Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. I think I hit a bird with my car yesterday. Stay with me here, I'm making an analogy.
And it wasn't intentional! The little sucker just decided to dart out in front of my GENUINE AMERICAN MADE AUTOMOBILE and I'm pretty sure the sparrow took it right in the kisser. But if I'm being honest with all of you, I didn't really think about it much afterward (until my guilty conscience dredged it up for the purposes of this Skully). I mean, it's a bird. There are lots of little birds in the world, and to be honest, most of them aren't that organized. The buddies of that doomed avian might get mad, but if I run over a bird, chances are that A) nobody will ever know about it (again, unless I decide to tell everybody in a blog post), B) nobody will really care all that much even if they did, and C) it's not like anyone can stop me from doing it again.
So aside from possibly being a sociopath, one thing that I learned about myself yesterday is that I'm a lot like ESPN. The suspension and then non-suspension of Bruce Feldman, ostensibly about Feldman working on Mike Leach's book, wasn't anything new from the Four Letter. ESPN can be a petty, petty organization, and although an outcry from Twitter did arise, leading ESPN to issue a statement saying Feldman was never suspended, there are plenty of ways to suspend Feldman without actually saying so. Truth is, ESPN is gonna keep driving that car and doing whatever they think they need to do to protect their interests.
Because when you've got that big of a vehicle for reaching the masses, you can run over as many birds as you want; they can tweet and chirp all they want, but until they become organized and determined to run you off the road, you will continue to go about your merry way.
The Official (Extended) ESPN Response ESPN Ombudsman Kelly McBride offers up an adorable breakdown of how ESPN feels the situation played out, which you can read here and also includes the term "Twitterati." It is fairly lengthy, so to summarize: ESPN is dumb for letting Feldman work on the book in the first place, Sports by Brooks is dumb for going public with a rumor, and you are dumb for believing them.
ESPN's reasoning is that they should have never allowed Feldman to work on a book that contains perspective on a lawsuit concerning the company he works for, and here they have a point. ESPN would also have a point if they said that they should have never allowed a commentator to talk about an ongoing scandal when his son was one of the central figures of said scandal. Of course they did not, and you would be able to view that massive conflict of interest here, except it's been taken down.
Feldman, by the way, remains Not Suspended but also not writing or conducting interviews. Totally voluntarily, though.
Travis Howard Approved Travis Howard's twitter account is mostly inspirational quotes that from anyone else would seem trite, but from him are more like terrifying edicts from the world's toughest life coach, but today he also linked to a high relevant article by Doc Saturday talking about his picks for 2011's up and coming defensive players.
Howard is featured prominently at cornerback, and rightfully so. But one other Buckeye made the list as an honorable mention, and that is Mr. Garrett Goebel. I'm actually really impressed that Hinton even knows who Goebel is, since even Buckeye fans are mostly familiar with him as "the dude with a German name who was a wrestler." I personally think Howard is a star in the making, but like Hinton suggests, the d-line should be very interesting to watch as well.
Brady Hoke, Puttin' In Work Our good friend Marcus Hartman has a pretty insightful article about the kind of inroads that Brady Hoke is making into Ohio recruiting. One of the more interesting quotes in the article comes from Steve Specht, the head football coach for St. Xavier HS:
"(Hoke is) really hammering southwest Ohio. I think he's really hammering Ohio in and of itself and doing a really good job of recruiting it. I don't know if his approach would change if Jim Tressel was there or not, but there's a renewed interest in Ohio football from Michigan's perspective because of Brady Hoke's history with Ohio football players."
Let me tell you guys something: I was born and raised in southwest Ohio. There is not nearly the kind of allegiance to OSU down here that there is in other parts of the state, especially among the Catholic schools, who generally support Notre Dame first. My hometown of Middletown, for instance, devotes almost as much coverage (if not more) to Miami Redhawks football as they do to OSU football.
What I'm saying is that this is incredibly smart on Hoke's part. Despite the conniption fit some Michigan fans made at his hiring, Hoke has made every move a correct one thus far. He's going to be tough.
Also Putting In Work? Thad Matta. The LeBron James Skills Academy is going on, and Ohio State coaches were in attendance as they current and future players showed off their skills. This article from Fox Sports Ohio is mostly a fluff piece, but it's a fluff piece about Ohio State. Lots of positive quotes here about Matta and Ohio State from some big name prospects. Here's my favorite one:
"Ohio State, they get the job done," said Julius Randle of Plano, Texas, who's either the best or second-best player nationwide in the class of 2013. "Coach Matta gets the job done. They win, they get pretty deep into the tournament and they get players ready for the league."
I smell a t-shiiiirrrttttt!
PowerCord64 In Love Bro to bro, on the glorious day of his marriage. Congrats to Jimmy C on his new life, and congrats to Evan Blankenship for singing oh so sweetly.