Thursday Skull Session

By Alex on February 10, 2011 at 6:29a
 Select this to insert an image. I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. (Andrew Wagner/Plain Dealer)

Good morning Buckeye fans and welcome to this edition of Thursday Skull Session. We are now t-minus two days from the big game in Madison and excitement can be felt amongst Buckeye Nation in all areas of the country. Perfection is certainly a hard thing to come by in any competitive sport, but your Buckeyes are on the brink of doing something really special if they maintain their focus down the home stretch of the regular season.

While football should be in the rear view mirror and the number one basketball team should be on your mind, we just can't get away from that old pig skin, and apparently neither can the rest of the nation, as has already come out with their early outlook on Big Ten spring practice. The article hits the obvious nail on the head when saying that the search for a quarterback to start the season will be the focus of the OSU spring session, but there are definitely some interesting tidbits about the other Leaders and Legends that make up the conference.

I'm definitely curious to see what the new look Big Ten will bring next season in both football and basketball, and it's nice to see the Cornhuskers starting to be included regularly when the national media discusses the Big Ten. Speaking of those Cornhuskers, we're all familiar with what they do on the gridiron, but if you haven't followed them on the hardwood, check out their season thus far here. While they haven't done anything too eye-opening, I think they will definitely bring a competitive game to conference play each and every night and have the potential to be a problem as #11 Texas A&M can surely tell you this year. 

We're talking about practice. And one of the newest Buckeyes, Bryce Haynes, certainly knows what it means to practice. The long snapper who signed with OSU last week is the first at his position to receive a scholarship out of high school from Ohio State, quite an impressive statistic considering the emphasis Jim Tressel puts on special teams. Usually long snappers come on as walk-ons for the Bucks and earn a scholarship later in their careers, but Haynes is a special player. After realizing his dream to play Division I college football wouldn't come to fruition as a wide receiver or defensive end (positions he played in high school), Haynes looked for a route to live his dream and found that he was a natural at spinning spirals to punters and holders. You can read his full story here and I suggest doing so as it really is interesting to see how such a small part of the game can have such a big effect on a young man's life. I'm excited to see Bryce snapping come opening day next fall.

Retracting the rankings. While team recruiting rankings are all good and dandy, I've been saying for years that you can't really judge a class until they are juniors or seniors in college to see how they really panned out. That is exactly what's Andy Staples did with the class of 2008, who will be redshirt juniors and seniors next year. Alabama takes the top spot, just as they did back when these players signed their NLOIs, but the Buckeyes come in at #3, a spot better than where they were ranked by Rivals back in 2008. I'd say Tressel did alright bringing in talent for that class, as Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, JB Shugarts,Mike Brewster, Mike Adams, Jake Stoneburner, Ohrian Johnson, Travis Howard, Etienne Sabino, Andrew Sweat, Nathan Williams, and Ben Buchanan are all expected to start next season, while Garrett Goebel is expected to be in the mix as well. I'd say having 12-13 out of those 20 players becoming starters is a pretty good success rate.

We're going downtown. Tonight's Ohio State vs Purdue women's basketball game will be held in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arena. The OSU and Columbus Sports Commission staffs hope the game serves as an example to NCAA officials that the city is capable of holding a big time event, such as a Final Four or Elite 8/Sweet 16 at the arena, and is encouraging fans to pack the stands by offering $10 tickets. I personally think that the city would be a great host to a regional for March Madness and that a Final Four wouldn't be out of the question. Besides potential poor weather, the city has hotels located conveniently, affordable restaurants and good dining options, entertaining night life, and plenty of attractions to keep people of all ages busy. What do you think about the tournament possibly being decided in the 614?

Party in the U-S-A won't go away. Just when you thought you got rid of Jon Diebler, Jared Sullinger, and Aaron Craft and their horrific yet hilarious performance of the Miley Cyrus classic, well, it's not gone yet. Sully is apparently having a little fun with opposing fans who are using the video of the star singing the pop hit as a heckling tool when the Buckeyes hit the road. Andrew Wagner of the University of Minnesota was one of those fans who thought it would be humorous to make fun of the big man when the Bucks hit the Twin Cities last weekend, but came away surprised at the events that unfolded after he created a sign displaying Sullinger from the video, but painted up with lipstick and earrings.

