Monday Skull Session

By DJ Byrnes on November 28, 2011 at 6:00a

So, Michigan can really beat Ohio, I guess. After getting great amusement out of Michigan's hilarious downfall over the years, it was kinda nice to see Ohio's disfigured step-brother get himself a little bit of glory after a seven consecutive unsuccessful attempts. Well played, disfigured little step-brother!

Though, it must be a tad bit disheartening for Michigan knowing their coach put in a year's effort to "beat Ohio", and yet he couldn't cover the spread against a (now) 6-6 Ohio State team at home. It also probably won't please them when Urban Meyer and his two national title rings are announced as Ohio State's next head football coach roughly 12 hours from now. And Michigan, was it sound policy to splurge your one-win-a-decade chip this early into the 2010's? Whatever, I'm over it. See you bums in 363 days on the banks of the Olentangy.

Regardless, I'm proud of the Buckeyes and how they battled in Ohio's name last Saturday. (Ryan Shazier, you sir, are a monster.) To Coach Fickell: Thank you for stepping into a no-win situation and refusing to make a single excuse -- even as Ohio State was finalizing the Urban Meyer deal in the week leading up to the biggest game of the season. Your honorable service shouldn't be forgotten by Buckeye fans.

THE RICH GET RICHER. Ohio State's men's basketball team will get a shot in the arm in the form of the 6'8" LaQuinton Ross returning to the team on December 9th. While the #2 team in the country won't have him for their clash against Duke on Tuesday (which students have been camping out for since last night), the versatile swingman will be a nice toy for Thad Matta as the season progresses. (Now, all Coach Matta has to do is find 38-minutes a game for him.)

BERNIE FINE WAXED. On the heels of Penn State's scandal comes Syracuse's apparent attempts to remix it. This one is getting just as ridiculous, too. First, the district attorney  "declared war" on Syracuse's campus police. Then, Fine's accuser released a tape of a phone call he had with Fine's wife in 2002 where Laurie Fine seems to admit to knowledge of the abuse. ESPN, who has had the tapes since 2003, must've consulted Joe Paterno's book of ethics by choosing to not go to police. The accuser (1 of 3) also claims he had sex with Laurie Fine after he turned 18. Syracuse has fired Fine as a result. (Still awaiting Jim Boheim's latest thoughts on the matter.)


IT'S GOING TO BE AN ALL SEC TITLE GAME. Well, it's FINALLY going to happen! An SEC team is going to lose a national title game! Unfortunately for everybody outside of the Southeast, the loss is going to happen at the he hands of another SEC team.

Personally, I don't care. Alabama is the only team in the country that has a shot to beat LSU on a neutral field. My three loyal readers know I've been on the Les Miles swag-wagon since before the season started and have wanted them crowned since they whipped up on Oregon. I'll take an Alabama-LSU rematch over watching LSU destroy somebody like Stanford, Virginia Tech, or Oklahoma State. (Though I think Oklahoma State would have the best chance of beating the Tigers.) Since the BCS is all about not devaluing the regular season -- why should Alabama get the title over LSU if they barely beat LSU on a neutral field? Alas, such are the breaks in the wonderful system we live in.

DENNIS ERICKSON TO THE BREADLINES. As coaching heads roll across the country's landscape, Dennis Erickson, who marshalled over quite an impressive collapse this year at Arizona State, is reportedly going to be fired sometime later today. I'm sure Brett Bielema's eyebrows jumped up his fat forehead when he read about the opening and thought about all the beautiful co-eds he could ensare with rufilin in dive-bars as the frontman for the Sun Devils. (Speaking of ASU, feel free to read about Vontaze Burflict, the meanest man in college football. It's dated, but still an awesome read.)

THAT CRYSTAL. Chinese firm bans the hiring of Virgos and Scorpios... Unemployed British man has 15 children with 13 women (and two more on the way)... Good ball retention starts with the goalkeeper... An "uncontrollable" flow of e-waste into Ghana... Community made a Beetlejuice joke over the course of three seasons... Ohioans are hustling a free cell phone program... Just your typical drug smuggling tunnel that was chiseled through rock 20 feet underground... China's Undercover Internet Water Army is on the march...


