Thursday Skull Session

By Jeremy Birmingham on December 1, 2011 at 6:00a

Welcome to Thursday and welcome to December folks. You may all commence with the removal of copious amounts of facial hair.

I assume since most of you are Buckeye fans like I am, that you're have a wonderful week. Now, I don't want to go making a big deal out of nothing, but it appears the sun has finally decided to shine on Ohio State again.

It's a bit of an odd feeling to be so happy and optimistic regarding Ohio State football four days after losing to Michigan and finishing the regular season with a 6-6 record, but hiring of Urban Meyer seems to have had a "neuralyzing" effect on the memories of Buckeye fans.

Then of course, we have the basketball program. It's a team that might be the most talented roster in school history top to bottom, and the Schott was alive like never before as Ohio State opened up a can against Duke Tuesday night.

After a year that has tested the patience and ferocity of even the most dyed-in-the-wool Buckeye fans, it finally feels pretty darn good to be a Buckeye again.

BIG TEN POM POMS FROM KEN POM. If you're a college basketball fan, chances are you are familiar with the work of Ken Pomeroy. If you're not, head on over to and take a gander at the most extensive statistical analyis of college hoops anywhere.

If you're lazy and don't want to head to his site, then chew on this: Pomeroy is essentially the Bill James of college basketball, giving fans the real "scoop" on which teams are the stuff, and which are the fluff.

After Michigan State clinched the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the good guys, Pomeroy laid it out there for roundball observers, asserting his well-educated opinion that the B1G is the premiere conference in college basketball today.

As Wednesday evening concluded, the Big Ten had out-gunned the ACC 8-4, although the ACC did capture the "other" signature win of the challenge after North Carolina escaped Wisconsin in the final game of the event. Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota and Penn State all joined Ohio State in the winner's circle.

Buckeye fans are likely pretty stoked after the beatdown of the Blue Devils, and next Saturday's trip to Lawrence to face Kansas should provide an even greater insight as to what to expect as Ohio State prepares itself to make a run through the best conference in the country.

BRAX TO THE FUTURE. After he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and with the knowledge that he will be working under Urban Meyer for the foreseeable future, Buckeye fans have to be foaming at the mouth thinking about how Braxton Miller will explode over the next few years. What exactly to expect, that is where the picture gets a bit murkier.

Is it completely insane to expect Miller to produce numbers similar to Tim Tebow? What about Troy Smith circa 2006? Will the Buckeyes stockpile of bigger running backs, a luxury that Urban didn't always have at Florida, change the approach that the offense will take in 2012 and beyond?

Despite his inefficiency throwing the ball at times this season, Meyer is convinced that Miller is a capable quarterback - as in complete quarterback - and that he will be as valuable a threat for the Buckeyes in the pocket as he is out.

“I like the way he throws. I like his delivery. I think he’s a ridiculous athlete."

“We’ll have some great conversation throughout spring practice and after spring. But I’m just real excited."

“I think he could be special.

It's obvious that Meyer is a Braxton Miller fan. How that plays out in Columbus is dependent on the evolution of Miller as a passer, not just a play-maker.

Tim Tebow's offense at Florida came on the heels of Chris Leak's career 140.1 passer rating and propensity for turnovers (11 or more interceptions in three of his four seasons at UF). In Miller's first season at Ohio State, in walrusball, Braxton struggled but still had a 133.6 rating and only getting picked off four times.

Meyer no doubt knew that Tebow was best used as a bull in a china shop, and despite how talented Miller is on the move, I think Urban will make it a point to take advantage of his entire bag of tricks.

Urban pointing out a tear in Brady Hoke's pants

DON'T WANT TO PISS IN MY CORNFLAKES. I am on record, and have been for months on this site and others proclaiming my desire for Urban Meyer to take over the reins at Ohio State, as I thought no other candidate matched him in competitive fire, credentials, personality, knowledge of Ohio State, recruiting chops, and just the right blend of good midwestern boy and pure evil incarnate.

Now that my almost obsessive fascination has become a fascinating reality, I wonder if many of you have had to do a bit of the ol' "pinching yourself" as I have.

It's easy to look at the things Urban has accomplished in his career, from BG to Florida, and to see the tsunami he's created in the recruiting waters, and be overcome with optimism. It's easy to give in to the belief that Ohio State will not only maintain the level of play we've become accustomed to, but they could likely exceed it.

Pinch yourself again, if you need to.

The ten-year run that we as Buckeye fans have experienced under Jim Tressel is not one of the best in Buckeye history, but in any school's history. Jim Tressel won 82% of his games as the head coach at Ohio State, beat Michigan 9 out of 10 times, took the Buckeyes to 8 BCS bowl games and 3 BCS championship appearances. Ohio State finished ranked in the top five nationally 7 times in his ten years at the helm.

I have zero doubt that Urban Meyer is the 100% right choice to lead Ohio State for the next decade or more, but I hope that Buckeyes fans take a step back and realize not only how great we've had it, but also that it will likely never be that good again.

