Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on February 22, 2011 at 6:00a
I found this picture doing a GIS for "ric flair skull"Skulls all the way down

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. Regionality in Ohio fans with regards to Ohio professional and college sports teams has always fascinated me. I'm originally from southwest Ohio, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati, and the Reds and Bengals have been my teams since I was a little kid. I knew the Browns and Indians existed, of course, but I never really thought that anyone outside of Cleveland cared about them. Of course, then I get to college and find out that pretty much everyone north and east of the Miami Valley thinks Cincinnati sports suck.

I've had some similar experiences concerning college sports; Ohio State was always top dog in football, of course, but for college basketball Bob Huggins, the Bearcats, and anything involving a promotion for Skyline Chili was all I ever cared about. But even within so close proximity to UC, all of my Catholic friends were all about either the University of Dayton or Xavier (which in retrospect was probably the better horse to bet on in the long run). I remember the DJ giving the students constant score updates of the Crosstown Shootout during my freshman year homecoming dance, and then after Xavier came from behind to win, I remember very specifically telling everyone that in a couple of years Xavier would hire a guy from Butler and then he'd leave for Ohio State and they'd be mad, and I'd laugh and laugh and laugh.

New Bracketology! Probably not something too many of us would've predicted four or five games ago (although maybe more of us should have), but the basketball Buckeyes have now lost 2 of their past 3, albeit on the road to teams who combine for exactly zero losses at home. Still, in most seasons that would be enough to make any resume look a little shaky. This season is not most seasons, and with the top ten teams taking hit after hit in recent weeks, ESPN's Bracketology still has OSU as a #1 seed. Interestingly, instead of Xavier, a potential 2nd round matchup would now be Cincinnati, which despite what you may infer from the above would lead to absolutely no conflict of interest. Unless they tried to ply me with chili, I'm a sucker for that stuff.

Speaking Of March Madness... ESPN takes a lot of (justified) heat in the blog world, but sometimes they can pump out some pretty cool stuff, like this neat summary of a given basketball team's history in the NCAA tournament. Two cool things: Jerry Lucas, who grew up balling on a court literally two blocks from my childhood home, is pretty clearly still the man, and OSU is 7-2 all time against the SEC in tourney play, victimizing Kentucky a crazy 5 times.

See You Soon Matt Hinton, aka Dr. Saturday over at Yahoo Sports, summarizes the recent mid major hires in the college football world, including that of Darrell Hazell to the Kent State Golden Flashes. Hinton rates the hire a C+, citing Hazell's lack of experience actually being a coordinator. Which I guess makes sense on paper but Hazell has never received anything but universal acclaim from his players as a WR coach, and I don't think his other title (Assistant Head Coach) was anything to sneeze at. Hazell is a terrific football mind and definitely has the work ethic and personality to turn that program around.

For a maximum of five years. Then I feel like another position might open up for him. Just sayin'.

All Hail King Threebler In conference play Jon Diebler is attempting about 4 fewer three point shots than he did in non-conference play, but who cares about that because he's the new all time leader in three pointers made in the Big Ten. Number 333 was a pretty mundane basket, but 332 was a thing of beauty, awkwardly shot but impeccably aimed, hitting the bottom of the net as the shot clock wound down. Big ups to Diebs, who I'll refrain from giving the business to like I used to in his early playing days.

"It could have happened a year ago if he had shot well as a freshman," Matta said with a smile.


From The Great White North I'm always interested in outsider stories, and it seems like a young QB from Canada is attracting some recruiting attention. Not sure if he'll land an OSU offer, but hey, never say never.



Denny's picture

I've always said that OSU needs more quarterbacks with hip tattoos.


tomcollins's picture

2 seed with SDSU, I love it.  Only Duke could get such a favorable treatment.  ND is a balls to the wall type team, they could be a team to fear, or they could lose first round.  No one else scares me.  This road resembles Duke's last year.

