Wednesday Skull Session

By Sarah on January 25, 2012 at 6:00a

G'day, mates, especially Criss Angel Mindfreak, Siri, Bagger Vance, Grima Wormtongue, Roscoe the super-intelligent ferret1, Chuck Todd, and a roll of quarters. It's the last Wednesday of January, so celebrate accordingly.

If anyone wishes to commemorate such a momentous occasion in a non-traditional way, I have a couple 11W-based suggestions for you.

We are less than three months away from the Spring Game, and since we'd ideally like to hire a full-time beat writer by that time, we'll accept any amount you're willing to give, even if it's a roll of quarters.

Secondly, if any long-time, or first-time, listeners of the Dubcast have any questions for Luke and Johnny, email them to So, whether you want to know where they fall on the Sam Thompson vs. J.D. Weatherspoon dunk debate, or if they think another Ohio State football player can possibly best Philly Brown's Twitter game, or what their opinions are on how Leslie Knope is running her city council campaign against Bobby Newport, then hit them up. They'll tackle any subject as long as it's borderline appropriate. 

A MATTA OF FACT. Despite already dropping two conference games, the Ohio State men's basketball team is on a bit of a mini-roll after shellacking Indiana and Nebraska. They're currently #1 in both the Sagarin and KenPom ratings, thanks in part to their 22-point average margin of victory, which tops the nation.

While 14 of their wins have come by 20 or more points, in single digit games, Ohio State is only 2-3. The Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises points out that even though their strength of schedule is ranked #37, right now it's only the seventh hardest in the Big Ten. Michigan State, with the third strongest in the country, leads the conference. 

Matta has tried to warn his squad not to become too complacent because of these blowouts. According to him, "The major goal of every game is trying to get our guys to understand possession by possession, for 40 minutes, do your job. But human nature is also to relax. With who we have remaining on our schedule, if you relax, you could be in trouble."

After they host Penn State tonight, the rest of the Buckeyes' schedule is pretty brutal, including two games a piece against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State, as well as road trips to Minnesota and Northwestern. The Badgers have been uncharacteristically vulnerable this season at home, but the Kohl Center has proven to be the most inhospitable environment for the Scarlet and Gray. And recent success in the state of Michigan aside, Ohio State will have their hands full with the Spartans and Wolverines, both of whom are hanging atop the Big Ten standings with the Bucks.

JUST ANOTHER MAD, MAD DAY ON THE ROAD. It's unclear at this point who will end up as B1G champs, but more than ever, it will come down to who can steal a couple of games on the road. Last night, Michigan finally got their first real road victory by edging Purdue in West Lafayette, and they have to follow that up with a visit to Columbus on Sunday.

Minnesota, after starting league play with an 0-4 record, has won three in a row, including two on the road. Over this period, they've been playing more efficient ball than everyone but Ohio State. Wisconsin, who began the month with a 1-3 Big Ten record, has reeled off four straight victories. Partly due to the hot streak Jordan Taylor is on, the Badgers finally look like they're gelling. 

Jason King and Mike Huguenin both believe the muddled race is the result of parity, which Illinois coach Bruce Weber backs up, stating, "You've got a very balanced league, you've got to bring your game, you've got to play. Your main guys have got to play and be consistent if you're going to have success, and you can't have any off days." 

In non-conference action, the Big Ten claims the highest winning percentage (.802). It also has the best conference RPI and boasts three of KenPom's top four teams and eight of Sagarin's top 45. 

Still does not give a damn for the whole state of MichiganPreparing for fisticuffs

ONCE A BUCKEYE, ALWAYS A BUCKEYE. Practice for this Saturday's Senior Bowl has begun, and the lively clashes between North teammates Mike Brewster and Mike Martin, a DT from Michigan, have gotten plenty of attention. The Houston Chronicle's Lance Zierlein detailed that one play unfolded with "Brewster not only holding his ground, but also getting in Martin's face and shoving him after the rep was finished."

However, each told's Simon Samano that it's not personal. Instead, their aggression and competitiveness developed from lining up against one another for four years in The Game. Even though Brewster didn't have the ending to his Ohio State career that we all envisioned, you can never question his inner Buckeye. 

Meanwhile, DeVier Posey is looking to impress NFL scouts after missing almost his entire senior season. He didn't expect an invitation to the Senior Bowl, but he plans to use the experience as a way to show how he's matured. As he told Matt Florjancic from

"To be able to lead, you have to serve first," Posey said. "I feel like being on scout team, helping the younger guys and being in the meeting room and telling them the little tips that I have allowed me to understand the game more and it humbled me as well. That's what I needed going into this process and going to the next level. Through this process, everything you hear is what you can't do and everyone's tearing you down. Going through the draft, you're going to hear a lot of negative things and then, when you get into camp as well, you have to be humble as well. You have to serve the team and show them you can play. I felt like I learned all those lessons this past year."

