Friday Skull Session

By poguemahone on October 15, 2010 at 6:00a

 Isn't there one of those "game" things this weekend? The saga of Santonio continues to play out in the lead-up to the Wisconsin game, when we probably should be discussing more important things but won't because "OMG PAID PLAYERZ" is stuff that just doesn't age for certain rival fanbases. Holmes has done what everyone expected him to, issuing numerous denials of the Sports Illustrated article that named him as one of numerous college football players to receive money from agents over the past few decades. The day the story broke, wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell phoned Santonio to ask him about it. Santonio, in no uncertain terms, denied the story again. It turns out The Vest, in his own right, regularly drops wisdom on the reality of agents:

Tressel said he tells players, “There’s 1,200 registered agents, and only 300 have clients. And that leaves 900 desperate folks, and desperate people do desperate things, whether it’s to try to get clients or clear their name. So that’s part of life.”

Now we could sit here and hem and haw about the role of agents in college football until Kingdom Come, but those who don't appreciate having smoke blown up their rears will likely understand that shady dealings here and there are part and parcel of college athletics and will be until college students no longer need money (as a current one, I can assure you this will happen around the time Jim Tressel starts listening to Immortal Technique). That said, the less we hear about these things at Ohio State, the better, and just because it does happen doesn't mean it should. I'll be the first in line to argue that college football players should be paid (especially in light of stuff like this), but I'll also be the first one to say that rules are put in place for a reason, and right now, it's an attempt (a vain one, at that) to allow college athletics to maintain the appearance of "amateurism", and should be respected. If Santonio was in violation of those rules, that's a black mark on the program, but not quite the all-encompassing black hole that USC finds itself in and that Alabama found itself in in the wake of the Albert Means scandal.

 Can we trade Cal for an SEC team with a pair, please? Hoo boy: The Michigan Wolverines have scheduled a neutral-site outing against the Alabama Crimson Tide to open the 2012 season. The game will take place at Jerryworld, and if Saban isn't off coaching the Browns or the 49ers, he'll be leading his team against either the Rich Rod Experiment in its 5th season, or the Jim Harbaugh Experience in its first (or second?). It's a fool's errand to attempt to prognosticate a game this far out, but for Michigan, I will say this game is huge. Unless Notre Dame blows up next year, it's very likely this will be Michigan's first game against a top-10 OOC opponent in quite some time, and will serve as a referendum for the entire program, the biggest one since the '06 edition of The Game.

 John Clay: fixing what's not broke? Badger blog Bucky's 5th Quarter wonders which John Clay will show up Saturday night in Madison: the one who struggled (relatively speaking) against Michigan State or the one who dominated in almost every other game this season? Last season, Clay was held in check by the Buckeyes, and it wasn't for lack of trying: on 20 carries, he gained 59 yards. Only Iowa did a comparable job to the Badgers last season, and both defenses were the only ones to hold Clay without a touchdown in 2009. He's nursing a pair of sore ankles, but if he isn't 100%, he will still be supplemented by the capable James White and Montee Ball.

 Wisconsin hasn't come within two touchdowns of a top-10 team since 2003, you say? Dr. Saturday offers a preview of Saturday's game, revealing some surprising facts (like the aforementioned) and making a prediction:

They were throttled by 10 points by MSU despite a +3 advantage in turnover margin that mitigated an even uglier final, and only beat Arizona State on a blocked extra point in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, haven't been challenged. And even if a wild home crowd at night is worth the few points the oddsmakers are assuming, the only way Wisconsin should come within four here is on a late score when only the gamblers are still paying attention.Ohio State will cover with relative ease.

That's a covering a pretty small spread, mind you, with the Buckeyes coming in to Madison favored by just four points. I can see this game getting out of hand if Pryor has a hot hand against the torchable Wisconsin secondary, but "with ease" might be a little much otherwise. My personal prediction for the game is a state secret, but I'll just say that spread seems.... fair. 

 Quick hits. Plain Dealer writer Bill Livingston talks up Big Ten stadiums, including Camp Randall, Nike's (rejected) Penn State uniform proposals were no less butt ugly than their usual home jerseys, Pryor fluff from Rittenberg, Iowa's defense labels Denard "scary fast" in advance of this weekend's game, all hell is breaking loose at Penn State, and oh, Pryor is "fine" for the trip to Madison.