German Buckeye's picture

I'm in agreement with you Johnny, if you live outside of the Miami Valley, then Cincy sports are the anathema.  But I'm with you on my pro teams -  I grew up near Dayton and was a HUGE Big Red Machine fan (Tony, Johnny, Pete, Joe, George, Davey, Ken Sr, Cesar, Don, Pedro....). 

Bengals football was what I lived for (along with collecting those miniature NFL football helmets out of the 10 cent machines littered throughout various stores - remember Rikes's Depart store)?  Kenny Anderson, Essex Johnson, Boobie Clark, Isaac Curtis, Bob Trumpy, Rufus Mayes, Ken Riley, Tommy Casanova....ah memories.

Doc's picture

Growing up in Cincy, and not in a sports family, put me in a sports bubble.  I thought Cincy sports was the best and the rest of the state sucked wind.  I went to a Catholic school in the GCL, but did not root for those snobs from St. X or XU.  My bubble was burst, in a good way, when I got to tOSU and out of Cincy.  I still root for the Reds and Bungles, sort of.  The funny thing now is, since I went to Ohio State my Dad is a big Cincy fan.  Both XU, where he got his Masters, but also UC.  Growing up he never gave a rats rear end about either.  He revels in every loss the Buckeyes have, and has pure disdain when they are doing well.  He was up to see us the weekend of the Wiscy BB game and got a rye smile on his face when he saw the Buckeyes had lost.  The Cincinnati sports mentality is juvenile at best.  if we draw UC or Xavier in the tourney I hope we curb stop them into next month.

Go Bucks!


p.s.  I do like me some of that Skyline Chili though.

"Say my name."

madhatterhater's picture

Dayton product here too.  I think my mom and dad started to hate OSU because I loved it so much I decided to stay an extra year.  I dont really think they liked paying for the extra year.  I took to them to a game last year and my dad said that if he knew gamedays were like this he would have enrolled at OSU with me!

go bucks

Doc's picture

I have taken both of my parents to games as well, seperately.  My Mom had fun, but my Dad sat there with his arms folded and a sour puss.  That is when I realized that there are only a handful of home games every year, don't "waste" any. 

If my parents are are still sore about paying for OSU they shouldn't have insisted on doing so.  I think their distaste for Ohio State comes from the stand point of me getting my freedom.  I lived at home for undergrad, so I was still under their roof.  Once I left for OSU I was no longer under their sphere of influence.  I met my wife at Ohio State and we moved to NW Ohio upon graduation.  I feel they see OSU as the reason for my "change".  Seventeen years is way to long to hold a grudge, get over it.

"Say my name."

Nappy's picture

Wow, lots of Dayton/Miami Valley natives on here. I grew up in New Lebanon myself and remember being a die hard Reds and Bengals fan.  I did the Ickey Shuffle in my front yard for passing cars before the Super Bowl and could recite the Reds starting lineup the year they won the WS. Lots of people seem to hate Ohio sports teams and not just the Cincy area teams. I can understand hating teams because they are constantly good (Lakers, 90's Cornhuskers) but hating teams that suck? I dont get it.

And Skyline is the shit.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

btalbert25's picture

I live in NKY about 10 miles from Cincinnati, and let me tell ya UK fans are 10 times worse than any Cincinnati sports fans.  However, I've always like X and their fans.  My best friend and his family have always had season tickets for X and the Cintas center is a great place to watch a ball game.  It's nice to have a beer in the stands too. 

You can't blame Bengals fans for not being loyal when that Franchise has never been loyal to the city.  They have robbed the county blind on this stadium deal, and have really offered nothing value-wise back to the city.  It's a garbage franchise that treats it's players and fans like shit.  I have never spent a dime, except for the UC/OSU game, and will not ever. I don't cheer for them either, I'm totally apathetic toward the Bengals.

