Since 2006, Texas A&M (8), Auburn (6), Texas (5), Michigan (4), Notre Dame (3), Florida State (3, 1 team title was stripped by NCAA), Tennessee (3) Indiana (1), Louisville (1) and Cincinnati (0) have combined for 34 national championships. During the same time, Florida has brought home 17 – men’s basketball 2, football 2, indoor track 3, outdoor track 2, women’s gymnastics 3, women’s softball 2, women’s swimming 1, women’s tennis 2.
One would think that with a championship program like this – one that has won the Southeastern Conference all-sports championship every year since 2006 and 25 of the 27 times it’s been awarded and finished no lower than sixth (average finish third) in the NCAA all-sports rankings – would have one wowser of a contract with Nike or some other shoe/apparel/equipment manufacturer.
One would think but reality is the Gators just re-upped with Nike for $3.1 million a year through 2024.
Meanwhile consider the following:
Nike just matched Under Armour’s $200 million bid for Texas and the new contract is good for 15 years. Michigan got a 12-year deal worth $169 million with Nike. Florida State’s deal with Nike extends through 2023 and is worth $4.2 million. Tennessee got an 8-year deal with Nike to leave adidas that’s worth $35 million.
Notre Dame left adidas for a 10-year deal with Under Armour that not only guarantees $90 million worth of apparel, shoes and equipment but allows Notre Dame to take some of the deal in stock in a company that is expected to grow to a net worth of $20 billion during the same time. Cincinnati got 10 years for $47 million.
Adidas has lost some big names but got Louisville to stay with the brand for $7.8 million, Texas A&M to stay for $7.1 million per and Indiana for $6.7 million a year.
So, the question is this: has Florida’s brand dipped in value that much that schools like Cincinnati, Auburn, Louisville and Tennessee are worth so much more per year?
At some point, you have to shake your head and ask what the heck is going on?
RICH RODRIGUEZ ON INSTANT REPLAY
The Arizona coach obviously thinks instant replay doesn’t always get it right. RichRod said Monday, “Some of the replay things are like, how do you miss it on replay? You have the benefit of rewinding it five, six, eight, ten times. So I don't know how they would ever get it wrong. I've seen more questionable replay things in college football than I would have ever imagined. I love replay, but I'm starting to question, what are we doing up there?"
SEC MIDSEASON REPORT
#8 ALABAMA (6-1, 3-1 SEC)
Remaining games: Tennessee, #5 LSU, at Mississippi State, Charleston Southern, at Auburn
Predicted finish: 11-1, 7-1 SEC
Alabama will be favored in every game including the showdown in Tuscaloosa against #5 LSU. Considering all the skill people Alabama lost from last year’s team, this year’s offense is actually pretty darn good and Derrick Henry seems to be just getting warmed up. Over on defense, Bama is playing with the kind of edge we haven’t seen since 2011 when the Tide limited opponents to 183.6 yards and 8.2 points per game.
ARKANSAS (2-4, 1-2 SEC)
Remaining games: Auburn, Tennessee-Martin, at Ole Miss, at #5 LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri
Predicted finish: 5-7, 3-5
This seems like one of those Rosanne Rosannadanna years at Sowbelly State. You remember Rosanne: “It just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it isn’t one thing it’s something else.” If it wasn’t the offense, it was the injuries. If it wasn’t the injuries, it was the defense. This was supposed to be a breakthrough year but instead it’s a step backward. Patience with Bret Bielema is at an all-time low.
AUBURN (4-2, 1-2 SEC)
Remaining games: at Arkansas, #24 Ole Miss, at #15 Texas A&M, Georgia, Idaho, #8 Alabama
Predicted finish: 6-6, 2-6 SEC
It is entirely possible that Auburn could do a reverse run of the second half of the season table. 0-6? It’s possible, but more likely is a 2-4 finish that sees Auburn saving the Birmingham Bowl by assuring a near sellout at decrepit Legion Stadium. Funny, but the song of the Auburn bandwagon these days seems more like the one played by the Hooterville Volunteer Fire Department Band, a very slowed down version of “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”
#13 FLORIDA (6-1, 4-1 SEC)
Remaining games: Georgia (in Jacksonville), Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Florida Atlantic, #9 Florida State
Predicted finish: 10-2, 7-1 SEC East champions
It’s tempting to predict the Gators finish the regular season on a 5-game winning streak particularly since the Gators can clinch the SEC East championship early and then start devoting attention to a game plan several pay grades higher than Jimbo and his staff can figure out for Thanksgiving weekend. But, when you consider what everybody was thinking in August and fast forward to where we are now, 10-2 sounds really good, doesn’t it?