Comments Show All Comments

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I saw that Boheim got shredded on twitter for his comments, but if the kid is lying about Boheim seeing him why not call that out? Are those the comments he's getting criticized for? Could you imagine being falsely accused of such a vile act so someone could get paid? I'd be beyond angry. I'm not trying to be insensitive but just because someone is being accused doesn't mean it happened.

I'd rather LSU play a team that will actually move the ball on them, like the Green Bay Packers.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Oh....just heard the phone call. That's a sick, sick lady. If true, Fine needs castrated and put behind bars for the rest of his life.

Denny's picture

A joke, spread over three seasons? I'm shocked!


Denny's picture

When I heard Ross was returning to eligibility, my first reaction was this:



Is it Saturday Yet's picture

ESPN Urban officially accepts. Gray box at the ready!

tampa buckeye's picture

Bama isn't the only team with a shot at Lsu. The ducks gave them a game earlier in the year their offense is avg. At best. I cant wait for another classic 3 and out battle.
Its basketball season thankfully.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I was going to,mention Oergon playing LSU hard and giving the game away with stupid mistakes but then I remembered LSU not having all thier players available for that game.

3 Yards And A Cloud of Dust's picture

And a new day dawns....

Urban Meyer accepts Ohio State job news services

Former Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer has taken the head coaching job at Ohio State, his agent, Trace Armstrong, confirmed Monday morning.
Meyer had been working as a game analyst this season for ESPN. But Meyer requested off of his appearance this weekend as reports swirled of his imminent hire with the Buckeyes.
Sources told WKMG-TV in Orlando last week that Meyer would be introduced in coming days after agreeing to to a seven-year, $40 million deal.

baddogmaine's picture

In the Plain Dealer poll Fuke Fickell is getting a B because he "kept the team together and competitive though they should have won 1 or 2 more games." I'm sorry, but if the first year coach at one of the toughest jobs in  the country got a B then why is there almost universal acclaim now that he should be replaced? B is a really good if not perfect job, and there is no guarantee that anyone, even Urban Meyer, will get an A. A B? Really? For barely beating a MAC school? For getting blown out by a team that finished 3-5 in the ACC? for blowing a 21 point lead in the second half? for letting an intermural QB have one of his best days of the year (PSU)? for beating WIS, a good win, but needing a miraculous pass in the last 30 seconds because a 12 point lead had been squandered in the last four minutes - and even then still giving WIS a chance? for losing to Purdue and five other teams as well for a 6-6 record a year after the team went 12-1? If this was a B then what would a D look like? If a team went 6-6 but should have gone 8-4 or even 7-5 how does the leader of that team get a B? What other B1G coach would have done worse with these Buckeyes? So we beat Illinois - so did Jerry Kill!

C'mon Buckeye fans, Luke's a nice guy and 100% loyal, but if that coaching job was a B then you're saying that grades at tOSU are completely meaningless.

Denny's picture

The Plain Dealer is the Harvard of polling places.

Also, Doug aside their OSU writers are crap. The commentariat is a bunch of mouth breathers.


baddogmaine's picture

The voting was not by the writers, it was by the fans.

Denny's picture

Then put zero stock in it. People are idiots - especially people who 'interact' with the PD online.


LouBuck35's picture

I'm sure he scored a B given the circumstances in which he took the job, how he carried himself and how he lead the team, regardless of the outcome on the field.  People are quick to forget that this year was a very unique circumstance that doesn't often happen.  Arguably your best player and head coach exit, your 2 best offensive players (remaining) are out 5 and 10 games respectively, I mean come on now.  We all heard the reports early in the season that there was "mutiny brewing" and Luke was "losing the locker room".  I would tend to think that if you read the players post game comments from this past weekend that you would take away that these players would take a bullet for Luke.  He was put in a tough spot, a spot he probably wasn't ready for yet in his career - and he did the best he could.  So yes, normally a 6-6 record at tOSU isn't going to give you a B grade, but in this scenario, I'll give him a pass on the overall score.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

baddogmaine's picture

Erin Andrews  could have achieved the same result. Don't you agree? You don't think the team would have taken bullets for her? Other than Whiskey what win would we have lost had Andrews been coach? I'm exagerating but you get my point - our results were not because of Fickell but they may have been despite him. Are you sayting that Buckeyes minus TP and Posey are worse than Purdue? Are you really saying that the difference between us and the Boilermakers is just two players?????

