Wednesday Skull Session

By Chad Peltier on January 9, 2013 at 6:00a

Good morning readers – hope you're doing OK with one full day of no college football. 

Try not to worry too much though. The basketball Buckeyes rebounded against Purdue last night but could still use your support, spring football practice will be here soon enough, and National Signing Day for recruits is right around the corner. Sigh

If you're like me, now is the time to look back and absorb as much information about the season as humanly possible – kind of like a bear binge eating before going into hibernation. 

In that spirit, Chip Patterson already has his best and worst moments of bowl season. It's only right that he begins his review of bowl season with Michigan getting clobbered

I've decided to add a few of my own to the mix of awards, focusing on the good ol' Big Ten: 

Best B1G Game: Northwestern over Mississippi State

Worst B1G Game: Purdue getting hammered by Oklahoma State

Most Embarrassing B1G Defense... besides Purdue: Nebraska. Jeez guys, get those Blackshirts together. 

National Championship if Ohio State isn't in it: SEC Championship Game

Worst Thing about Bowl Season: Ohio State didn't play in a bowl game. *Tear* 

 HOOPS IN REVIEW. For those of you just checking in with basketball now that football is over, no, college basketball isn't over yet, but it's a good time for a mid-season review from Jeff Goodman.  

Goodman's review is pretty comprehensive and should get those of you who primarily watch football up to speed. He has this to say about the Buckeyes: 

Ohio State is a one-man offensive team with Deshaun Thomas. The Buckyes haven't beaten anyone yet -- and it's because there's just too much on Thomas' shoulders. With the loss of Jared Sullinger and William Buford, Aaron Craft has to be more of an offensive threat -- and he's been unable to do so. Thad Matta needs one of the young sophomores (i.e. LaQuinton Ross or Sam Thompson) to emerge -- and quickly.

It's certainly a fair criticism. While the Buckeyes were in no way fit for a preseason #4 ranking, this team will undoubtedly be better come tourney time. 

Think Sully would mind coming back for a game or ten? Deshaun can't carry it all for the Buckeyes

Here are some other notable trends for the 2012-13 hoops season: 

  • "The top six teams that should be the favorites to win it all: Louisville, Indiana, Michigan, Duke, Kansas and Syracuse."
  • Illinois is one of his top surprise teams, with victories over Gonzaga, Butler, "and they pounded Ohio State in Champaign."
  • The SEC is terrible, with the 8th-ranked conference RPI – behind Mountain West and ACC!
  • The Badgers have been a little disappointing too, with four losses and no significant win so far (sounds familiar). 
  • The Big Ten is still the best league in America, with six teams Goodman predicts could go deep in the tournament: "Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota and maybe even Ohio State."

 ON TO THE NEXT ONE. If you're not a fan of preseason polls (or Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving is over, for that matter) then you're going to hate the onslaught of 2013-14 power rankings that are just beginning to pop up. 

I guess these are useful because they take into account a significant number of early departures to the NFL, but they miss out on an entire offseason's worth of arrests! Your Buckeyes are sitting comfortably on top of the Big Ten: 

1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes made the most of their sanctioned season, running the table to post just the sixth unbeaten, untied season in team history. Urban Meyer's crew now takes aim at a Big Ten title and perhaps even a national title, its first since 2002. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller leads a potentially explosive offense, but Ohio State needs its young defenders to grow up in a hurry as there are depth and experience questions on that side of the ball.

As Eleven Warriors dutifully covered yesterday, next season might be the next installment in the epic Meyer-Saban saga, so it's good to get a refresher on their history: 

Meyer has beaten Saban in a conference title game (in 2008) and lost to him in a conference title game (in 2009). He knows what it takes to beat Alabama. He also understands just how difficult it is to beat Saban's teams...The Buckeyes will have to replace most of their defensive line, but if they improve in Year Two the way Meyer's former teams at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida did, they'll live next season near the top of the polls.

There were a few other notables in the B1G: Northwestern was #2, returning Venric Mark and Kain Colter while only losing a few seniors. Michigan was ranked fifth due to concerns over next year's offensive line that struggled and needs new bodies, potentially putting young recruits into the starting lineup. 

There were also a few notables outside the B1G: USC at #7 in the Pac-12, Kansas State at #7 in the Big 12, and Bret Bielema's Arkansas at #12 in the SEC.  

NEWS FOR STATS LOVERS. Football Outsiders just released their final FEI rankings for the 2012-13 season, which closely approximates the also recently released AP poll results. The FEI, for those who don't remember, is: 

A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession efficiency expectations against which each team is measured. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams, win or lose, and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.