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Poe McKnoe's picture

Buckeye offenses in Madison scare me.  I have nightmares from 2003.  I'd go with 23-14.  I don't think that the Badgers D is that good, I just expect the offense to be bottled up for a night game in Mad Town.  It's the MO.  Against a power run team, Ohio State goes all power run right back.

iball's picture

Toon, Gilreath, and Hendricks. Wisky knows they can't beat us running the ball. They have to pass. Given the recent play of the secondary, that could be cause for concern. However, I think our secondary plays to the level of their competition, namely Chimdi and Torrence. Hendricks worries me a bit. But, if the d-line gets pressure, which they should late in the game, I look for Homan to be in the right place at the right time and step in front of a Tolzien pass to wrap it up.

I still stand by my prediction that Tolzien will be a nice NFL QB. Chad Henne style. (uggh, cant believe I just typed that).

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Joe Beale's picture

Tolzein stinks.  He's only marginally better than Allan Evridge, and that's not saying much.  The only concern I have is that we have trouble covering the TE, which is the strength of their passing game.  Plus they have a great running game.  They will score some points, but their defense is terrible, and our offense will expose it just like MSU's did.  Dr. Saturday had it right.

Denny's picture

Stinks? He's probably in the top 7 all-time Amish quarterbacks, which is saying something. Just not sure what that something is.


poguemahone's picture

The scariest player on Wisconsin's offense, for me, is Hendricks. Brian Rolle and Ross Homan are terrific players, but coverage is not their strong suit. EMU's TE got loose against them with annoying consistency - even without the use of PA, IIRC - and I'm sure Bret Bielema is repeatedly going over that film right now.

Colin's picture

.....yeah Tolzien is not that great. He led the conference in passing efficiency last year before facing us too.

He is however up near the top for the most pick six's thrown, along with Ricky Stanzy. Be glad TP hasn't logged any stats in that category.

btalbert25's picture

At the point in the season they played, did the 2003 have an offense comparable to this team?  I just don't think they did.  This is the most dynamic offense OSU has had in quite sometime, possibly during the whole Tressel era.  Yeah that game sucked, but I hardly think that offense and this offense really compare.

Keith Byars Right Foot's picture

The 2003 offense was terrible. Remember, Clarett was gonzo, leaving Ross and Hall--easily the worst running back tandem in modern memory at Ohio State--to run the ball.

The current offense is dynamic, but I don't trust it. We've not proven we can run the ball consistently, and Pryor's repeated injuries really concern me. End of the day, if Jim Tressel wants his QB to succeed, he has to enable a credible ground game. Pryor simply won't hold up if he's our leading rusher every weekend. Moving Saine out to slot and H-back last week was a fantastic step forward. Now we need to see live-fire carries for Hall and Berry behind Boom. 

slippy's picture

Yea he'll be a good NFL guy.  Just like Brooks Bollin....I mean John Stoc....I mean Jim Sorg...oh forget it.  They're all the same player and they're all not very good.

btalbert25's picture

They are good enough to have the easiest job in a America.  Really, 3rd string QB in the NFL is a great gig.  You don't do much in practice, you chill on the sideline during the game, maybe send in some signals, and collect league minimum to never get concussions or smoked by NFL defensive players.  I wish I had that gig.

iball's picture

I've NEVER been impressed with John Clay. Never seems to play well when it counts. Looks out of shape to me. Looks like he hit his peak as a junior. Just sayin.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Nervous doesn't quite define how I feel. I'm afraid that we have weaknesses to exploit and an away game at night with some young guys with little experience playing important roles plays into my anxioty. I would love for this team to silence my doubts and I think they can. I just want to see a strong win on the road against a decent team.


On Santonio.....   Only HE knows the truth-- and an agent saying Santonio told me he took money from another agent sounds like sour grapes from a guy who made the trip all the way up to Columbus and left empty handed. 

On Cal and Colorado next year.....  I would also like to know why OSU cant get something together with an SEC team in the top tier?  Between Bama, LSU, Florida, Arkansas, Ole Miss.....   Not one of those teams will agree to a home and home???  I know Tennessee is scheduled for a home and home 4 years down the road, but come on...... 

Wisconsin is a great program.  Great fans (except for batteries in snowballs and marshmallows), great players, and a great stadium.  But, Wisconsin has not been a Top Tier Program in Many years.  OSU will cover that 4 point spread and then some. 

Meatchicken vs the Crimson Sabans---  all I can say is hide the women and children, because without a defense the Wolvereeenies have no chance.  Saban will exploit them much like FSU did to Miami.  That game will not bode well for the Big-10 and I do not think DickRod will be the coach on the sidelines...