Job performance is measured against what the job required. If you think in a normal year Luke could lead us to glory then start an effort to save the big bucks going to Meyer.The State of Ohio is not so flush that it doesn't need a few more academic scholarships at its flagship university. I think that degree of difficulty aside Fickell had too little insight into how an offense should be run, did too little with the defense he supposedly does know how to run, and made in-game decisions that people who follow the sport knew at the time were questionable at best. If Fickell is the soul of Buckeye football then give him a position that will keep him in that capacity, but please give the job of nuts-and-bolts to someone better prepared to carry it out.

"Best he could" has nothing to do with the grade you get. When I take graduate level math classes having not completed my undergrad I will do the best I can but likely will deserve my F. If the best he could do was 6-6 with better players available to him than most B1G schools have, including a loss to Purdue, then his best was not good enough for a passing grade.

LouBuck35's picture

You won't find any argument from me on any of your points.  I agree with all of them.  My whole point of the response is to "justify" the results of a poll of fans from the Plain Dealer.  I'm not getting into why he shouldn't have his job anymore, I think everything is pretty well laid out at this point.  I wouldn't give him a B.  I'm just saying that the poll was likely heavily influenced by people's feelings, far more subjective than objective.

On the field of play, there are no excuses as to why we lost the games we did, other than poor coaching and poor execution.  Talent is superior to the rest of the league, especially Purdue.  No denying the team came out flat, a lot.  That goes directly to the coaches. 

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

BuddhaBuck's picture

All I know is that Urban won't be calling for a spike on 3rd down.

Don't text while driving.

Baroclinicity's picture

Couldn't disagree more.  You totally ignore the state of the program that he took over.  Complete disarray.  I heard on more than one account that Fickell had all the respect in the world in the locker room, and he kept the team together.  Nobody is jumping ship.  Recruiting is still strong.  In terms of winning games, it was a lost season from the get-go.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

flipbuckeye's picture

In terms of winning games, it was a lost season from the get-go.

Completely disagree with that. Are you saying no one else in his position would have won more games? We can only use the state of the program as a valid excuse so much but when it comes down to it, that has no bearing on some of the mindboggling coaching decisions he's made this year. The fact is, the guy couldn't coach his team up against bad teams and he consistently made poor, costly in-game decisions. His players, together as one as they may be, lacked discipline. His "the best 11 play" mantra was nothing but coachspeak when you look at what it took and how long it took to get our best offensive player (Miller) and defensive player (Shazier) on the field. I know some of this falls on the coaching staff as a whole, but he's the man at the top.

We can give him credit for keeping the team together and not letting anything get too out of hound, but let's not ignore the fact that this could have been a 9 or 10 win season with an even marginally better coach, even with the off-the-field issues. Most of our losses were very winnable games, and better coaching would've made the difference.

In my opinion, he gets a C, AT BEST.

Baroclinicity's picture

Sure, but with the results that are now expected of this team given the last decade of success, even an 8-4 year would have been unsuccessful to some people.  10 wins?  Unrealistic, at best.  The coach got fired (basically) and our offensive identity through that coach was lost, we were in the spotlight in a highly negative light for the better part of a year... this wasn't your standard rebuilding year that comes along every so often where you can count on the plug and chug.  The numbers of players lost from graduation alone on defense were huge, and the offense without Pryor, Herron, Posey, and Adams, nevermind the graduation of Dane... how, in your right mind, could you expect 10 wins?  I agree some the of the coaching decisions were not good.  But there are so many factors in play other than the ones you list, and it's not fair to judge based solely on the on-field performances.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

flipbuckeye's picture

I never said I expected 10 wins. I would've been more than happy with an 8-4 record given the circumstances. I'm talking about what we know now, after watching the games play out. Among all six of our losses, how many of those games could we have won, but crucial coaching blunders (lack of discipline, lack of adjustment, bad playcalls, poor clock management) directly or indirectly did us in? Nebraska, Purdue, Penn State, and Michigan.  All games we were within one score of winning.  All games where most of us were left scratching our heads at the decision making and the plays called (and not called).