Making a long story short, Sullinger noticed the sign after the game and asked Wagner if he could have it. Wagner said no and when Sullinger was asked about it after the game by the media, he said he thought it was funny and wanted it for his mom. After a back and forth conversation on twitter, Wagner has now decided to ship the sign to Sullinger, who will indeed give it to Momma Sully. Not only is this kid a tremendous basketball player, but his personality and sense of humor make him that much easier to root for.

Quick Hits. The Lantern brings up a good point that while the Big Ten is the second ranked conference according to the RPI, the competition hasn't really prepared OSU well for the big dance. Luke Winn continues to fascinate stat nerds with his breakdown of how this year's freshman compare to years past. Winn also shares his list of his magical eight teams that he feels have a a real chance of winning the national championship, and yes, OSU made the cut, but you'll be surprised to see Kansas didn't. Finally, don't look away from the TV, as you may miss Jon Diebler break the Big Ten record for made three-pointers. Jon is just four away from the top spot and could even break the record this Saturday at Wisconsin.

This is a must see. Um wow.



OHIOST1087's picture

You forgot to mention Mike Brewster in that 2008 class. Probably the best center we've had since Mangold, and one of the top centers in the nation.

Leanenaud's picture

He mentioned him. "I'd say Tressel did alright bringing in talent for that class, as Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, JB Shugarts,Mike Brewster, Mike Adams, Jake Stoneburner, Ohrian Johnson, Travis Howard, Etienne Sabino, Andrew Sweat, Nathan Williams, and Ben Buchanan"

OHIOST1087's picture

He wasn't mentioned there at 5:30am this morning, but I see they've edited it since then.

Leanenaud's picture

Ew. 530 am is gross. My apologies.

BuddhaBuck's picture

Re: "according to the RPI, the competition hasn't really prepared OSU well for the big dance".  I give you Exhibit "A" - the 2006-07 Florida Gators.  Their schedule is comparable to tOSU's, if not easier...

If you haven't already seen this, prepare to put this on repeat. "no fab five, this the Super Six"

Don't text while driving.

buckeye33's picture

Has there been an uglier first half than last night, Wisconsin & Iowa.  The Badgers truly got a gift yesterday, any decent team could have beat them by 20.  Hopefully they bring that same game with them on Saturday.  After witnessing this performance, I am filled with a new sense of confidence. I've never heard rims clang as loudly on missed shots.

BTW ..slight backcourt pressure by Iowa had Wisky calling timeouts & reduced their set up time in the offensive zone, causing shot clock violations. I don't think they've seen a defense quite like ours this season.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I didn't catch the first half of that game.  I caught the very end of half watching Wisconsin walk to the locker room trailing Iowa having scored a whopping 18 points.  This actually worries me a bit because they overcame a really bad half and got their bad game out of the way.  Maybe I'm just paranoid.

slippy's picture

So a little off topic but about the basketball team:


Last night I was texting my UNC grad friend about their game w/ the dookies.  He said you better help y'all lose before the dance.  If i was OSU fan I'd be praying for it to keep them hungry.


Now I've heard this argument plenty of time before.  I don't agree with it at all, however.


This team has a senior leader that has been to the big dance and knows what it feels like to lose.  It's got a super frosh who yelled at his brother when he was 6 years old because his brother's team didn't try.  A ton of experience on the wings and tenacious d from another frosh.  Most of all they're a team.


So I don't think they need to lose for a boost...what does everyone else think?

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I'm pulling for complete and utter dominance. Undefeated regular season capped with a unanimous regular season B1G championship, a run through the B1G tournament unscathed and undefeated, and a March through to Championship Monday where they become the greatest college basketball team ever assembled by curb stomping Duke (or any other great BBall school). 

Doc's picture

What he said^^^^!

"Say my name."

RBuck's picture

I don't think this team needs to lose, however, it's more than likely they will before the NCAA's. I just don't want a loss this Saturday; a double whammy from Wisky this year would be hard to handle. 

Long live the southend.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

What's the over/under on the "Just like in football" signs coming out?

RBuck's picture

I already saw it in the comments sections of The Dispatch and USA Today.

Long live the southend.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Would Bryce Haynes have to put on 20 or more lbs before becoming the starting long snapper (he's, what, 190 lbs now)? Or, given the old 2006 OSU v. Michigan longsnapper rule (can't hit the longsnapper for a second or something after the snap), does it even matter?