Overall the human polls and the performance statistics lined up fairly well – both agree that Alabama and Oregon were your top two teams this year, though the rest of the top ten is pretty jumbled. 

I went through quickly and tried to find the biggest discrepancies between the FEI and AP voters, but surprisingly, there weren't very many. The biggest differential was Louisville, which had the 28th-best FEI, but finished 13th in AP voting. Coming in a close second was Clemson, which ended the season at #11, but was just the 25th-best team according to their FEI. 

This also gives some guide to the differences between expectations and perceived under- and overperformance. Oklahoma, thought to be perpetually overrated (how does everyone think this, yet it still happens?) was the sixth-best team according to FEI, while losing three games in a disappointing year. On the flip side, Florida State finished almost exactly as expected, with preseason, postseason, and FEI rankings all slotting them somewhere between seventh and 13th. 

KIFFIN, CAN YOU HEAR ME? As many people have now noticed, things seem to be unraveling under Mr. Kiffin, as a once proud recruiting class is falling apart as we speak. Following the decommitments of four- and five-star recruits Max Redfield, Eldridge Massington, Eddie Vanderdoes and Sebastian LaRue, Kylie Fitts added his name to the list of decommitments, dropping USC's class to seventh according to Rivals. 

 LINKS FOR FOOTBALL-LESS DAYS. If you got a free tattoo, pics or it didn't happen... Nate Silver did an AMA on Reddit, which you should read... Things your university probably doesn't want you to tweet... Urban almost cashed in from his contract... Love this confidence... Not dominated? Hmmmm... Excellent numbers from Monday night's game... Total knowledge growing?... Ratings disappoint.  


Comments Show All Comments

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Theories on why usc recruits are de-committing in mass. 
1) They realized that hanging out with Lane Kiffin for 3-5 years would be creepy and awful.
2) They watched the USC bowl game.
3) They haven't heard about the 'promised' condo yet, and began to get nervous that it may not happen.

Abe Froman's picture

4) They got their hands on the negatives of the pictures taken with the goat.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

Matt F's picture

5) Realized USC's colors were SO 2011.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I disagree with the NW vs Miss State being the best game. I'd give that nod to M*chigan vs South Carolina.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Chad Peltier's picture

I was only picking from games the B1G won for that one.

gwalther's picture

That definitely limits your choices..

Class of 2008

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Oh. lol

But if you go to places like Mgo, you would think they won the game. Then again, they seem to act as if every loss but Bama was some kind of victory.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

TheHannimal's picture

The Mgo spin on everything reminds me of that South Park episode where they fart into wine glasses then sniff it...
Which is just another reason why its so awesome that the lasting highlight from the bowl season is Clowney absolutely beheading the skunk bears running back...they guys helmet still hasnt landed.

Jugdish's picture

News Flash: Michigan helmet found orbiting Earth. Details to follow at 11:00.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

faux_maestro's picture

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

South Carolina has a history of decapitating Michigan running backs. Check out the hit in 1986. t's not as devastating as Clowney's smash job on Vincent Smith, but impressive nonetheless.

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

I wonder if Kiffin stormed off when he got that news...

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I think Kiffin stormed off when a reporter asked him about the recent string of decommits. Reporters should know that questions about decommits are off-limits, a rule that Kiffin instituted to protect his players from the dangers of inconvenient questions. 

buckeyedude's picture

Whoa. I would love to know the real reason why that these USC commits/kids are decommitting and are unwilling to share publicly.



RedStorm45's picture

Craft was Evan Turner-esque last night with his 2nd half performance at Mackey.  13 points on a variety of shots in the lane, And-1s, and even a mid range jumper.  The Villain's performance was obviously better but the Bucks got a huge 2nd half performance from the 1 spot in the 2nd half to seal a win at Purdue.
2 concerns - How does Thomas only get 13 shots with as hot as he was? He went long stretches barely touching the ball as Purdue made their run.  And secondly, no Q the entire 2nd half?? Played pretty well early on I thought.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

I agree with both points. My guess is that Matta didn't play Q because we were ahead, and he prioritized having defenders (like Thompson) out there over Q. Purdue has a lot of shooters, and he was probably worried about Byrd or others getting hot. That said, I think Q should have played, as his scoring certainly helped in the 1st half. 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Byrd is the only true shooter on Purdue.  Purdue guards excel at dribble drive and Q is just too slow to guard that.

Read my entire screen name....