I am not judging based solely on on-field performances. If I was, I would truthfully grade lower than a C. I give him all the credit in the world for maintaining sanity in the locker room, he was excellent in that regard, but again, all the off-the-field issues have zero bearing on calling a timeout at the right time, or getting your players up for road games, or knowing when to bench a QB that can't stop throwing 5 rows deep. 

Baroclinicity's picture

I think we just have a different frame of reference from which we are grading Fickell's job.  I do agree that if we look at the game decisions, adjustments, etc... yeah, the grade is likely not very good.  I think the job goes far beyond that, and the good he did behind the scenes outweighs the game management overall in this particular year.  This isn't clear cut, black and white.  I think most would agree, that while Fickell isn't ready to be the head coach, he did a pretty good job all things considered.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

flipbuckeye's picture

You're right. The good news is Fickell may be rewarded after all of this.

10TV reporting Fickell will stay on staff...

Hoody Wayes's picture

Breaking: Meyer Accepts Ohio State HCJ (ESPN)

Urban Meyer Agrees To Ohio State Coaching Deal, According To Agent

Urban Meyer has agreed to become the next coach of the Ohio St. Buckeyes, reports his agent, Trace Armstrong. The reported timeline all along, according to multiple outlets, had been for Meyer to show himself as the school's next coach shortly after the Michigan game. That game was Saturday, in case you're just now joining us.

Buckeye06's picture

It wasn't just the wins and losses.  It was the circumstances and his way of handling it.  He won some games he should have lost and likewise the other way.

The team played hard in the game saturday, and came up short.  We were a few plays away from a 9 win year, and 1 away from 5 wins. 

Would you say Fickell did a better job than Mack Brown? or Al Golden? Or Gene Chizik?  He more than handled himself adequately with a team that really wasn't that experienced top to bottom. 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

If you hit reply at the bottom of that post it works a lil' better. I agree with most of your response, but some only see it as wins and losses and you can't really argue against that. I really like Fick but he had more talent than every team he played. I think he gets an A for making the kids his priority, but a D for how the team performed on the field.

baddogmaine's picture

Other than Whiskey what did Luke win that "should" have been lost? IL looked good at the time but it was the start of six in a row for the Zookers, including MINN. In retrospect we should have won that more handily. And we lost to Purdue. And came within 17 yards of losing to Toledo.

We did play hard on Saturday. We quit against Nebraska, sleepwalked against IN and PUR, gave PSU one of its best offensive showings of the year, and for all our effort were completely unprepared for scUM's offense. We were shut out by MSU until Bauserman got us a TD with ten seconds left. Jerry Kill (MINN) is an inspirational leader - seizure and sticks with the team, and gets wins at the end against IA and IL. We can get a Jerry Kill for a LOT less oney than Meyer will cost us. The reality is that OSU fans do not want just someone players will follow into battle - they want someone who gives us a chance to win those battles.

Mack Brown was in a tougher conference and has a ring on his finger. Ditto for Chizek. Golden had a bad year - but beat Luke Fickell.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I hope, I hope, I hope this is the last Fickell-hate comment I read from you Baddog. Because I'm really tired as hell of your diatribes.

Looks like Meyer is going to be named HC today. A reasonable person would probably come to the conclusion that "You know what... maybe it's time that I moved on. Maybe I shouldn't dwell on the past. Get hopeful about the future." Or something like that. A reasonable person might do that. But I suspect you're not even close to that point.