Kyle's picture

I read a Gene Smith interview dating back to expansionapalooza that said aside from Tenn, no SEC school was willing to play @ OSU.  Typical SEC cowards only wanted to play at home.  Just like UGA cancelling their home and home with Oregon because their program is in the shitter and they don't want to get embarassed.

osukdawg76's picture

Actually, it's not that they were asking for just a home game.  They wouldn't agree to the Home @ Home trade-off without certain compensation, from what I understand.  It's the same problem that Nebraska had when they were offering Boise State several options.


Nebraska offered Boise State three options for a "series," which were a home game @ Lincoln, a Home @ Home trade-off, then a three game series which was a Home @ Home @ Neutral.  Boise scoffed at all three, wanting $1 Million in appearance fees if they had to go to Lincoln at all.  You might sniff $1 Million if you're an FCS squad going to get your brains beat in, but Nebraska laughed at the fact that a supposed Top 5 team wanted that kind of money.


With the SEC, it's not quite that ridiculous.  Apparently it's just that the SEC feels like they are the superior conference to everyone, so they shouldn't have to travel outside of SEC country in order to play their OOC games.  If they do, it's a rarity....or it's a neutral site game, hence this 2012 matchup that Alabama has with Michigan at Jerryworld.  Here, take a look at this.  Here's the 2010 OOC schedule for all of the SEC squads:


South Carolina:  Southern Miss, Furman, Troy, @Clemson (Rivalry)

Florida:  Miami (OH), South Florida, Appy State, @FSU (Rivalry)

Vanderbilt:  Northwestern (H@H), @UConn (H@H), Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest

Georgia:  UL-Lafayette, @Colorado (H@H), Idaho State, Georgia Tech (Rivalry)

Kentucky:  @Louisville (Rivalry), Western Kentucky, Akron, Charleston Southern

Tennessee:  Tennessee-Martin, Oregon, UAB, @ Memphis

LSU:  UNC (Neutral), West Virginia, McNeese State, UL-Monroe

Auburn:  Arkansas State, UL-Monroe, Clemson, UT-Chattanooga

Alabama:  SJSU, @Duke (H@H), Penn State (H@H), Georgia State

Arkansas:  Tennessee Tech, UL-Monroe, Texas A&M (Neutral), UTEP

Ole Miss:  Jacksonville State (lulz), @ Tulane (H@H), Fresno State, UL-Lafayette

Mississippi State:  Memphis, Alcorn State, @ Houston (H@H), UAB


So, going through that list of OOC schedules, your only true Home @ Home series total seven out of 48 possible games, not counting traditional rivalry games.  Of those twelve, of the traditional powers in the SEC, Bama has two, although I don't know if Duke is really going out on a limb.  Looking at the rest, they are all paycheck games for the visiting squads, unless you have a neutral site game.  It does truly confirm that a lot of the SEC teams simply don't feel like going on the road.  I tip my hat to Alabama for the Home @ Home with Penn State, though.  But, all of these other schools really need to step up and start scheduling some decent OOC opponents.  It's one thing that I've enjoyed about Ohio State in the past decade under Tressel:  He schedules one big one each year.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



E-roc's picture

tOSU wins and covers: 28-16

...and does lots of this...
...and lots of this...

btalbert25's picture

I can see this game being close, but I feel like the game is going to be a blowout.  I really think the buckeyes take this by 3 TD's.  It's a statement game for them, and I think they come out and impress.

CliffordTheBRD's picture

BTN had the Wisconsin-Minnesota game in 60 minutes last night. Wisconsin ran "Dave" a lot. Hopefully OSU should know how to defend it. I would love to see Cam Heyward break out and dominate. Seems like he's due.

Keith Byars Right Foot's picture

Larrimore and Hankins. If those guys can hold firm in the middle, it's all over for Wisconsin but the crying. You'll see the rest of the DL and LBs flying to make plays around them. 

Leanenaud's picture

I dont think it'll be close. OSU 34 - UW 10

KCAlum's picture

Split MNC is my only concern.  Wisconsin is an obstacle, but should be overcome.  Cowturd is on ESPN. Daytime TV is a vast wasteland. Talking about how people identify with Bill Oreily and Farve.  Ugh

KCAlum's picture

I meant Brent Farve

dmurder's picture

I just don't see wisky hanging with us. Michigian State put 34 on them, and cousins threw 2 int's. wisky defense gave up 444 yards.


42 -14

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

iball's picture

JNEW real talk, come on bruh.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers