Thursday Skull Session

By Jeremy Birmingham on January 12, 2012 at 6:00a
33 Comments

Hey there everyone, welcome to your Thursday morning Skull Session.

The college football season is officially over and college basketball is providing Buckeye fans more angst and frustration than most of us would have expected. It's looking like 2012 didn't quite get the memo that 2011 was finished, and has decided to begin on as low of a sucky-note as 2011 finished.

Sure, we have the NFL play-offs to go through, but the only AFC North team left is one that most Buckeye fans can agree to hate. I suppose that some of you are masochistic enough to watch the regular seasons of the NBA and NHL, but I don't have the stomach to handle that. 

For me, it's a countdown to pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona to begin the "Year of the Reds". Yes, 2012 is the year of the Reds. We're going to party like it's 1990.

Anyway, enough rambling, man.

 DUMB-INIC CLARKE STRIKES AGAIN. Ohio State sophomore cornerback Dominic Clarke is once again in some trouble for poor decisions made on campus. If you recall, Clarke was suspended for Ohio State's 17-7 road win against Illinois after firing a BB gun outside of an on-campus restaurant in October. 

Yesterday, it was revealed that Clarke was stopped on January 7th by campus police for speeding; he was driving 35 in a 20mph zone, and for failing to provide proof of insurance. Unforunately for Dominic, that was not all, as he was also charged with operating a vehicle while impaired. The police report indicates that the arresting officer smelled "low-levels" of alcohol on Clarke's breath, and his license was taken away. He was previously stopped and paid $151 in fines for speeding last February.

What this means for Dominic and his place on the team is not yet determined, but with a new coaching staff looking to put their stamp on the roster, it's likely that Clarke's second run-in with the law will warrant some serious consideration by Meyer and his staff. With a lot of expected attrition, 

Clarke is scheduled to appear before a Magistrate this morning, and we'll update if there's any new revelations about his legal situation.

 IN OHIO? HATE MICHIGAN? SUPPORT THE PUCKEYES. Usually we reserve hockey talk for Around The Oval, but as the #2 Buckeyes ready themselves for this weekend's two-city showdown with TSUN, it seems appropriate to turn the focus back to the ice for a moment.

On Friday, the Buckeyes host Michigan at Value City Arena in a 7:35 Friday night tussle that will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. After a travel day Saturday, the two teams will give it another go on Sunday evening at 5:00pm at Progressive Field in Cleveland. As a part of the Indian's "Snow Days" festivities, the game will be played outdoors under the lights in what should be a very memorable experience for everyone who makes the trek.

#13 Michigan is currently in the midst of a seven game unbeaten streak, and have dominated the Buckeyes historically, owning a 68-33-11 mark against the Bucks. Ohio State swept Michigan in a two-game series in November, 2-1 and 6-5, and the last seven games between the two squads have been decided by one goal. 

It may be the only chance you ever get to see "Script Ohio" on a hockey rink in the middle of a baseball stadium in Cleveland, so there's that.

Last hockey note: you can help Ohio State's Cal Heeter as he attempts to win the Hobey Baker Award, given to the country's best collegiate hockey player. Heeter, Ohio State's senior goaltender is 12-2-3 on the year with a 2.02 GAA, good for ninth in the nation. He currently sits 4th nationally in save percentage (.932) and winning percentage (.794). You can help Heeter by voting here

Don't be scared - go buy tickets!

NEWTON'S THEORY OF D'UH DERPY DERP.   "We fixed...the glitch..." Poor Milton won't get his paycheck anymore.

After the NCAA so grievously erred in their decision to rule Cam Newton's "amateur" career at Auburn as rule-abiding, due in large part not to Newton's adherence to rules and regs but rather ridiculous loopholes, it was assumed that those loopholes would quickly be closed. 

That assumption became a reality yesterday, as the association tightened up their definitions of agents yesterday to include parents and other family members. It's a move that should have been made years ago but wasn't, and the NCAA's ignorance about the issue combined with a lack of subpoena power led to Newton's Heisman and Auburn's national title. 

ROAD WOES FOR BUCKEYE HOOPSTERS. Fear not, Buckeye fans, for not every Buckeye basketball game is played on the road.

Thankfully.

The now 15-3 Buckeyes are a dismal 2-3 on the road with losses at Kansas, Indiana and Illinois. Of course, life is often about how you look at it, and it makes it a bit easier to swallow when you consider that each of those teams is undefeated on their home court. 

Winning on the road has not only been a Buckeye problem this season, it's plagued much of the current top 25. In fact, the current top 25 is 60-34 on the road for the entire season, or 64%. When you look at how the current Top 25 has fared against ranked teams on the road, that winning percentage drops 30%. Only Michigan State has two road wins against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time of the game (Wisconsin and Gonzaga).