GEORGIA (5-2, 3-2 SEC)
Remaining games: #13 Florida (in Jacksonville), Kentucky, at Auburn, Georgia Southern, at Georgia Tech
Predicted finish: 8-4, 4-4 SEC
The quarterback and receivers are bad. Florida definitely dodged a bullet when Greyson Lambert had Georgia on his mind. He is a D1AA team’s worst nightmare. The SEC? Well, let’s just say he’s challenged. The Bulldogs could get away with Lambert throwing 3-yard passes when they had Nick Chubb, who could cover for a host of deficiencies. Without Nick, an 8-4 or 9-3 record is about as good as it will get. At some point, even Georgia fans will figure out that Jeremy Pruitt isn’t the greatest defensive mind since Bud Carson and the Steel Curtain.
KENTUCKY (4-2, 2-2 SEC)
Remaining games: at Mississippi State, Tennessee, at Georgia, at Vanderbilt, Charlotte, Louisville
Predicted finish: 7-5, 4-4 SEC
My Old Kentucky Home could just as easily be 0-6 as 6-0 but instead the Mildcats are somewhere in between. In between that closing threesome of Vandy, Charlotte and Louisville are three straight very losable games. The Mildcats had a similar situation last year and still figured out a way to stay home during bowl season. This year, they get to the 7-win plateau for the first time since 2009 and they’ll paint a mural on the side of Commonwealth Stadium celebrating a bowl trip to Shreveport.
#5 LSU (6-0, 4-0 SEC)
Remaining games: Western Kentucky, at #8 Alabama, Arkansas, at #24 Ole Miss, #15 Texas A&M
Predicted finish: 10-1, 7-1 SEC
The Tigers are certainly capable of winning in Tuscaloosa, but with Ole Miss and the Aggies back-to-back at the end of the season, running the table is going to be extremely difficult. Now, if Brandon Harris suddenly starts channeling his inner Danny Wuerffel and starts making precision throws to Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre, then no one will be able to devote enough attention to Leonard Fournette and the Tigers can and will run the table.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (5-2, 1-2 SEC)
Remaining games: Kentucky, at Missouri, #8 Alabama, at Arkansas, #24 Ole Miss
Predicted finish: 9-3, 6-2 SEC
At some point, folks are going to have to grudgingly admit that Dan Mullen is a very good football coach. You can’t win consistently in Starkville if you aren’t. The only surefire loss on the remaining schedule is Alabama. Without a threat of a running game, that’s automatic. The other four games are very winnable and will set the Bulldogs up for a huge 2016 because they’re playing 23 true and redshirt freshmen. This is a young team that’s getting better by the week.
MISSOURI (4-3, 1-3 SEC)
Remaining games: at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, BYU (in Kansas City), Tennessee, at Arkansas
Predicted finish: 6-6, 2-6 SEC
Have you ever noticed that if you say Missouri really fast it sounds an awful lot like the word MISERY. Well, misery is what the Missouri offense looks like to both the trained and untrained observer. That is a championship offense. There are Pop Warner offenses more sophisticated and efficient. The Tigers will beat Vandy this weekend and then figure out a way to win another game so they’re bowl eligible.
#24 OLE MISS (5-2, 3-1 SEC)
Remaining games: #15 Texas A&M, at Auburn, Arkansas, #5 LSU, at Mississippi State
Predicted finish: 8-4, 5-3 SEC
The Rebels have the same problem this year that they had last. They have 22 players who can play at the highest level, but the depth is spotty. Until Hugh Freeze can have a full two-deep of SEC caliber players, the Rebels are going to be a team good enough to beat people if everybody is healthy but lacking the depth to run the table. Will the return of Laremy Tunsil this week inspire Ole Miss to play as if it’s doing something other than going through the motions?
SOUTH CAROLINA (3-4, 1-4 SEC)
Remaining games: #15 Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Florida, Citadel, #6 Clemson
Predicted finish: 4-8, 1-7 SEC
Everybody loves interim coach Shawn Elliott and the alums would love to see him do well enough to continue as the HBC, but all the wishful thinking in the world won’t change the schedule. The Citadel is the only game the Gamecocks will be favored to win and it will take a monumental upset to win any one of the other four. So, Elliott should enjoy the brief time he’s running his own show, get the Gamecocks to play with a lot of enthusiasm and tighten up that resume.