Tressel was right. I feel sorry for how miserable you must be.

slippy's picture

Oklahoma St still has a good chance to make the title game.  They're close behind Bama now, and will move up at least one spot in the polls once VT loses.  Playing and beating Oklahoma (obviously not a given) should move them over Bama in the computers.  There's a chance they'll also jump at least Stanford in the polls if not Bama as well.  So don't be surprised to see the Pokes do it.


Which works out double.  That probably means an Alabama - Michigan slaughter in the Sugar bowl.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Oklahoma States offense should be able to at least put some points on LSU. I would watch that game and hope for crazy coaching moments from both sides.

DJ Byrnes's picture

I would LOVE to watch Michigan get stomped in by Alabama.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

AltaBuck's picture

Nard wouldn't last past the 1st quarter if that match-up happens.

I am Groot - Groot

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

I think Ok St is going to score big in the computers with Bama being idle. If Oklahoma State wins this weekend, they'll have scored five victories over BCS Top 25 teams (#10 Oklahoma, #11 Kansas State, #17 Baylor, #22 Texas, and #25 Missouri). Alabama will only have two such victories (#8 Arkansas, #21 Penn State). For the record, LSU has beaten four teams in the Top 25 of the BCS.

I would argue Oklahoma State's body of work is a little more impressive and deserve's a title shot over Bama. The Crimson Tide had their chance on their home turf. Time for the Cowboys.

Scott's picture

If there is any consolation from this weekend it's that Michigan had to score 40 to beat one of the least successful Buckeye teams in a decade. Oh well. Rivalry renewed. Looking forward to next year.

Class of 2008

BuddhaBuck's picture

Fortune Cookie bullets:

  • SAT question: If Bernie Fine is to Jerry Sandusky, is Jim Boeheim to Joe Paterno?
  • Shocked that Dickie V didn't refer to LaQuinton as a diaper dandy in his tweet.
  • Still stewing over the lack of yellow flags being throw in the general direction of Brady Hoke.
  • What's the over/under on 4-5* recruits verballing to tOSU before Christmas?
  • Like many others, I will boycott the BCS title game if it's LSU v. 'Bama Part Deux. How convenient that it will be another LSU home game.... (a la 2008). 

Don't text while driving.

Nappy's picture

Unneccessary fatness should be a thing.  Hoke would be ejected from every game.

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

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Can't believe local news covers Meyer but not kids camping to watch Bucks BBall.

Bucksfan's picture

A loss is a loss in this rivalry.  I've heard a lot made out of the fact that Michigan didn't beat the spread against a terrible Ohio State team, but no one mentions that spreads in this rivalry are meaningless!  It should be a close game, no matter the records.

btalbert25's picture

Seems to me it's Tressel's legacy that kept the team together more than anything else.  Those upperclassmen who spent 3 or 4 years Tressel's locker room wouldn't have let the team fall apart.  You could tell in the off season with comments by guys like Simon and Brewster that they were going to keep the locker room in order.

It's really impossible to grade Fickell's job in my opinion.  He took a job that he knew he was not likely to succeed in.  He gave it his best shot and the team struggled through the year.  I guess what I'm saying is, pat him on the back, shake his hand, tell him thank you we really appreciate what you did, and best of luck to you.  He didn't do a great job, but it would've taken a coach like Tressel or Meyer to have done any better with this team this year.

So I won't give him an A or F.  To be quite honest I thought at best this was a 3 loss team and 5 or 6 losses were probably somewhere in the wheel house for this team.  So being that they met my expectations and were pretty average If I were forced to give him a grade I'd say C.

btalbert25's picture

On a totally unrelated note, looks like there will be no contest for this week's Houndie.

OSUNeedles's picture

Yep... It appears as though Beanie still gets up for Michigan week...

BooneBuckeye's picture

Your in Columbus Ohio, where Basketball (no matter how awesome it is and it is awesome), is something to do until Spring Football. Seems kind of natural to me.

I've tried and I just don't give a d@mn for the whole state of M*chigan.