Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on August 23, 2011 at 6:00a

Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. This week marks the last non-football week of the year, which to me is kind of like the last non-eating-everything-in-sight day before Thanksgiving (which also has a lot of football, creating a horrible one day conflagration of lust, gluttony, and sloth that threatens to consume my very soul, year after year).

This is what we refer to as crunch time. If there's any obscure fact or unit breakdown or Akron you haven't read yet, read it. If you don't yet know what shoe size Rod Smith wears, find out. If you haven't rewatched every vacated win from last year so that it is imprinted forever into your brain, do so until your eyes bleed.

What I'm trying to say is that you're on notice, readers of 11W. Why do you think we've been throwing season previews and internet memes and obtuse jokes about Watch the Throne at you for the past week or so? For fun? Well I didn't hear anybody laughing, did you?!?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah: stay out of my booze.

AL DAVIS TP'S HIS HOUSE I'll be honest; I never thought that Terrelle Pryor was as fast as the coaches at OSU claimed he was. OSU has a reputation for fudging their 40 times a bit, and for all his athleticism I really didn't think the dude could run a legit 4.4. But, when he did just that at his workout for NFL teams, I think pretty much no one in the world was surprised when speed loving Al Davis and the Raiders took him in the third round of the supplemental draft yesterday. And speaking of which, here's a nice little rundown from CBS about how some other supplemental draft picks have fared throughout the years.

TP said that he'd be willing to play anywhere, and someone pointed out that if he can run routes and catch passes with any sort of regularity, the only person in the measurable-happy NFL who matches his numbers is Mr. Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. Something to think about.

PAT FORDE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT BIG TEN FOOTBALL STINKS Pat Forde is probably ESPN's worst college writer (and one day I would really like to see Rittenberg just lay into the guy) and this article finds him dredging up the argument that because of a demographic shift to the Sun Belt, B1G football is bad and SEC football is good. There are a number of ways you can go after this article, but I'll leave it at this:

Recruiting rankings are a dangerous yardstick -- I don't remember seeing top 10 programs Boise State and TCU dominating on signing day, whereas I've seen a lot of highly ranked classes fizzle at places like Miami and Clemson. But even with that in mind, the Big Ten is generally being left behind by warm-weather schools.

So recruiting rankings are a "dangerous yardstick" for evaluating the overall regional quality of players, but Forde then goes on to base the rest of his argument on them. "Them" meaning the ESPN 150 rankings. Has no one at ESPN heard of the phrase "confirmation bias?" Ever? Hey, maybe the reason why there are so few kids from northern schools in your recruiting rankings is because your talent evaluators buy into the idea that there isn't any talent in the north that your analysts keep saying that the recruiting rankings prove!


(FLORIDA) INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY James Louis apparently left the Ohio State program under somewhat murky circumstances, but since that time his fans (me) have been wondering, "What's next, James? What's next?!?" Well, it seems like we may soon have an answer, as KJ (no more Keyboard, please, he's not a child) has indicated via Twitter that he's about to make a decision about his future. In all seriousness, we wish the dude the best of luck, and hope he tears it up in whatever conference he lands in.

I CAN'T HELP MYSELF The Omaha World-Herald released their analysis of Ohio in terms of football recruiting, and as angry as it makes Pat Forde, the results are unsurprisingly positive. To wit:

• Ohio, the third-largest state in the Big Ten footprint, sent 414 scholarship recruits to Big Ten schools over the past decade. Illinois was next in line with 259.

•Ohio had 741 players on FBS rosters in 2009, according to a Tulsa World report. That ranked fourth nationally (behind Texas, California and Florida) and exceeded the combined totals of Michigan and Illinois (709). Pennsylvania was second in the Big Ten with 401.

•Ohio has five of the top 20 metro areas in America in terms of producing FBS football recruits. Pittsburgh (20th) was the only other non-Sun Belt city on the list.