The Buckeyes next road trip will be to Lincoln, next Saturday for their second meeting of the year with Nebraska. If they lose that one, then put me firmly in the corner of "concerned about the inability to win on the road".

QUICK SLANTS. Some ideas are too incredible not to share... Tim Beckman finds a new OC from LSU... Russell Wilson says no to baseball... This should be something you enjoy... Pictures may be worth 1000 words, but they can also be very misleading.

33 Comments

Comments

German Buckeye's picture

LOL - The Nasty Boys have nasty rapping skills - like in none.  Love the video.  I was in the deserts of Saudi Arabia listening to AFN at 0300 when the Reds swept the A's...memories. 

btalbert25's picture

Paul O'neil sure looked like a natural trying to rap there.  I loved the Nasty Boys and had a characiture shirt with the 3 of them.  I was 9 years old when the Reds won and I've never been so happy or excited about one of my teams winning as I was when Todd Benzinger caught the final out.  I remember when they finally won running around the house jumping up and down, and yelling like a fool!  It was kind of like the commercial where the kid got the super nintendo and went nuts lol. Glad to hear there are some fellow Reds fans in the fold here!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

My best memory from that series was the Eric Davis 2R HR in the 1st inning of G1. It's easy to say, after the fact, that I knew the Reds would win the series the instant Davis hit that HR, but I really did feel that way at the time.

I also remember Billy Hatcher just going nuts in that series.

Nappy's picture

Pretty sure Hal Morris caught the final out.  Benzinger started that game tho.

Fan of bacon since 1981

GhostofWoody's picture

Benzinger caught the final out in foul territory.  Jose Rijo had an awesome series, too

Nappy's picture

You're right, I just looked it up.  Rijo did have an awesome series tho.  I'm excited for this season.  I only hope all the pitching moves that were made work out.

Fan of bacon since 1981

btalbert25's picture

Rijo got the MVP of the series right?  I think that was the same season he broke a bone and missed significant time sliding into a base.  He could've been a Cy Young candidate that year.  I loved that team in general.  Larkin, Davis, and Rijo are 3 of my all time favorite baseball players.

I'm really excited about the moves they've made this offseason.  Latos was a huge addition!  The bullpen has really been solidified and not with just good pieces, with great pieces.  Should be an exciting yet to be a Red's fan!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

What are the chances that Aroldis Chapman will become a dominant starting pitcher this year?

btalbert25's picture

I don't know, it's kind of a I'll believe it when I see it with him.  It's not his fault, the Reds have kind of mishandled him.  First he was going to be a starter, wasn't doing so hot in the minors and they made him a reliever.  I think they rushed him up to sell tickets, and it worked.  I was at the 2nd game he pitched in GABP, it wasn't a huge crowd, but man that guy toed the rubber and the stadium was buzzing.  You see it everywhere he goes, after he throws a pitch, especially over 100, the place goes nuts.

I think he'll be in AAA most of the year learning to start.  I think he needs to get his command down and add a 3rd pitch.  That fastball is unreal, his slider is very good, but not sure that's enough.  We'll see how he progresses.  I think the Reds dropped the ball though.  They could've let him develop as a starter the last 2 years and he would be ready coming into spring trainging this year. 

Should be interesting to see, I doubt we'll get much out of him this year, especially before the all star break.  Maybe in August/September he'll be great.  That's just my opinion.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Thanks, Albert. That was my feeling, too - that the Reds had mishandled him a bit.

Still, if he spends the first five months in AAA, shouldn't that be enough time to make him a good 4/5 starter down the stretch in September and maybe into the playoffs (knock on wood)?

I mean, they handled Homer Bailey about as well as could be expected (right?) and he's a mediocre 5th starter at best. Leake is better but doesn't seem very durable.   

btalbert25's picture

Yeah, truth be told, he probably is good enough to be a number 5 just on stuff alone. What worries me more than anything is his command. Just from watching him in relief he had games where he couldn't throw a strike  and failed to get 1 out.  I feel like time in AAA will do him well that way.

Bailey is an interesting case.  At times I feel like he is maybe a AAAA pitcher, ya know too good for AAA, but not quite MLB.  Then I see his stuff and realize how young he still is and think man, this guy still could be the real deal.  He was really young and immature when they brought him up.  Actually, I'm being pretty nice.  He was a Prima Donna and an A'hole.  He has grown up quite a bit that way but now keeps getting injured.  If he can make it through a season healthy(HUGE IF) I think he has the stuff to be a number 2 type of guy.  Add that to your 1 and 1A in Latos and Cueto and it's a really nice rotation. 

I love Leake, some of the missed starts and shutting him down early are by design so he doesn't throw too many innings.  Early in the year he had a couple of rough outings but overall he was pretty good last year.  He makes a great number 4 in my opinion. 