Reds fans have pissed me off over the years, but really they are in the same boat as Bengals fans.  For much of the last 20 years they had totally incompetent ownership who killed the farm system, scouting, and front office.  They had some terrible teams that just weren't worth spending a small fortune on season tickets.  In my opinion, they have just recovered from the Schott years.  Lidner did little to help the Reds either.  Castellini and Jockety have them on the right track, and attendance is going to be much better this year.  Season ticket sales are going up, and overall interest in the team is back.  Last year TV ratings were really high, and I read an article that said when the Reds are negotiating a new TV contract, they are going to make a killing.  So, interest is there in the Reds.  

It's easier to rally behind the Reds too because they do so much good in the community and they have a great event like Redsfest.  They actually reach out to the fans and community.  I don't know if the Bengals aren't involved, or don't care, or just have a terrible PR department but the only community involvement you hear of is the Marvin Lewis Foundation.  As far as I know, that's not even affiliated with the team, that's his doing.  So, it's an exciting time if you love baseball and the Reds here in town. 

It is easy to rip the fans around here, and I routinely do, but the area does have 2 decades of crap teams, in pro sports.  I've always found X fans to be pretty loyal.  UC fans are kind of a joke but the university burnt a lot of bridges when they fired Huggins. 

buckeyedude's picture

I'm from Toledo, and I freakin' love Cincinnati Style Chili. We used to have a couple of Skyline Chilis in Toledo a few years ago, but they pulled out. Tough restaurant market here. A (Columbus based?)Max and Erma's just closed on a busy strip here too.

The Browns own Toledo and NW Ohio. There is even a Northwest Ohio Brown's Backers Club that my former boss belongs to, and they have parties year round, and also load a chartered bus for Browns home games. The Bengals and Reds have very few fans up here, although being an Ohioan, like to see them do well.



btalbert25's picture

I was always under the impression that with the Reds and Indians, whichever team was more successful over a given period of time is what made the invisible north south dividing line move to one extreme or the other.  I could imagine the reds wouldn't be that popular in that part of Ohio.  There are just other teams that are closer I don't know do people take state pride into account with pro teams?  I just don't see being a factor nearly as much as it is with college.

Doc's picture

A lot of the people I come in contact with in the Toledo area may be Buckeye's, but root for Detroit when it comes to their professional teams.

I loved the Skyline in B.G., it was never very busy.  I always thought it would have made it if it served beer.  You could go around the corner to BW's and get beer with your wings, why not beer with your coney?  It was a nice slice of home without having to make the trip down 75.  My Dad knows Buddy LaRosa, and has tried to talk him into franchising this part of Ohio to no avail. 

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

I've never been a big LaRossa's fan.  Sometimes it is great to have, but man if you want one of their pizza's delievered to your house, after tip it comes up to about 25 bucks.  Being from the Cincinnati area have you ever ate at any of the smaller chilli places like Camp Washington or Price Hill Chilli?  I've never been to Price Hill Chilli, but my wife teaches at a school right by there.  She said it was good.  Camp Washington Chilli just made a yahoo's top 10 places to have a bowl of chilli in America list.  If I get cans at the store to make my own coney's or 3 ways, I prefer to buy Dixie Chilli in the cans.  It has a little more substance too it.  Skyline and Goldstar in the can is mostly water and grease. 

Doc's picture

It's mostly water and grease in the restaurant too, but that is what makes it so good.  Yes, I have eaten at Price Hill Chili.  I grew up in Westwood, and sometimes we go to Mass when we are visiting the folks at St. Theresa's.  I like to get the Goetta Sandwich when I'm there.  I don't ever recall eating at Camp Washington, but have always heard good things about it.

You are right about LaRosa's it is expensive, but a nice treat when we are back in the 'Nati.  It prolly wouldn't fly up here in the frozen Northwest.

BT, I went to NKU for undergrad, how far from there do you live?

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

I also went to NKU,  I live about 10 or 15 miles from there I guess.  Maybe less than that. I live in Erlanger if you are familiar with the area at all. 

