was hoping Florida State would face Alabama in the final BCS title game.
That wasn’t a slight at the Seminoles’ actual opponent, Auburn; rather, it was Fisher merely pointing out that he and FSU wanted the opportunity to beat the cream of the college football crop, with the 2013 Crimson Tide, as two-time defending BCS champions and winners of three of the past four crystal footballs, representing that very ideal.
As the mini-firestorm took off, the FSU head coach felt the need to further explain what should’ve been patently obvious to most: his words were meant as nothing but respect for Alabama and that he was merely complementing “the SEC and Alabama in that situation by saying when you want to compete you have to go compete against the best and they were regarded as the best at the present time.”
From a Wednesday radio interview, as transcribed by al.com:
“By saying you want to play them, to me, is the ultimate respect because that is the thing you want to do. You want to play the best. That’s what we were able to do. No pun to Alabama or any SEC team or Auburn or anybody else, when you want to be a champion, you have to take those steps. You have to have that attitude to be able to compete.
“When you are vying for a championship, you want to be considered the best. You have to approach everybody; you have to be able to play everybody. The SEC had won seven championships. I coached in the league for 13 years. I know the league inside and out. I know what it is about and what it does and how good a league it is.
“But I think we have good football here. If you’re going be a champion and you want to be respected and thought of as a champion in great regard to those organizations, you have to play them and you have to defeat them.”
See, no blood no foul.
And, in other news, the 2014 college football season at the FBS level — Abilene Christian at Georgia State — kicks off in 90 days…
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.