Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. Listen closely. Do you hear that?
Yes, it's the sound of yet another shoe not dropping. It's the noise that nothing makes as it's emblazoned on the front page of sports sections all throughout Ohio. It is the clatter of no one grumbling in comment threads or tweets about the newest Buckeye scandal.
It is the sweet sweet sound of silence. For ten days! We did, guys! For 240 hours Ohio State football and by extension Ohio State University has managed not to royally step in it and force the sports media and blogs like us to analyze, scrutinize, and conceptualize all the myriad ways that Ohio State and Ohio State fans are royally screwed. Ten days of glorious, irrelevant, and plodding offseason bliss, with no real lasting effect on anything in the real world.
Could something else, something more sinister, be lurking around the corner? Sure. But like so many cartoon forest animals sticking their heads out of their homes after a thunderstorm, I choose the path of hope and optimism, no matter how misplaced and misguided it may be. I fully intend to ride this wave of zen like boredom as far as it will take me, and today it takes me all the way to Kilimanjaro.
Hemingway Would Be Proud The Drake University Bulldogs are on a bit of a world tour, traveling to Tanzania to play in the Kilimanjaro Bowl against a group of All Stars from a major conference in Mexico's college football system. Sounds complicated? It is, but really the only words that you need to digest here are "service" (Drake football players and staff will be doing various service projects during their time in Africa), "football" (yes, honest, actual, factual football with officials from BCS games and everything), and "Kilimanjaro" (the roughly 20,000 foot mountain that the players will climb as part of their trip). Drake University has set up a great page with a ton of places to follow the team in their adventure, culminating in the actual Bowl itself this Saturday. So check it out, if you can manage to hear it over the beating of your own heart.
Texas Cranks It To 11 Agents who decide to attempt to lure student athletes into their services generally do so with the understanding that in most states, what they are doing is technically illegal and could lead to the loss of their license. The Texas state legislature, apparently realizing the vast opportunities for excessive punishment that illicit student/agent activity provides, has decided to push for a bill that would make contact with a student athlete a felony, punishable with up to a 10 year stint in the clink. A bit much? Perhaps, but as Sports Illustrated points out, Texas isn't merely flexing their guns here: they enforce these rules and laws more than maybe any other state. Proponents of the law state that they're going after the intermediaries or "runners," people who communicate between student and agent. If it works, it's genius. If it doesn't, then it's another example of how the system might just have to be changed wholesale to fix some of the more endemic problems it has.
Runner's High The OSU Women's Track and Field team kicked it into gear and came home with the Big Ten Conference championship, beating defending champion Penn State by a scant 13 points. Per the Dispatch:
Ohio State won six individual titles on the final day of the Big Ten women's track championships and won its first outdoor title yesterday at Iowa City, Iowa. The Buckeyes scored 135 points, 13 more than defending champion Penn State. Christina Manning led Ohio State by winning the 100-meter hurdles (12.86 seconds) and 100 meters (11.29). She also anchored the winning 400 relay team (43.94). Madison McNary won the 200 (23.22), and Shaniqua McGinnis won the 400 (53.63) by .002 seconds. Kelcey McKinney won the triple jump (42 feet).
Afterwards the OSU women celebrated by throwing cans of beer at Penn State fans (note: did not actually happen).
"Range Isn't An Issue" Both David Lighty and Jon Diebler are both going to be strutting their stuff at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago that runs through Sunday, or at least as much stuff as Jon Diebler can strut. It'll be very interesting to see what kind of contributions, these guys can make at the next level. Lighty I'm less worried about: he would likely be a liability on the offensive end of the court, but his defensive skills and overall attitude and leadership could help him find a spot on a roster somewhere, if only as a situational player.
Diebler intrigues me more, in this case. He's got the height to shoot over many of the defenders who would come at him in the NBA, but he will definitely have to improve his overall strength. Even so, as linked to by Bob Baptist in the Dispatch, Alex Kennedy over at HoopsWorld noted that:
During shooting drills, some of the prospects clearly struggled as they tried to adjust to the NBA three-point line. Diebler, on the other hand, often completed the drills five steps back from the line. At times, he was closer to halfcourt than he was the three-point line, but he was still unconscious, proving that range clearly isn't an issue for him. He would have made Jimmer Fredette proud with some of the shots he was making.
Which certainly bodes well for the former Mr. Ohio.
I Can't Stop Smiling "I dunno Colin, I just don't think centering the pilot entirely around making you even more irritating than in real life is that good of an idea." "You know what Michelle? I'm sick of your negativity. 'Buttock implants' is hilarious. America is gonna love this."