Squirrel Master's picture

Thomas is lazy at getting open, hence why despite his huge talent he isn't as consistent as he should be. Its hard to feed him the ball when he walks around sometimes and also doesn't start to post up until he is at the 3pt line. Who posts at the 3pt line, seriously!
Thompson was hitting shots (4-8 and 3 of those misses were earlier) and he locked down Byrd. The announcers even pointed out late in the game that Byrd wasn't even getting a hand on the ball because of Thompson.
Q might need to get subbed for Thomas to give Thomas more of a breather. He just loses too much energy when he does move around because he is so skilled. He really could use to find a way to make it easier on himself, then I just think he could be the best in college.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

bukyze's picture

Yeah, I think it's going to be a long basketball season for the Bucks.  I have seen no appreciable improvement to date from them as a team.  Very frustrating.  Hopefully things start to gel as the season continues.

buckeye_baker's picture

I thought they did really well last night. After the Illinois game I would have agreed with this comment, but I think their performance last night shows improvement and promise that they can put it together.

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying." -Woody Hayes

bukyze's picture

My only contention is that it was against Purdue, not an especially formidable opponent this year.  We still don't have a 'quality' win yet.

PlanningBuck12's picture

" If you are going to play for Lane Kiffin...You're going to have a bad time" 
Also at times I feel that OSU football and OSU basketball are one in the same. For one reason and one reason alone, they can play lights out one night/day and then the next game look like they don't know what sport they're playing. How many times have we seen OSU football come out play way down its potential almost lose to MAC schools, then come out the next week and play a Nebraska for instance and blow the doors of the Delorian. Same goes for the Buckeye basketball team. Several games of this "junior classes" run the last three or so years we've played games when we looked sluggish and acted like they'd never played together before then like last night come in to a tough Mackey Arena and play as a TEAM. It's one of the most frustrating things having to deal with as a Buckeye fan from late August- March. Oh well thats my two cents. 


"Anything easy ain't worth a damn" - Woody Hayes

buckeyestu's picture

imo the michigan south carolina was the best game, smith getting clowneyed was awesome. the q needs more playing time, craft looked good offensively. and only 13 shots for thomas? would love to see a big win this sunday against aacc.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Q is terribly slow....being from Miss., where's that SEC speed?  Maybe he needs to be more decisive and that will help speed up his pace, but man is he slow.
Anyone know what's going on with Lenzelle?  The dude is an athlete and came up with some major boards late in the game, but he seems switched off or in the backseat this year.  He needs to step up.  
I like that Thompson is not afraid to shoot, but someone needs to let him him know that he will always be the best athlete on the court.  He needs to drive the ball more and be aggressive with it.  He also needs to know that he's probably the 3rd best shooter on the court for us at most times, meaning, don't take shots unless you have to.
Williams is a 6'11" pussy cat.  He is going to get beat up if he can't learn how to use weight and his size.  He's going to be most useless until he plays like it's his last game.
I really like confidence emerging from Scott and hope that Craft can play like that more often.  That was a tough game to watch, especially coming down the stretch in the second half, man we were flustered and out of sorts.

Read my entire screen name....

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Several good points, except that I thought the offense held it together pretty well in the 2H (whereas the 2H defense got sloppy at times). They scored 35 points in spite of the refs allowing Purdue to hand/bodycheck and generally hack the Buckeyes all over the court, while only calling 7 fouls on Purdue in the 2H (which was absurd). 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I was throwing my hands up about the foul situation as well.  My comments about the offense in the 2H were more about the flow of it.  In the 1H we worked the ball around, threw it low, and probed the defense, but in the 2H, particularly the last 10 minutes, we ran a high ball screen for one guy who dribbled in, shot it or dumped it off and we settled for a jumper.  Granted we had a lead and were playing the clock a little (too much, imo), but we didn't really make much effort to work the ball around with the intent of getting a good shot - essentially Craft took over.  While it worked for its purpose (to win the game), it was not good team offense and once again, it seemed that we got away from what our offense is all about.  Another thing, we HAVE HAVE HAVE to start making our shots in the paint - between Rav missing a dunk (which went in eventually) and Thompson missing his penetration, those are easy buckets that haunt you in big games.  I've noticed that we don't always make the should-be gimmies.

Read my entire screen name....

tennbuckeye19's picture

Making free throws would also help. Too often they end up going 1-2 or 0-1 at the line. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree in essence, but in addition to the Buckeyes trying to milk the clock, it was probably a little harder for them to maintain flow and ball movement against Purdue's legally-sanctioned muggings.
Yeah, though, they definitely need Rav, Thompson, and Williams to finish inside - go hard to the hole and, if necessary, break some motha's off. They might get a few extra offensive fouls, but if that's what it takes to elevate their aggressiveness and killer instincts, it's worth it.  

BuckeyeSki's picture

All this basketball talk makes me wish it was football season already even more....