In addition, Mike Adams has been receiving good reviews out of practice, with SI's Tony Pauline noting his mobility and Wes Bunting calling him a potential top 20 draft selection.

ROOTING INTEREST. For some of us, the deciding factor in who to cheer for in the Super Bowl comes down to which team is represented by more former OSU players. This year, with Jake Ballard and Jim Cordle on the roster, the New York Giants win that battle, 2-0, over the Patriots.

If you can't stand the thought of backing the Giants for one reason or another, former linebacker Pepper Johnson is New England's defensive line coach. And though Bill Belichick is a name that rhymes with Belichick2, he happens to be a huge Ohio State supporter, too. Not only is his daughter Amanda an assistant coach for the women's lacrosse team, but he's also close friends with Urban Meyer and Mike Vrabel. 

Overall, 23 former Big Ten players will suit up for Super Bowl XLVI, with 15 on the Giants' sideline and 8 on the Patriots'. That ties the SEC for the most of any conference. 

SHE HAS NO IDEA WHAT SHE'S DOING IN COLLEGE. Laura Pappano wrote an article titled "How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life", using Ohio State as one of her examples of a school whose identity is wrapped in its athletic image, often to the frustration of the academics who work there. Salaries for coaches are growing exponentially more than they are for professors, but even as athletic departments spend more money, they also bring in more money.

While the increase of college sports on television and online contributes to their steady rise in popularity, TV can also dictate game schedules. Students, sometimes with the encouragement of the university, camp out for big games and miss classes in the process. Pappano cites studies that suggest grades decline when a school's teams perform better, and yet, colleges use athletics as a selling point for prospective students.

One needs to look no further than Joe Paterno to see what happens when a sports figure becomes the face of a university. However, sports are also a way to bond and feel a sense of community3, especially for young people away from home. For many, attending games is part of the whole college experience. Education may be the main purpose of going to college, but it doesn't mean athletics can't, or shouldn't, be enjoyed. They're not mutually exclusive entities. The key is finding a certain amount of equilibrium4.  

THE LINK PANTHER. Joe Posnanski reflects on Paterno's last days... An Op-Ed on Ryan Boatright's ineligibility... Billy Cundiff's week gets worse... You're a Creep, Charlie Brown... Bon Joviver... Puppy Paws... Need a Valentine's Day gift idea?... Nothing is written in stone

  • 1 1.5 times as intelligent as a normal ferret, so like a dumb raccoon
  • 2 A hint: it starts with a 'd'
  • 3 Six seasons and a movie!
  • 4 Says someone who schedules her plans around Ohio State games. 

Comments Show All Comments

nickma71's picture

Belicheat is a moron. Cheating doesn't make you smarter. It just means you stole the answers to the test. The day he comes out and says he was in the wrong for cutting Kosar who changed his bad play calls is the day I don't think so low of him.

RBuck's picture

I've also hated Belichick ever since the Kosar thing. That a-hole tried his best to get Bernie hurt by sending him out on naked bootlegs while Kosar was playing on a boken ankle.

Long live the southend.

cbusbuckeye's picture

Someones bitter....Belichick and Brady's success speaks for itself. Morons don't continually win the way the Patriots do. Rex Ryan = Moron

Baroclinicity's picture

Belichick is an amazing coach.  It just took railroading the Browns into the ground as his learning process to get him there. 

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

cronimi's picture

Good morning, Sarah. I see you're sharing a brain trust with Stephen Colbert. Maybe you could steer some of that sweet SuperPAC money to the Respect the Basement project....

Poison nuts's picture

Tattoos or not, I am and always will be a huge Posey fan. I hope the guy gets to the next level & excels beyond anyones expectations. He has all the tools to do so.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

cplunk's picture

I feel like a normal ferret is smarter than a raccoon. I don't have any SAT scores or IQ test stats to back up my claim though. I'm 100% certain ferrets have a higher EQ, regardless of their Myers-Briggs type.

spqr2008's picture

How do I reach these Kids!

NeARBuckeye's picture

I read ESPN's report of the Senior Bowl practices and they've been saying that Brewster is getting his ass handed to him. It's hard to imagine that when other sports reporters are saying his battles in the trench have been fun to watch.

blazers34's picture

wes bunting (i think) tweeted that he was dominating mike martin

awwwwwwop's picture

Anybody else watching Senior Bowl Practice? Adams looks terrible, Herron has had some really good runs.  The quarterbacks haven't really gotten any time to throw the ball to see Posey's skills.  Adams has been moved back and forth from LT to RT.  Brewster has had the best of the snaps so far, but is still struggling with the shotgun like he did all season.  Adams either gets burned or holds.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Everything I've heard from the NFL scouts has been that Adams has looked great and is really improving his draft stock. But then again I haven't been watching the practices personally. 

awwwwwwop's picture

Yea. this is only from what I have been watching today (a very very small sample size) but he has looked really bad IMO. He just looks like he can't keep up with NFL ready D-ends.  I shudder to think what JPP, Tuck, or Freeny could do to him.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Bummer to hear. Even as a Tat-5 guy, I want him to do well at the next level. 

awwwwwwop's picture

For sure.  Hopefully this is just an off day.  More practice is on later on the NFL network at 5:30 if people want to check it out. Just nice when you see posey, herron, brew, and adams on the field at the same time. 4/11 on the offense isn't too bad.