Ohiowns. Yes, there is the usual Rust Belt blather about how everything is going to hell in a handbasket, but truthfully it comes down to this: the state of Ohio has roughly 12 million people living in it. Ohioans are absolutely crazy about football. Therefore, lots of people will play it, and many good players will come from the state. It's not rocket science, and unless there's some kind of Skyline Chili-borne plague which kills half of Ohio's young boys, I think we'll be okay in terms of producing talent.

ETC. The coolest punting picture ever... UAB hates America... The only college football preaseason poll you need to read... "MOM it's me Nick Mangold, I was on tv!!"... Steve Mason has a sweet goalie mask... Banned by the NCAA, 2011 version... "Tennessee Football Learns That Proper Spacing Is Everything"


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AcrossTheField11's picture

Anybody see Dane last night? Decent stat line. 2nd most rec and yards on the team. That's not sayin much but I hope he ends up killin it in chicago.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

OHIOST1087's picture

I watched the game last night and, of course, Dane did amazing. And Gruden continued to do his best promoting Dane's skills and talents, talking constantly about his work ethic, intensity and the different tools he is able to bring to the team. Dane caught everything thrown his way, (I know on the box score it said 7 tgts, but none of those misses were Dane's fault). After his first catch near the end of the first half, Cutler threw to him again, but he sailed it way over the head Dane, and the DB, and pretty much everyone else on the field surface (Looked like he was trying to throw it to someone atop the Empire State Bldg - clearly not Dane's fault for not catching that). The second miss was in the 2nd half, thrown by Hanie, was tipped to the ground by a Giants LB before it got near Dane, and the third miss was on the goalline when Hanie stared down Dane during his entire route along the backline of the endzone allowing Herzlich to intercept the ball easily before it even got anywhere near Sanzenbacher.


Hopefully Sanzenbacher earns a roster spot, I think Jon Gruden will go on a tirade on every MNF if Dane's not somewhere on an NFL roster this season.

BuddhaBuck's picture

From the play-by-play, it looks like he got some PT in the 4Q and had 4 rcpts for 34 yards.  I didn't see it though.

Not hating on TP, but his weakness in football isn't physical..... It seemed like he never had a full grasp of the cliff notes' tOSU Tressel/Bollman playbook during his three years here... and I hear the NFL ones are a bit more Webster encyclopedia-like. Playing WR and running a 9 should help him be successful. Maybe we can call him Optimus Prime?

Pat Forde is just doing his job... which is at this point, akin to what another 11W writer said recently: sports' version of TMZ.

Don't text while driving.

WilloughbyBuck's picture

Actually got PT in the first half and looked good

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

No, I didn't see him and am curious about whether he is still supposed to make the team.  All I hear is that he is impressing, but so is another undraftred free agent rookie and that they have like 47 receivers in camp

I google news articles sometimes and not much has been out there recently about his projected status

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Send everyone who works for the NCAA and eSECpn to China on a goodwill tour. Then, nuke the joint. What's good for the Buckeyes is what's good for America.  

buckeyedude's picture

I can't believe you left out Brady cHoke. Just tell him there's a buffet on every corner there and he's gone.



Denny's picture

Excuse me let me buy lots of commodities first before this happens thx thx


Run_Fido_Run's picture

Just kidding about the nukes, but I'm still in favor of the goodwill tour. There's a decent chance that the NCAA people - given their skill-sets, temperaments, and draconian pseudo-ethical codes - would be recruited to fill the ranks of the Chinese bureaucracy - poof, done with them.

Meanwhile, the eSECpn executives would be seduced by the prospect of becoming a state-sponsored monopoly. As a bonus, they'd save lots of money by firing their 1,000+ lawyers, who'd become obsolete in China (e.g., when the Conference USAs of China try to negotiate a better deal with them, instead of threatening CUSA-China with a lawsuit, they'd simply phone the Chairman).   

By all means, though, stock up on $2.29 kids toys, plastic eating utinsils, and disposable electronics. 