Alex's picture

No it doesn't matter as there is a no contact rule there...expect to see Haynes start from day don't offer a long snapper if he's not going to start for you.....has to be a special talent

Run_Fido_Run's picture

J Sullinger - in addition to being an absolute beast on the court - is one of the most likable guys I've ever seen in CBB. Hopefully I'm not venturing too far into gayward mancrush territory, but he's just got amazing charisma, warmth, and style, and gives off the impression of having a ton of inner-strength. If he never played b-ball but was someone with whom you worked or had a class, you would want to be around him and would think that's he's just a cool dude.   

Leanenaud's picture

Gawd! Why don't you just move to Wisconsin and marry him already.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

It's because I'm so secure in my pimpness that I can say that.

Leanenaud's picture

It's hard bein' a pimp.

btalbert25's picture

That's one thing I like about Thad and his recruiting.  Everything I read about Oden was similar.  Nice kid, easy going, still drove his old car after being selected number 1 overall.  Turner always seemed like a good dude too.  Seems Thad has a knack at landing good kids that also happened to be great basketball player.  It's nice to not have to deal with the Demarcus Cousins and John Walls of the world.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

And, finally, I know I'm going to sound like a Neanderthal, but $10 is not cheap enough to successfully "encourage" me to attend a ladies b-ball game. Now, if they were $3 tickets backed up by $1 dogs, they could attract pigs like me.  

Chris Lauderback's picture

I hear you. I'm not trying to hate either but I'd have to be paid to go to that particular game and I don't think $10 would be enough.

The_Lurker's picture

Plus, the Lady Bucks aren't exactly playing up to their potential this season. They're the female equivalent of this year's men's Sparty team.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I've got a 7 yr old daughter and took her to one of the games.  Best seats I've had to any game in the arena and I paid much, much, much less for them.  The fans at those games know their sh*t too.  They knew every players first and last name who was in what jersey, who their parents were, what their weaknesses were, anything.  It was crazy.  This wasn't a social event for any of them as it is for most of our football and basketball games where you sit next to some spoiled teenager texting the entire game or some lady knitting socks.  While it wasn't as entertaining watching the girls play from an athletic standpoint, their fundamentals were phenomenal and at that particular game their passion was high.  Regardless, they are Buckeyes too and need our support.  If you have the funds and the time I would suggest you take your son, daughter, niece and/or nephew and support the lady Bucks. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Your first sentence sets the table for the remainder of your comments, which were very good btw. It seems like the one factor that converts Neanderthals like me into being ladies b-ball fans is if/when they have a daughter. 

I have a toddler son and one on the way. If the player-to-be-named-later turns out to be a girl, I'll probably be preaching the merits of girls b-ball in about 7-8 years, too. Until then, it's only good for about three minutes of comic relief. 

btalbert25's picture

Well, I dont have kids personally but I have mentored kids through Big Brothers Big Sisters and my wife is a school teacher in a low income district so we have mentored kids through that as well.  My thought is, the games will be cheaper and easier to get tickets for, and at 10 bucks you get good seats.  It'd be much easier to get those tickets for us than to try and pull off men's tickets, especially with how successful they are right now.  I do it with baseball too.  The Reds tickets aren't too bad for a major league team, but when you take kids they want food souveneirs etc.  It's much cheaper for me to take them to Florence, KY to see the Florecen Freedom independent team than the Reds.  Baseball is my sport, so it's really hard to pay to watch inferior baseball, but it ends up being a really good time.

Bucksfan's picture

Even though I don't follow the Buckeye basketball season as closely as I do the football, I will have a serious personal issue if our #1 Buckeyes lose to Wisconsin this weekend.  That would mean that their football team knocked us off while we were #1, they got the Rose Bowl bid, their pro team won the Super Bowl, and if they win Saturday they will do what only Florida ever did to us...ever.

So, I'd honestly rather Ohio State lose to Northwestern or get bounced in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney than lose this Saturday.  Enough with the Cheese Head/Beer Breath.  Time for their fun in the sun to end.

Doc's picture

Really?!?!?!?  You would rather see the #1 ranked Buckeyes lose in the second round of the NCAA tournament than lose to Wisky?  You do know that would end the season and get the national haters all worked up.  We would hear "over rated" until Jesus comes back.  I want the Bucks to beat Bucky as bad as anyone, but I'll gladly take a loss Saturday over losing in the second round.