GIRLS CAN BALL TOO. A day after the men handled their business in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Buckeye ladies got a chance to showcase their team on the Big Ten network and to put their 5-0 record on the line against Florida State in Columbus. The 17th ranked Buckeyes found themselves in a tussle from start to finish, and even decided to play a few extra minutes of overtime before besting the Seminoles 78-75.

Ohio State was looking a loss squarely in the face, trailing 69-67, Ohio State's Tayler Hill weaved her way through the lane, going glass and getting a shot to fall with .3 seconds remaining in regulation. In OT, Hill once again paced the Buckeyes on her way to a career-best 31 points, and the Buckeyes were able to escape with the victory. The teams continued to compete post-buzzer, and nearly went to full-scale fisticuffs, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed.

In other ladies hoops news, Samantha Prahalis was named to the Naismith Award Watch List, given to the nation's best player.

THANK YOU TO YOU. Wanted to briefly say "thank you" from the #11W gang for an amazing month on the site. This past month was the busiest month in the history of the site, and without the gaggle of you guys and girls who have been here day in and day out, that would certainly not be the case. Yes, we've been fortunate to receive a lot of publicity lately, but we know who butters our bread: you do.

QUICK SLANTS. Steak House or Gay Bar? The best TV characters you never saw...Sorry for the TV fixation (I know that's Sarah's thing) - but here's my favorite person on TV right now...You know I used to be a cat person? That's true, go ahead, mock me....The world suddenly has a lot more Cougs fans.


Comments Show All Comments

beserkr29's picture

The fact that the pirate will be terrorizing the Pac-12 makes me endlessly happy.  Can't wait to see how they deal with his air raid.  Probably will win a conference title or two there.  Definitely will rack up the points in the "No D" league.

Buckeyejason's picture

Leach won't be winning shit at Washington State..not with Oregon's usual dominance, USC's re birth to greatness with Kiffin, and Stanford.

Leach Just won't get the recruits there to be a championship team.


cal3713's picture

Can we never mention greatness and Lane Kiffin in the same sentence again? 

Hoody Wayes's picture

Agreed. I think this may be a stepping stone for him. This guy is a great coach. 

madhatterhater's picture

I think he will do pretty well therer. He took Texas Tech to place they have never been before. I no Texas has more talent, but Leach just seems like a guy who just wins

go bucks

Riggins's picture

Words cannot express how happy I am that Leach is back in coaching.  If for no other reason than I get to see more awesome Leach press conferences.  See: Fat Little Girlfriends

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Is Samantha Prahalis still dating Evan Turner?

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

Olentangy's picture


also, saying this team is most talented is saying a lot considering the 07 team that featured Madsen, Twig, and Los Dos Amigos [Peters + Titus].

How firm thy friendship

Hoody Wayes's picture

"...saying this team is most talented is saying a lot considering..." these guys:

NC in 59-60. National runners-up in 60-61 and 61-62. Havilcek? Bobby Knight? And Ohio's most legendary high sxhool phenomenon, Jerry Lucas? Legends. 

Just because it happened before most of us were born, doesn't mean it didn't happen and doesn't change the fact that Buckeye hoops hasn't been within a country-mile of this kind of greatness, since.

Right now, I don't see the 2011-12 Buckeyes beating UNC, KY nor UCONN, on neutral courts.

Win the NC. Then, we can break out the Kool-Aid.



BTwrestle04's picture

UNLV beat UNC.... They are certainly beatable. 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

KY will lose to UNC IMO.

spqr2008's picture

That's a shame if they aren't.  I was expecting super Buckeye basketball babies 20-25 yrs from now.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Her game seems to have improved a bit this year.  I didn't watch Florida State but I watched a bit of LSU and she looked to have better control over her game.          

BTwrestle04's picture

Been reading and commenting since 2007. Keep it up guys!

buckeyedude's picture

I live in Toledo, and as I'm sure you all know, somehow, this city is split roughly 50/50(my personal observation) between OSU and TTUN fans. I work with maybe more TTUN fans than OSU fans, and they all hate Urban already, saying "I'm not scared." LOL.  This can only be a good sign.  And I have yet to meet a Buckeye fan that isn't jacked for the Urban era of Buckeye football.




ArTbkward's picture

They're just trying to convince themselves that they aren't scared because how could they possibly not be?  I certainly would be scared if I was a fan of any other B1G or Top 25 school.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

And the daily local paper may as well be renamed the Ann Arbor Blade for all their hero worship of the Wolverines and their Boy Wonder, who will be hard pressed to win 10 games again next year.


SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Gravy Hoke was on the Dan Patirck Show the other day. When asked how he felt about going up against Urban in recruiting/games/etc he said "not..... not good"



Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

buckeyechad's picture

thats awesome, wish i couldve seen that

Bucksfan's picture

I've said the phrase "pinching myself" all week.

You're right that Ohio State may never see that kind of success again as we saw with Tressel, but hopefully that's because the Big Ten won't be as bad as it was when Tressel was here.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

The Big Ten takes a commanding lead over all other conferences in Sagarin's latest basketball ratings:

So far, no one else is close. The Big Ten is far ahead and a pack of four conferences are tight, all within a half a point in their central mean. LOL Big East! The A-10 is right on their heals!