Edit:  It is the South's offensive practice, so nothing there if you are only going to watch the Bucks.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

The_Lurker's picture

Mike McShay just tweeted Adams does almost everything well and is the best OT on the North squad. He said he only wishes Adams had more killer instinct and kept his feet moving after contact more. Most of the other scouts say he's Top 20 overall pick material. They're obviously seeing something you're not. Not surprised they're moving him around. They want to see what he can do. Versatility in the NFL is a must for linemen.

awwwwwwop's picture

yea I am no scout. His initial step and contact are good.  Maybe the qbs are taking too long to get rid of the ball and thats why it looks bad.  Like I said, it was a very small sample, but he tackled a guy on one play and another one his only play was to push the guy in the back he was so far behind.

Edit:  Mcshay Also just said Adams fits better on the left side fwiw

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

The_Lurker's picture

Ooops, I was wrong. McShay didn't say Adams was best OT on the North. He said he was the best OL on the North, so...even better.

rampageripster's picture

My schedule as an undergrad focused around the football and volleyball teams... I graduated in 4 years with two bachelors degrees and currently have a 4.0 in my masters program on a fast track to a PhD in biology... this laura chick can kiss my science buckeye butt

Cause I couldn't go for three

Squirrel Master's picture

as written on a football based website! lol

just kidding, OSU has proven time and time again it is more than just a footbal school.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

onetwentyeight's picture

Was going to say the same thing. I know friends of mine who had scholarships to "better" schools academically but purposely chose to go to Ohio State SPECIFICALLY because of our athletic teams. If our teams are good enough that smart kids wanna come here for school ... doesn't that help the school's academic prestige in the end? 



rampageripster's picture

I had a full ride offer to URI (not a better school, but it was a full ride for christ's sake)  and nearly a full ride to a SUNY school and UCSB... chose OSU

Cause I couldn't go for three

Muss_15's picture

Agreed (except basketball instead of volleyball, came in with the "Thad 5!") I can only remember one time athletics came in the way of academics and that was when they decided to change student football ticket sales to 10am instead of at midnight.  However, if my teacher would have allowed us to use our laptops in class, I would have studiously sat there for the hour waiting for my tickets and listened to the lecture.  Instead, I missed class and still managed to pass with no issue!

Squirrel Master's picture

well there is a bit of difference between pedophilia and inappropriately touching someone. One is a disgusting form of sexual abuse and the other is sexual harrassment. (and this is moreso a comment to the article than you PBUM32).

but I would expect Bielma would make a comment like, "only Harrassment between them is when his hand and her-ass-met!"

Edit: oops, missed the part where it was a male. still funny though!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Sarah, I feel you have been aching to use the "feel a sense of community" line for a while.

Community is a good show, but I prefer Parks and Rec and Michael Scott's The Office.

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

NC_Buckeye's picture

I have to disagree. Community is the show I started to get into due to Skull Session mentions (thanks Sarah). And now it is gone. I feel like a junkie needing a fix and Sarah is the pusher who gave me my first taste (thanks again Sarah). 

Community was that rare bird on the networks that was writing at a different level. Like Arrested Development or Firefly. Hopefully like them, it can get an encore (which I believe Sarah is alluding to in footnote #3).

Is it just me or does anyone else find themselves randomly humming Community's theme song?

Sarah's picture

Well, it's not the first time I've been called a TV pusher, but I wear it as a badge of honor. While Community is a more challenging show and more divisive than a Parks & Rec (which I also love), I think it has the higher comedic ceiling. It's sort of a high-risk/high-reward situation. It'll miss sometimes, but when it hits, no other show right now can match it.  

In sports terms, think of it as a wide receiver who leads the team in touchdowns, though not receptions. 

Ethan's picture

The Parks & Rec video is one of the best lines in the show. With the footnotes and the excellent choice in television shows, Sarah is quickly becoming the go-to Skull Session author

Sarah's picture

Thanks! I'm glad people are warming up to the footnotes. 

Baroclinicity's picture

Sarah.  Love the footnotes.  Always have.  I just miss them in the text 95% of the time.  Is it just me?

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

awwwwwwop's picture

no. the side notes in grantland are great for just this problem.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch