Tuesday Skull Session

By Sarah on January 22, 2013 at 6:00a

Greetings, readers, and don't forget to bundle up on what looks to be a chilly day for most of the country1

Once this month comes to an end, I'll have said goodbye to two shows — Fringe and 30 Rock — that I've watched from the start, and both are shows that broadcast networks don't seem to make anymore. Smart, inventive, weird in the best ways possible, and not exactly inviting to a wide audience. 

It can be hard to bid farewell to shows that have entertained and even challenged you for many seasons, just like it can be hard to move on from a team that was as successful as last year's Final Four-ing basketball team. 

This year's team is not that team. Last year at this time, the Buckeyes were frustrating because they weren't living up to their potential. Right now, the Buckeyes are frustrating because they're not living up to expectations that were probably unrealistic to begin with.

That doesn't mean we can't hope for them to learn and grow or appreciate the better aspects of the team, namely Deshaun Thomas' offensive game and their overall team defense.

But we also shouldn't expect them to be something they're not. Some games, Ohio State will delight us and some games, Ohio State will disappoint us. Tonight, hopefully it's the former when they welcome Iowa to the Schott.  

The Hawkeyes are coming in with a bit of momentum, having handed Wisconsin their first conference loss of the season on Saturday night. While it was a good win for Iowa, it was also fairly predictable after the Badgers beat Indiana earlier that week.

After all, Big Ten basketball's gonna cannibalize. 

WRONG TURNOVER. So far this season, Ohio State has been fairly adept at taking care of the basketball. They currently rank No. 17 in turnovers per game (11.1) and No. 29 in turnover margin (3.4 ratio).

It's critical for the Buckeyes to remain one of the better teams in those categories because with their scoring issues, they're in no position to waste possessions, particularly against B1G defenses.

And unfortunately, they're trending in the wrong direction. Bob Baptist summed it up

Although Thomas made half of his 20 field-goal attempts, his teammates made a third (nine) of their 27, including 3 of 13 in the second half. With shooting like that in the low-possession games the Buckeyes have been playing, they can’t afford to turn the ball over at the rate they have lately. In their first 13 games, they averaged turnovers on 15 percent of their possessions; the past four games, it’s 26.6 percent.

While limiting their own turnovers should be one of their top priorities, Ohio State also needs to force their opponents to cough up the ball. It helped them in the early going against Michigan and it helped them stay in the game near the end against Michigan State. Luckily, they have two players, Aaron Craft2 and Shannon Scott, who are both averaging nearly two steals per game. 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Normally, I'd leave this sort of news to the 11W recruiting gurus, but I noticed yesterday that Rivals released their new top 100 list for the class of 2013.

Seven Ohio State pledges are included, led by linebacker Mike Mitchell at No. 26. The others are Jalin Marshall (35), Cameron Burrows (39), Joey Bosa (47), Ezekiel Elliott (84), Eli Apple (89), and Evan Lisle (90). 

Mitchell is the only five-star recruit of the bunch, though Buckeye target Vonn Bell is also one. Another target, current Oregon commit Dontre Wilson, made the list, coming in at No. 100. 

USC has the most commits with 11, but it's not like it means much when USC is #1 in any sort of rankings. Alabama is next with eight while Michigan has three.

Oh, Ohio State beat Michigan in something? Must be a day, any day.

QUARTERBACK RATING. When it comes to recruiting, however, we are often reminded that a recruit's rating isn't a prophecy. ESPN RecruitingNation's Brad Bournival pointed out that even though Buckeye MVP Braxton Miller was highly regarded coming out of high school, he wasn't the top guy in Ohio State's 2011 class (that would be Curtis Grant)3

Nor was he the top QB recruit:

Miller was an ESPN 150 quarterback out of Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne and was ranked 80th overall. He was the fourth-ranked quarterback in the nation behind Jeff Driskel, Kiehl Frazier and Max Wittek.

Anyone want to trade Braxton for one of those guys? Didn't think so.

Bournival claimed that Miller's evolution under Urban Meyer was the catalyst that "made Ohio State's spread offense sexy" and while I agree that Ohio State is now a more attractive school for the kind of athlete Meyer often gushes about, it's also not like there haven't been skilled offensive players in the program's history, both recent and not.

Iowa wanted their jerseys to be All Street.The NCAA is Streets Behind

Regardless, Bournival is correct in referring to this past season as a turnaround for Ohio State. It wasn't a complete transformation, but the vast improvement in almost every offensive category certainly signaled a shift for the Buckeyes.

WORD ON THE STREET. As I mentioned earlier, Iowa took down Wisconsin on Saturday night. That same night, Iowa paid tribute to Chris Street, a Hawkeye basketball player who died 20 years ago in a car accident.

At the time of his death, Street was a star player, nearly averaging a double-double in what was his junior season. Every season since, Iowa has awarded the Chris Street Award to the "Hawkeye player who best exemplifies the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of Chris Street." At halftime of the Wisconsin game, former winners of the award were among those who gathered to honor him. 