LadyBuck's picture

Oh China, how you make me lol. 

Bucksfan's picture

Did Forde even watch the Sugar Bowl?  There is no doubt that Ohio State won 1st prize in talent against what everyone considered to be a top-10 SEC team.

Seriously, they have an agenda at ESECPiN.  I don't even think it'll take someone beating the SEC champion.  They have a vested interest in the SEC product now.  They're going to keep pimping that region no matter what.

And I believe his demographics are wrong.  The southeastern part of the country is still one of the least-populated regions, even if it's growing.  Their TV draw is awful.  Don't you think if it were a viable sports market they'd have more than the Atlanta teams?  More than the Florida baseball teams that draw less than 5,000 fans a game?

btalbert25's picture

The 2 Sunbelt states that produce the most recruits are the 2 that have the most people.  They are also states that are obsessed with football much like Ohio.  So when you have a ton of people who all like football, doesn't it make sense that you would get talented kids from such states? 

I've never been much for believing that a demographic shift has been the result of recruiting success in the south, I believe it's proximity to the recruits.  It's much easier for LSU to go gets from Texas because it's 600 miles closer to Texas than Columbus is.  Purdue or Indiana would struggle a lot more to land the less talented kids from Florida than Ole Miss or Miss St.  That to me is the issue here, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska can bring kids in from other states because of the stature and tradition of their programs, but Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue are going to have a harder time getting kids from elsewhere.  This hurts them because there just aren't that many great highschool football players coming out of their regions.  They depend on the lower tier Ohio Kids who are mostly obsorbed by the bigger programs anyway. 

Bucksfan's picture

Why didn't Rod Smith go to Indiana or Purdue?  Why didn't James Laurinaitis or Senatrel Henderson stay home in Minnesota?  Why does Wisconsin keep growing these NFL-calibur trees on their offensive lines, who have no trouble absorbing SEC defensive line speed?

No, I don't think these non-Ohio/non-PA regions are devoid of talent at all.  They are devoid of coaches.  Danny Hope? Jerry Kill?  Florida castoff Ron Zook?  Underachiever Kirk Ferentz?  The carousel at Indiana?  The once-every-four-years Joe Paterno?  Who ARE these guys?  Better yet, who WERE these guys in the first place?

I think that the coaches in the Big Ten suck, not only at keeping the talent in their own state, but bringing that talent up to a high level.  Part of that is the market, unfortunately.  The SEC has brought their average head coach and coordinator salaries up to an artificially high level.  They are getting the best coaches because they're ponying up the cash, and they've been doing it for over a decade.  South Carolina has Steve Spurrier...I mean, are you kidding me?!

Look, I think Forde, and really everyone else around college football who watch it, are correct in their analysis that the LEVEL OF PLAY in the SEC is higher than in other leagues.  But it's not because there is more talent in those regions.

Bucksfan's picture

And if you want an example of this, look no farther than the SEC-itself.  Look at Tennessee.  High school football in the Volunteer state has NEVER been national calibur.  It's small, sparsely populated, and relatively poor.  Tennessee has always had to recruit out of state to be what it is.  That's how Fulmer had such success.  So, coaches were hired that kept talent in their respective states, and Tennessee suffered.

Same thing happened at Michigan when Jim Tressel was hired.  But, JT also got talent from all over the Big Ten, too...out of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, etc.  So, really, the whole conference had a hard time staying competitive.

So, the talent, I feel, is there in the Big Ten.  They just need to spread it around and get guys who know what to do with it.

btalbert25's picture

Just because a couple of players come out of a given state doesn't mean they are talent rich.  Why wouldn't a guy like Smith go an extra 150 miles away to school to play for Ohio State instead of Indiana?  I'm sure there are great players from Illinois and Indiana, but the talent is sparse in comparison to Ohio.  I also feel like the second tier players from states like Florida, Texas, and Ohio are as good or better than the elite from a state like Indiana.