Doc's picture

I graduated in'92 from NKU.  Yes, I know where Erlanger is.  Since most of my friends from Northern were from Ky we hung out in that neck of the woods more often than not, unless we were going to Mr. K's on UC's campus for dollar pitcher night.  In my experience going to NKU was like going to a really big H.S..  Not much going on there, and most people hung out with the people they went to high school with.  Ocassionally an outsider like myself could wriggle into a group.

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

You aren't too far off on that assumption. I started there in 99, so it was bigger then but I routinely ran into people that I knew from my highschool or kids I played sports with from other surrounding schools when I grew up.  You probably wouldn't recognize a lot of campus now.  They have really been building up there.  They built a really nice new Science building my first year.  They now have a 10-12,000 seat arena instead of Regents Hall.  Parking garages instead of 10 acre parking lots lol. the completely excavated little Lake Inferior to actually look nice and not like a big cess pool in the middle of campus lol. 

I'm sure it still has that highschool feel, but they have grown alot.  There are serious rumors they are going to jump to D 1 in basketball, which is cool.  Now they have a facility to host that level of competition.  I wanted to go to Ohio State, WKU or NKU and in the end partially because of financial concerns and partially because I lost a dear family member and just didn't want to be away from the rest of my family chose to stay here and go to NKU.   People knock it a lot, but I liked it there. 

Doc's picture

I drove threw campus last summer and did not recognize it.  That was the first time I had been back since graduation.  What a step up from my first visit in 1988.  My degree is in Biology and seeing the new science building is nice.  the old one wasn't built to hold scince in the first place and had to be retrofitted.

I know the knocks on Northern, the biggest one being No Knowledge College.  I didn't find it that way at all.  When I went there it had the best Biology department in the state.  It got me in to the College of Dentistry at OSU, at the time one of the top 5 in the nation.  Being from Ohio it was still cheaper for me to go to NKU than UC.  It was a perfect fit for me, not to big and not to small.

I never understood why they changed their name and mascot from the Norsemen and a cool Viking to the Norse Force and that gay Dragon.

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

Lol, who knows.  I was a Geography and History double major.  The faculty in History was 2nd to none and that's no joke.  Dr. Ramage and Dr Adams are known nationwide as great Civil War Historians.  The history fraternity was the number 1 chapter in the country.  So Yale had to say they were number 2 in something to NKU lol.  I know Chase Law School is a pretty good law school too.  Anyway, I liked it up there a lot.

In biology did you have Dr. Hastings.  I took a team taught science class that was provided for non science majors.  It was a neat class we had a biology, chemistry, and physics professor that lead the course.  Hastings had a big beard and long hair, really neat guy, looked and talked kind of like he should've been teaching Philosophy though lol.

Doc's picture

I had Hastings for a Physiology class.  I thought he looked like Jesus, or some homeless guy.  He was a very good instructor.  I took an American History class taught by Dr. Washington.  I enjoyed him too.  I would have no problem recommending NKU to anyone.

"Say my name."

Buckinnc's picture

it's been some years, but have you ventured to blue ash chili.  not sure if they are still in business, but they were awesome.

btalbert25's picture

I haven't been there, but know back in the Summer or Fall Guy Fieri was in town and went to Blue Ash Chilli, Terry's Turf Club, and a place called Virgil's in Bellevue, KY. 

BacknBlack's picture

Chicago product now living in Dayton. I was born and raised in the greatest professional sports city in the US. The college sports scene in Chicago however is pathetic. I have great respect for Ohio State and the Buckeye athletic department. People in Ohio should realize how lucky they are to have this institution to support.

On the other hand All Ohio professional sports teams are a joke. Everything from decade long loosing streaks, to never making the playoffs, fleecing fans (taxpayers) for new stadiums to suck ass team colors. Do yourself a favor Ohio and support the only team in the state worth a damn, OSU! And eat lots of Skyline cheese coneys, those are awesome. 

The_Lurker's picture

All Ohio professional sports teams are a joke. 

Not my Columbus Crew!

BacknBlack's picture

True, oversight on my part. The Crew, even with a short existence have repesented Ohio well in championship form.  We can exclude them from the list of loosers.