TENNESSEE (3-3, 1-2 SEC)
Remaining games: at #8 Alabama, at Kentucky, South Carolina, North Texas, at Missouri, Vanderbilt
Predicted finish: 8-4, 5-3 SEC
The folks from Dollywood USA and surrounding areas are starting to sound a lot like their SEC cousins from Athens. For years we’ve heard about those almost national championship teams at Georgia and now the Tennessee folks are bemoaning those three fourth quarter collapses that keep them from unbeaten and a top five ranking. Well, as my grandma used to say, if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his butt every time he jumps. Once the Alabama game is in the books, Tennessee should run the remaining five games on the table.
#15 TEXAS A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
Remaining games: at #24Ole Miss, South Carolina, Auburn, Western Carolina, at Vanderbilt, at #5 LSU
Predicted finish: 9-3, 5-3 SEC
The Aggies are very capable of running the rest of the table and finishing with one loss but after watching them play Alabama, this looks like a team that just isn’t ready for prime time. Translation: the Aggies will have a couple of winnable games the rest of the way that they’ll find a way to lose, perhaps starting as early as Saturday in Oxford. They’re really good now. They’ll be everybody’s nightmare matchup next year.
VANDERBILT (2-4, 0-3 SEC)
Remaining games: Missouri, at Houston, at Florida, Kentucky, #15 Texas A&M, at Tennessee
Predicted finish: 2-10, 0-8 SEC
It has taken Derek Mason six games to figure out that Johnny McCrary is a turnover machine who is costing the Commodores ball games. A decisive switch to either Wade Freebeck or Kyle Shurmur three weeks ago would have helped. Now it is like trying to patch a severed artery with a band-aid.
It’s called getting Baylored. That’s when Baylor scores 60 or more points on your team. Baylor has played six games this year and scored 60 or more five straight times, which ties Oklahoma’s streak in 2008 as the longest in college football since 2008. Obviously, with bottom feeder Iowa State next on the schedule Baylor should ease into fist place on the all-time list this weekend.
Here are some stats about Baylor that are borderline mind blowing:
1. Baylor is averaging 63.8 points per game and is on track to lead the country in scoring for the third straight year.
2. Baylor has gained more than 600 yards for six consecutive games.
3. Baylor averages 719.7 yards per game (348.7 rushing, 371 passing). The Bears average 7.14 per pass attempt, 11.7 per pass attempt and 8.94 yards per play. The NCAA record for yards per play is 8.58 by Hawaii in 2006.
4. Baylor averages 8.83 touchdowns per game. The record is 8.22 by Army in 1944.
5. QB Seth Russell has thrown for 1,907 yards, rushed for 338 and has accounted for 32 touchdowns (27 passing, 5 rushing) in six games.
6. Running back Shock Linwood has 803 rushing yards (8.54 per carry) and 8 touchdowns. Wide receiver Corey Coleman has caught 41 passes for 877 yards (21.39 per catch) and 16 touchdowns. It’s only midyear for Coleman.
Maybe it’s time to give Jimbo Fisher some credit. Yeah, I know that all those QBs he’s sent to the NFL as first rounders have pretty much busted, but those guys got a ton of money and Jimbo didn’t exactly hold a gun to the head of those NFL owners to make them pay the big bucks. Now, take a look at what he’s done with Everett Golson. Last year Golson was good for 14 interceptions and 8 fumbles at Notre Dame. He has yet to turn the ball over at FSU and the pro scouts are suddenly interested in him once again. Either last year was an out of body experience for Golson or else Jimbo can coach up a QB. It’s got to be one or the other.
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he is not leaving the NFL for Southern Cal. That’s funny because none of the people really close to the USC situation have put him in their top 7-8 candidates to replace Steve Sarkisian.
The Orlando Sentinel filed a Freedom of Information request for UCF to release George O’Leary’s contract. UCF has declined. UCF is 0-7 and has a schedule that is conducive to 0-12.
It pays to get fired. Dan McCarney will receive a lump sum $2.1 million buyout from North Texas.
Dan Patrick says Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is on Southern Cal’s short list. For a variety of reasons – buyout being one of them – that’s someone’s pipe dream. Justin Fuente of Memphis? Well, that’s another story altogether.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
With 17 national championships in several different sports and a sparkling record of top six finishes in the NCAA all-sports standings, it’s obvious Florida is a true national brand. Yet, when you see Florida’s shoe deal and what Nike, Under Armour and adidas are paying schools without nearly the same level of success, it’s shocking. Why do you think Florida rates such a small contract?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
When Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Ric Grech joined together to form the band Blind Faith the expectation was a super group of Beatles proportions had been formed. Blind Faith was super. Their first concert in the summer of 1969 drew 100,000 fans and their first album was #1 all over the world. The band broke up in October, a month after they completed their first tour.