Your point about Tennessee is valid, but they retain their homegrown talent in a state that is sparsely populated but still has a couple of large cities capable of producing talent.  Also, Tennessee borders 8 states.  They can draw from a talent rich state like Georgia, attract talented kids from the Carolinas, and cherry pick some kids Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, etc.  Not to mention they are still about 7 hours closer to Florida by car than they would be at the closest Big 10 school. 

I do think the coaching is a major issue, but I don't know how many great talents from major population centers around the Big 10 footprint are playing football instead of basketball.  You would think Chicago and Detroit would historically be great centers of college football talent.  Even Indianapolis, but in comparison to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, they just don't churn out the numbers.  I would like to see what the per capita difference is from FBS players out of one of the Ohio metro areas compared to Chicago.

Nappy's picture

I would agree coaching is the main factor.  There's a reason Wisconsin's O-line overacheives when ours never seem to live up to expectations.  We've all bitched about Bollman for years and have had basically the same results for years. 

Growing up in Ohio, HS football produces talent on par with any state.  Maybe not in quantities like TX, CA, GA or FL, but those states are more populated than Ohio.  Living in Indiana for the last 10 years, I can tell you without a doubt this is a basketball state.  Outside of Warren Central or Carmel, Indy just doesn't produce D1 guys.  I heard on the radio the other day some local guy was bragging about having 35 D1 recruits from Indiana and couldnt help but laugh.  And I think Indiana is top 15 in terms of population.

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

BuckeyeSki's picture

I'm really not hating, but did TP REALLY deserve a special phone interview during the G-Men/Bears game last night? He was a third-round pick in the supplemental draft, who is suspended and can't even practice for the first 5 games, and he's being projected to play a position he has never played before, at the highest level.....no wonder the dude has an ego that can't be stopped. I wish him the best in the NFL, but that is a bit ridiculous if you ask me

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Bucksfan's picture

Terrelle Pryor would have been selected within the first 5 rounds of the actual NFL draft back in April...maybe top-3 after seeing his freak speed in a combine or workout.  The supplemental draft is usually filled with players that you've never heard of.  So, it's news because it's unusual.

btalbert25's picture

Going into the Supplemental Draft has there ever been a bigger name?  Add to it all the drama with whether he was eligible or not, plus the controversy that he was the center of in the off season and of course he's going to get a phone interview last night.  I'll be honest, I had never even heard of the Supplemental Draft before Pryor was rumored to be entering and then of course everything that followed.

Bucks43201's picture

Pat "Boulder Head" Forde and Mark "Fat Urkel" May deserve to to be unemployed for their blind hatred of all things Big 10.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

acBuckeye's picture

To them, the only thing that matters is bowl season, and showcase OOC regular season games. Until the Big Ten stops going 2-5 or 3-4 in bowl season, and starts winning them more than losing them on a consistent basis, you can count on their douchery to still be aimed to the midwest.

Kyle's picture

1) Pat Forde writes articles for the lowest common deonominator (aka people who take the agenda and spin of ESPiN as gospel; see also "the South")


2) If Calvin Johnson is Megatron would that make TP Starscream?


3) Mangold named his beard Mjolinir.  He is awesome on so many levels.

KG's picture

"2) If Calvin Johnson is Megatron would that make TP Starscream?"

How about "Optimus Pryor"?

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Starscream. Kind of a sociopath...

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

argyle182021's picture

That recruiting piece from the Omaha World-Herald is outstanding.  Thanks for the link.  This interactive map link from that story was a good one too: http://dataomaha.com/big-ten/  

3cent's picture

All we Buckeye fans need to stop clicking on articles written by Forde, Hooley and people of that ilk. And the URL shouldn't be posted on 11 warriors or any other Buckeye website. All we are doing is helping them stay employed. Their employers look at how many web hits that they receive. I have not read a Forde article in a year and a half and rarely visit espn.com. I like that we have websites like 11 warriors, ozone, buckeye planet, etc... So that I don not have to endure the constant buckeye bashing.