The 2014 season is still a little bit down the road, but LSU has already “gotten over on” one of its SEC West rivals.
As the football program is in the final stages of an expansion of the south endzone, LSU announced that it has increased its stadium capacity to 102,321. Such a capacity would push LSU past Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821) and into third in the SEC behind Texas A&M’s Kyle Field (106,511) and Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium (102,455). It also moves Tiger Stadium to sixth nationally.
(Writer’s note: that placement is based on A&M’s Kyle Field moving to No. 3 nationally and tops in the SEC once a multi-phase expansion project is completed sometime in 2015.)
Now, LSU didn’t necessarily add 10,000-ish seats during the expansion. Instead, and in addition to the increase in seating, the program changed its accounting procedures to fall in line with how others “in its peer group” compute their numbers.
“We are listing a stadium capacity now rather than seating capacity, which is in line with what other schools in the SEC are doing,” LSU associate athletic director for tickets operations Brian Broussard said in a statement provided by the school. “The stadium capacity takes into account ancillary groups, such as media, game management and concessions staff.”
So, there’s that.
And, in totally unrelated news, the 2014 college football season will begin in earnest in 47 days with Abilene State-Georgia State on a Wednesday and a day later with Texas A&M-South Carolina in Columbia at Williams-Brice Stadium (capacity: 80,250, No. 24 in the country).
And, yes, both of those games can’t get here soon enough.
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.