Go Bucks!

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

Totally agree with you here.  Losing to Wisky means absolutely nothing.  We can't worry about what their football team did and it especially has zero to do with basketball.  I'd much rather be cutting down the nets the first week of April than winning a regular season conference game on the road.

I certainly wouldn't sacrifice the championship in football for a win in the regular season(not even against Michigan) and I definitely wouldn't be willing do it in basketball either.

BacknBlack's picture

Amen brothers. Whisky may win some big regular season bball/fball games from time to time, but they never close the deal and bring home the hardware. Hope for a good game on Sat but don't take your eyes off the prize in April. 

Bucksfan's picture

First off, if they lose at Wisconsin, you'll be hearing "over rated" just like you did last fall when they chanted it during the football game.

Secondly, notice that I said a 2nd-round exit.  I don't view the tournament in the light that a 2nd round exit means you lost the national title.  It's not the same thing.  You may be losing your chance at playing in the 3rd round of 6 total rounds, but you don't lose the national title there.  There are still 4 more rounds beyond round 2 where you have an increasing likelihood of losing, and in all cases your effort means jack if you don't win.  The fact that it is so hard to win the national title in basketball, and the fact that Ohio State hasn't done it in over 50 years, leads me into a very low expectations for the NCAA tourney year-in-year-out.  That goes for any team you root for.  Coach K just won only his 4th national title last year, and that's THE best program in the country over the last 30 years.

Right now, I hate Wisconsin.  You can call me stupid, but I'm sick of the cheese heads.  One less thing they have over us is a good thing.

tomcollins's picture

Losing in the 2nd round would make me feel worse than losing to Wisconsin, Purdue, AND Penn State.

btalbert25's picture

You'll hear over rated whenever they finally do lose, because that's what fans do.  Difference, 1 loss in college basketball doesn't cost you a chance at the title, unless it's in the the tournament.  A 2nd round exit would be extremely disappointing and would put a huge damper on the rest of the season.  Losing in the 2nd round means you lost to a not very good team when the whole season was on the line.  The 2nd round of the tourney will certainly be a less hostile environment against a much more inferior team than the game in Madison this weekend. 

I've always felt that in the NCAA tournament, if you can make the Elite 8, you were a pretty legit team and had a shot.  I've always wanted to see teams I liked make it to that point.  If Ohio State made it to the Elite 8 and lost a nail biter, it would certainly be a much better representation of this great season than a terrible loss to a bad team in the 2nd round.  It would certainly validate this great season they have had.

JakeBuckeye's picture

I agree. This whole "win the title or you accomplished nothing in the NCAA tournament" mindset I don't agree with. Like you said, the Elite 8 is a big deal, and even for certain teams the Sweet 16 is a huge accomplishment.

Granted, there are special seasons like this one where it seems that anything other then a Final Four appearance is a bit of a disappointment.

Feel how you feel, but I don't see with the current team we have right now how you would rather lose in the 2nd Round of the tournament than lose one out of the two times we play Wisconsin. I guess our minds differ.

Kurt's picture

A Final Four in Cbus is impossible with the NCAA's new requirement that the host's stadium seats at least 70k.

The_Lurker's picture

Maybe a women's final four then, or a Sweet 16/Elite 8 weekend for the men's game.

Alex's picture

I know a stadium in Columbus that steats over 100,00 ;)

madhatterhater's picture

It would be the first championship played with a beanie's on all the players.

go bucks

ColdBuckeye's picture

below is the first part of an Insider Feldman (ESPN) article regarding the top ten redshirt freshmen for 2011:


With spring football not too far off for some schools (the first schools kick things off Feb. 16), it's time for a sneak peek at some freshmen who redshirted last fall but have generated plenty of buzz within their programs, and figure to do big things in 2011.

1. Rod Smith, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes

Look out -- there is another tall Buckeyes running back talent with a track background set to give Big Ten defenses nightmares. This Smith, no relation to colleague Robert Smith, to whom the young Smith bears resemblance, is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound bruising back who had to wait for a few weeks into fall camp while the NCAA approved his transcript, which made the coaching staff's decision to redshirt him easier.

Kyle's picture

Likey. Heard him compared to Eddie as well. Ether way awesome.