Louisville hasn’t even started the season and they’re already behind Alabama. Well, at least when it comes to their bank accounts.
The Louisville Courier Journal obtained the contracts for the Tide and Cardinals game in Orlando that will kick off the 2018 season for both in September and found that Alabama’s payout is $4.5 million — nearly double Louisville’s $2.75 million that they are taking home.
The disparity can probably be chalked up to one team being the national champions and a bigger draw for the game itself but it turns out there’s another reason Nick Saban’s side has a few more dollars on their side of the ledger: tickets.
Alabama’s contract obliges the school to buy 18,000 tickets for distribution to its fans, while Louisville agreed to purchase only 10,000. Both schools will be granted two 20-person suites, 25 parking passes and 200 complimentary tickets, as well as 1,000 tickets at $25 each for students.
While selling 8,000 more tickets could add up to that difference (at roughly $218 a piece) in guarantees, it’s nevertheless a little unusual to hear of such a large disparity between teams. As the Courier Journal notes, Alabama received the same amount as their opponent for neutral site games in 2017, 2015, 2014 and 2012.
Louisville’s game against Auburn also had a bigger pay day than what they’re getting from the folks in Orlando but they were on the hook for three times the number of tickets back in 2015. Perhaps the smaller ticket package this year is a bit of a sign that even the school itself knows this is rebuilding season for Bobby Petrino and opening against the defending champs is going to be a steep challenge between the lines.
College football, y’all.
Suffice to say, Lane Kiffin‘s departure from Rocky Top after one season as head coach at Tennessee for the same job at USC left a bad taste in the mouth of many members of Vols Nation. How bad of a taste? From ESPN.com in January of 2010:
But the real trick for Kiffin was figuring out a way to leave the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center late Tuesday night in one piece.
Groups of angry students and fans began surrounding the football complex after the news leaked that Kiffin had taken the USC job. Eventually, it evolved into a mob-like scene, with police moving in and barricading Johnny Majors Drive in front of the football complex.
Every time a car moved anywhere in the vicinity of the complex, the mob ran in that direction, shouting and chanting, “F— you Kiffin!
Fast-forward nearly five years, and Kiffin made his return — a triumphant, winning return as it turned out — to Neyland Stadium as the offensive coordinator at rival Alabama in October of 2014. Ahead of that return, security was fearful for Kiffin’s life. So fearful, in fact, that they wanted the former Volunteers head coach to wear a bulletproof vest into the famed stadium.
At least that’s what the current Florida Atlantic head coach claimed on Marty Smith‘s podcast, by way of 247Sports.com:
It’s crazy. They were literally talking about like — from the bus in — a bulletproof vest. I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. This is football.’ They said, ‘No, really.’ They had security with me the whole way, even walking on the field and stuff like that,” Kiffin said. “I’m just like ‘I’m not wearing a vest, guys. All right?’ That’s a little bit over the top. It was all in fun. There was a lot of mean words said — four-letter words. That speaks of Tennessee’s fans, just how passionate they are. I think Phillip Fulmer said it the other day, ‘We have the most passionate fans in the country.
Of course, all that angst and anger had waned by the time UT’s next search for a head coach kicked off as a small but very vocal portion of the fanbase actually wanted the one-time Knoxville pariah to replace Butch Jones late last year. Hell, it was even reported that, in the midst of what was a circus of a search, “Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call” about returning as head coach.
Ah, what could’ve been…
This is literally some big news: Kiyaunta Goodwin tweeted Sunday that he had been offered a scholarship by Alabama. Normally, we wouldn’t write about a player reporting a single scholarship offer, but this one is different.
Goodwin stands six feet and seven inches, and tips the scale at 370 pounds. He also recently completed eighth grade.
The Louisville native has already been offered by the Bluegrass State’s triumvirate of Kentucky, Louisville and Western Kentucky and took unofficial visits to Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan ahead of last weekend’s Tuscaloosa trek.
While doctors say Goodwin could end up topping seven feet tall, the plan, for now, is to keep him in cleats.
Said former Louisville football player and Goodwin’s trainer Chris Vaughn to Bleacher Report earlier this year: “I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of kids who are genetically blessed, but he’s different. He’s the 1 percent of the 1 percent. I’ve talked with coaches who have told me he’s going to be the No. 1 player in the country and the No. 1 draft pick.”
Lane Kiffin remains a bright spot in the long, long college football offseason.
The FAU head coach is at it again, taking what could be interpreted as a minor shot at his former employer in Alabama this week. Speaking at a school booster club event on Wednesday, Kiffin needled the Crimson Tide some more when talking about his team’s opening game against Oklahoma to kick off the 2018 season.
Here’s the video from Palm Beach Post beat writer Jake Elman:
If you can’t quite hear it, when referencing the Sooners, Kiffin says: “In the playoff, Bama was four so you’re getting a better team than Bama.”
For those a little confused at what he means, the final College Football Playoff rankings had Alabama as the No. 4 team and Oklahoma as the No. 2 team — so Kiffin is certainly right on that account. However, as we all know, it was old boss Nick Saban and the Tide who emerged from the tournament with the national title in the end.
Heading into the 2018 season, Alabama will likely be No. 1 or No. 2 in most major polls while Oklahoma is generally considered a top 10 team but a tick or two behind the Tide. Still, that’s no easy opener for Kiffin and the Owls and it seems he’s making that very clear to supporters while also taking a little shot at the operation in Tuscaloosa at the same time.
Either way, good luck in Norman this fall.
A new SEC rule is already paying dividends for at least one player — and one program — in the conference.
Last month, Brandon Kennedy opted to leave Alabama as a graduate transfer. The offensive lineman, as it turns out, had been interested in a transfer to Alabama rivals Auburn and Tennessee; as had been the case in the past — or not — Kennedy had been barred by UA from transferring to any other school in the conference despite the fact that he’s a graduate transfer.
While the player’s initial appeal of that ruling was denied, said ruling is now immaterial as VolsQuest.com is reporting that “Kennedy has officially decided to play for the Vols.” The Rivals.com website adds that “Kennedy is expected to take part in second session or July term summer school at Tennessee and is already in Knoxville around the program.”
June 1, the SEC confirmed that it had adopted a rule which states that graduate transfers are permitted to transfer within the conference without having to sit out a year. Not only will the lineman be eligible to play immediately this season for the Vols as a result of that edict, he’ll also have another year of eligibility he can use in 2019.
Kennedy served as the Crimson’s Tide backup center in 2017, his redshirt sophomore season, before an injury sidelined for most of the year. After graduating in December, Kennedy exited spring practice this year as the defending national champion’s likely No. 2 center.
A four-star 2015 signee, Kennedy was rated as the No. 19 guard in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Alabama. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, he played in six games in 2016.