I think Arroyo will be much more like 2010 than 2011.  He had mono last year and I think his stubborness to never miss a start screwed his season.  Had he sat the first month out rested, got healthy, I think his season would've been much better. 

I know we were just talking about Chapman, but I'm really exicted for this rotation.  Glad Volquez is gone, not so glad Wood is gone, but he was a fly ball pitcher and that's not good for GABP anyway.  With the bullpen moves made and a healthy(fingers crossed) rotation I think the Reds win a lot of those one loss games that slipped away last year.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

That's good news - sounds like the rotation will be very solid even if Chapman doesn't make a big jump this year. No matter what (if everyone stays healthy), Arroyo is a better 3 than a 2, Leake is a better 4 than a 3, and Bailey is a better 5 than a 4. With what looks like an excellent bullpen and a great offense, the starters really only have to middle-of-the-league to make the team a legit contender. I'm excited, too.

btalbert25's picture

Should be interesting, this has been a fun offseason, at least they are making a run at trying for greatness, there haven't been too many years where they went out and really added a lot of quality players who are very good.  Someone once threw out the idea of having 11w reds outing.  Thought that would be pretty cool.  There's at least a lot of buzz around the team and that's good! 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm down with an 11W Reds outing. I'd have to travel, though, so would need maybe 1+ month advance notice of game date(s), etc.  

Doc's picture

NINE!?!?!?  Damn man you are young.  I was a sophomore at NKU(20yo).  My buddy and I watched the game at my house and then went down to Fountain Square.  There were hundreds of people down there celebrating .  Almost every car had someone hanging out of it with a broom.

"Say my name."

btalbert25's picture

I was in 4th grade and I had dreams of becoming a Red back then.  I loved that team so much, still do.  I waited in line for 2 hours to get an Eric Davis Bobble Head when they gave them away at Cinergy Field.  Jose Rijo was on a flight when I worked at Comair and I about lost it lol.  I'd love to meet Larkin sometime too, but have never had the opportuntity.

When you look back on that team it was such a great mix of tremendous talents, intense players, hard workers and unique personalities.  My dad always talked about the Big Red Machine, I wasn't around for that, so the 90 reds were and have always been my Big Red Machine.

nickma71's picture

Not only are the two teams undefeated at home, Indiana and Kansas are very good. Good luck to them in C-bus.

BuddhaBuck's picture

What are the chances that the agent rule will be retroactive; effective beginning in say, 2008?

Also, would someone please check The WB's stats on the road? It seems like he becomes a turnover-freak with a low shooting % when the pressure is on.  Jekyll at home and Hyde on the road.

Don't text while driving.

cplunk's picture

Could the recent rumors of an offer to Armani Reeves be a case of the staff really wanting Cam Williams and simultaneously deciding Dominic Clarke needs to go? Easy way to offer Reeves without taking up a free scholarship (give him Clarke's) and keeps the CB numbers the same, while giving an added plus to the Williams efforts. I do love my conspiracy-type theories.

bassplayer7770's picture

There are other possible CBs who have recently been offered, so it's possible it's because of the Clarke incidence.  We will have to wait and see...

KJHILL42's picture

I will be catching the Reds at spring training, they should be primed to have a good year. They are my little bro's team so i said we could watch them once, but the rest of the trip (I paid) is for the Tribe who I hope continues to improve with their young talent. Good time to be a fan of Ohio baseball. 

AcrossTheField11's picture

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

DowntheSideline12's picture

I have a feeling Laporta is going to have a pretty clutch year

Greg Jennings "I put my team on my back"

KJHILL42's picture

Yeah, unfortunately most of that clutch season will be in Columbus. He has zero plate discipline. 

BuckeyeEd's picture

Just guessing Urban's Dog House will probably be worse that JT's....Time to set an example. Best of luck Mr. Clarke.

ArTbkward's picture

I didn't know they were doing Script Ohio on the ice, now I'm even more excited to go.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...
(Also, I'm not a dude)

Brutus's picture

Funny. Just last night I posted some stats about how the top ten ranked teams have fared on the road. Of the 8 teams with losses in the top ten, all but one of those losses came on the road or at a neutral site (I think KU has the lone home loss but don't quote me). I'm not saying our losses are better than anyone else's, but winning on the road against good teams is tough, as Jeremy just pointed out. We expect more from the Buckeyes, well, because we always expect more, but I don't think we've seen enough to warrant full-on panic-mode yet.