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

Dougger's picture

Michael Thomas is the man- for those that don't follow him on twitter, after they got those sick black varsity jackets he tweeted "at the mall somebody asked what the O stands for and I said 'Ohio state or zero losses you choose'" hope to see him play a lot this year.
Bucks 9th in those FEI rankings fwiw.
even though the bucks hoops are struggling this year, as long as they put it together for a run in march that's what counts, cuz the b1g is loaded and I'll be SUPER PO'd if TTUN makes a deep run, but they have a real good team

I like football

bukyze's picture

Somebody in Columbus asks him what the 'O' stands for?  Must be living in the cave.  But that was an awesome response by Thomas!

Denny's picture

It's like... if humans live longer, we learn more things?


Chad Peltier's picture

I try to to only link the most ground breaking research

OSUStu's picture

Don't forget that there will also be more of us to know things too!  

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Baroclinicity's picture

Cock man oppressor!

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

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

"We don't need your rape culture here"
+1 anything PCU....

Maestro's picture

Blotter loves taquitos.

vacuuming sucks

Baroclinicity's picture

Heeeyyyyyyy... That weasel snagged the bee!

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

jaxbuckeye's picture

Just read that Da'Shawn Hand released his top 5 and tOSU is not in it.  WHAT!?????  Says tOSU is #6.  Well that sucks!  Freaking Mi-Shit-gan made the cut!

fear_the_nut70's picture

Urbz has a year to do his work.  This is far from over.  If we get the kid on campus we'll have a shot.  Depth on DL could be hurting us, which to my way of thinking, is riduculous, since Hand looks like he has the talent to beat anyone out.  Oh well, I don't fret over one kid here one kid there, and I certainly won't do it a year before NSD for a particular recruit.

Michael Citro's picture

Major props for the Decemberists link in the photo caption.

Chad Peltier's picture

I spent hours thinking of how to work it in to my post

factor11's picture

Also quite happy you did... their last two albums are among some of my favorites from the past few years.  I havent heard any of their older content, probably should get on that.

Baroclinicity's picture

As Buckeye fans, I think we need to sit back and remember how lucky we are. It's crazy difficult to replace a legendary coach, if not just one that was enormously successful. Look at USC...likely going to struggle further with Kiffin after domination under Carroll. Nebraska has never recovered after Osborne stopped coaching. Florida had some rough years with Zook. Alabama struggled for years after Stallings. Notre Dame after Holtz. Tennessee after Fulmer lost his mojo. There are more variables in these examples than just the coaches, but my point is, we've largely walked from one legend to the next despite a transition year. It won't always be this smooth.

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

fear_the_nut70's picture

Well said.  I was very critical of the way Gene Smith handled tat gate and JT's emails that lead to the bowl ban--the arrogance, the staunch refusal to see how serious this was and/or his inability to have his finger on the pulse of the direction the NCAA was going (look out Miami and Oregon).  That said, he gets credit for getting Urban Meyer on board despite looming sanctions, even if much of it was dumb luck (Meyer being available) and the brand selling itself.  We are very fortunate as Ohio State fans, and it really drives the haters crazy.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I'm starting to think that Miami, Oregon, and UNC are going to benefit from the post-sanction temper-tantrum playing out in State College.
Maybe Emmert and the Committee on Infractions are starting to get fatigued from Penn State power-brokers' spin of them being heavy-handed and out-of-control? Maybe they don't want anyone else jumping in on PA's trust-busting lawsuit?
Something to think about.

Dougger's picture

could it be argued we did have this lull, it was just a much shorter time frame (one long long long painful 6-7 year)? but i agree

I like football

Baroclinicity's picture

The reason I don't classify it that way is because Luke always had the "interim" label. In the context of my post, it was different. But I hear you.

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

Squirrel Master's picture

I love the worried talk about the basketball team. If any of you remember this time last year, it looked alot more bleak then. Not saying this team will become a final four team, but these mid season swoons happen to some of the best. Even Kentucky goes through it, but when tourney time comes, the true talent shows out.
I'm not concerned!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Baroclinicity's picture

Similar situations, different reasons. At least last year we could hang our hat on blowing the doors off Duke. We had proven players that were slumping. This year, we haven't won any big games, and our talent is far less developed. I'm concerned, but I also expected us to be down a few notches.

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

osubuckeye4life's picture

Meat tossers!!!!!!!!!! STOP THE VIOLATORS!

buckatron32's picture

This year's version of the basketball team is extremely frustrating to watch, even on a night like last night when they pulled out the win. How a college basketball team can be so collectively bad at free throws is astonishing, and the offense makes me cringe almost every possession. While Craft did ok last night, I think it's starting to become clear that Scott has a higher ceiling and runs the offense better. Some of the looks he had for Williams actually looked like basketball in comparison to a lot of the sets they've been running so far this year.