Regarding Meyer and discipline, I think his track record of players run-ins with the law is well documented. I have no idea how Meyer disciplined the 30+ arrests he had during his tenure at Florida, but when I was on the outside looking, my perception was that he was always too lax. Admittedly, I hated Meyer and Florida at the time so I was biased. I don't expect Meyer to suddenly get Draconian, but if he does so to set the tone of the new regime, so be it. That said, I don't think he will. Clarke f-ed up, but I don't think he deserves to be kicked off the team for this. I would love to have a team with a squeaky clean image again, but any collection of 100 18-21 year olds is going to have a few shitheads. I have no problem with Meyer making an example of him, but I don't think it will happen.

Squirrel Master's picture

regarding the basketball team, its not so much the loses on the road as much as how its happened.

I am concerned, because they play very sloppy and if the opposing team finds a way to defend them there are no other options. At least I don't see Matta having any options to make a correction. It just looks like the major difference from last year is when they run into adversity they can't seem to overcome it.

I am not concerned, because those loses each had a negative factor and the buckeyes had double digit leads at some point in all of them. Look at Kansas, no sullinger. Even if the buckeyes can compete talent wise they were not ready or prepared for it. Look at Indiana, probably the worst reffing I have seen all year in a ball game. Plus Ind made their run with Sully on the bench with fouls. Look at Illinois, just like last year with Wisconsin they had a player play out of his mind in a game that normally would not happen, especially at the Schott. Paul just could not miss and its hard to win when a player is hitting fall away 3's with hands in his face. All can be explained.

I am concerned, because WB is not figuring out how to be consistant on offense. Too many mistakes. but he is a senior leader and must be on floor.

I am not concerned, because some of the bench is getting minutes that can help later in the year. I see some players stepping up which may be detrimental now but can be useful hopefully soon. I like the progression of Sam Thompson he just needs to be more assertive other than dunking lobs. maybe develop an outside shot.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Brutus's picture

Funny. Just last night I posted some stats about how the top ten ranked teams have fared on the road. Of the 8 teams with losses in the top ten, all but one of those losses came on the road or at a neutral site (I think KU has the lone home loss but don't quote me). I'm not saying our losses are better than anyone else's, but winning on the road against good teams is tough, as Jeremy just pointed out. We expect more from the Buckeyes, well, because we always expect more, but I don't think we've seen enough to warrant full-on panic-mode yet.

Regarding Meyer and discipline, I think his track record of players run-ins with the law is well documented. I have no idea how Meyer disciplined the 30+ arrests he had during his tenure at Florida, but when I was on the outside looking, my perception was that he was always too lax. Admittedly, I hated Meyer and Florida at the time so I was biased. I don't expect Meyer to suddenly get Draconian, but if he does so to set the tone of the new regime, so be it. That said, I don't think he will. Clarke f-ed up, but I don't think he deserves to be kicked off the team for this. I would love to have a team with a squeaky clean image again, but any collection of 100 18-21 year olds is going to have a few shitheads. I have no problem with Meyer making an example of him, but I don't think it will happen.

(Edit: sorry for the double post. Got a little itchy with the blackberry roller ball)

btalbert25's picture

I can agree about the discipline, but it's not exactly as if JT ruled with an iron fist when his guys got arrested either.  With Clarke being a repeat offender now, he may actually come down hard on him to set an example.  I also think it may have something to do with what role the guy is going to play on Meyer's team.  With the numbers being tight on scholarships, and coach potentially landing all this excellent talent, I would think the players would be toeing the line a bit.  If Meyer needs that scholarship to bring in an extra player on this class, he'll probably come down hard on Clarke. 

Irricoir's picture

Sounds dangerously close to oversigning. Not sure I like that mentality. I would be disappointed if he got rid of D. Clarke for any reason other than setting the example. Making room for another recruit is something I despise and makes me think Nick Saban when I hear it mentioned. D. Clarke looked outstanding early last year but so did T. Moeller, the year before. I don't know that he should be kicked off the team for this but he certainly needs to be given discipline and this is the final straw speech. I am very stern when it comes to expectations for players conduct but in this case, I don't see it as being bad enough, specifically if he didn't even blow over.08. Laws and rules were broken but it doesn't appear that he was inebriated beyond the ability to control his vehicle. I run stop signs and speed at least once every couple of months. Not sure alcohol was required to make him do that. It certainly is circumstantial evidence. 

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

btalbert25's picture

Surprised you are so accepting of his insignificant law breaking since you usually are a big advocate of wrong is wrong, and laws are in place for a reason etc. Especially since this is his 2nd run in with the law in 3 months. Don't do stupid shit, or if you know you are under 21 and can't have any alcohol in your system and drive, don't drive with alcohol in your system.  Is it enough to kick a guy off a team?  Probably not, but I at least put enough heat on the kid he thinks his ass could go. Maybe he would stop and think next time he wants to do something that could get him in trouble.

 

gunni070's picture

You had me at meat tornado