The NCAA, naturally, had to play the part of spoiler when it refused to grant the Iowa basketball team permission to wear No. 40 Street jerseys in the game. Instead, Iowa ended up placing his jersey on an empty chair on their bench. The players also wore CMS40 patches.

But just a month ago, Xavier wore special jerseys to benefit the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, and while I'm definitely behind that, it's hypocritical not to allow Iowa a similar exemption.

I know you're probably thinking, "The NCAA being hypocritical? YOU DON'T SAY." Still, it can't be said enough: the NCAA is just the worst.

REGARDING COACHES WITH A LOT OF LOSSES TO OHIO STATE. Speaking of, Lloyd Carr was one of eight new members appointed to the NCAA Committee on Infractions over the weekend. I guess that in retirement, he didn't know what to do with himself without always getting owned by Jim Tressel. 

And on that note, it's probably a good thing that Ohio State has taken such comprehensive steps in improving their compliance department.

In other former B1G coaching news, Bret Bielema, and his wife, have taken to Twitter to respond to critics. I think that tells us everything we need to know about the dearth of casinos in Arkansas. 

My favorite was this one:

C'mon, Biels, not every man can meet a Tampa woman 15 years his junior in Vegas. That kind of storybook romance is rare. 

Although the article claims that Bielema's 1-0 hashtag that accompanies so many of his tweets is "part of his philosophy of taking everything one game at a time (or one play at a time, one drill at a time, one block at a time and so on)", I'm pretty sure it's just an emoticon he uses that means something gross.

ICE LINK. Shazier and Hyde are two of BTN's players to watch in '13... John Simon as a linebacker is apparently not going so well in Senior Bowl practice... NCAA's comin', Frank Haith... Notre Dame is simply unreal... The Postal Service 2013? Tell us more, please... Trolling manatees... Stories of old that scarred children for life... Where the kids from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are today. 

  • 1 If you happen to find yourself in a warmer climate, please don't troll everyone else in the comments. You'll only have yourself to blame if you get downvoted.
  • 2 Craft is also a steal away from sole possession of first place in the Ohio State record books, though he figures that wouldn't be the case if Mike Conley hadn't left after one year.
  • 3 Jadeveon Clowney was the nation's top recruit that year, so sometimes these rankings can be right on the money, right Vincent Smith?


gumtape's picture

I remember Chris street as a tough, smart, unselfish player. Decent scorer and rebounder too. Typical white guy with a good stroke. Thanks for the reminder.

High and tight boo boo

gosolow2000's picture

Trolling manatees, that right there made my day.

cplunk's picture

Simon is going to have a hard time at LB. His skills really aren't a great fit for that position. Somebody with his kind of drive though always has a chance to succeed at anything he sets his mind to, so good luck to John!
Saw the NFLPA game a few days back. Ohrian Johnson was beast. He looked like a legitimate pro, and the coaches were raving about his practice all week. Not sure how he didn't play a bigger role for us during the season. Meyer was right- he should have had a bigger role. Not sure why the D coaches didn't play him more.
I can't understate how excited I am for the many Buckeyes on the 49'ers. Go 49'ers! Let's see a championship for Whitner, Ginn, Grant and Boone! Never thought I'd root for the 49'ers, who killed my Bengals in the late moments of two Super Bowls.

acBuckeye's picture

I agree with you about Simon. But the reason why Johnson didn't play more is b/c he was simply one of the worst safeties I can ever recall seeing at Ohio State. Getting beat constantly. He played better this last year, but maybe all he needed was better coaching.

OSUBias's picture

Part of it was being recruited to be a cover 2 zone safety and not being used to, or any good at, man coverage. Historically we didn't play a ton of man with our safeties, so of course you never saw anyone get beat as often as he did; they just had to keep everyone in front of them. But, that being said, we still have had plenty of misfires at safety over the years. This one still stings pretty good.

Shitter's full

acBuckeye's picture

Yes. I was actually thinking of Anderson Russell as well when writing the above post.

okiebuck's picture

I lived in Iowa when Chris Street died; a terrible trajedy in which his car was hit by a snow plow at night during a snow storm. Great homegrown kid from a small town. Why to stay classy NCAA morons.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

okiebuck's picture

Way to stay classy; NCAA buttwipes.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

buckeyedude's picture

You have to include Gene Wilder in any talk of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This was one of my favorite movies growing up before cable, computers and video games.
Gene Wilder is now 71 years old, and is mostly retired from acting and living in So. Cal. He was married to Gilda Radner, one of the original cast members of SNL. They were married from 1982-1989, when she died of cancer. Gene is also a cancer survivor and is in remission. Loved the dude in Young Frankenstein, and in his movies with Richard Pryor. Gut busting type laughter.



Unky Buck's picture

Ahh, my favorite Gene Wilder movie by far...

If you jiggle your monitor, does that make a jiggly gif?

AltaBuck's picture

I was a big fan of Madeline Kahn. She died of ovarian cancer back in '99.

I am Groot - Groot

Seth4Bucks's picture

Gene Wilder is now 71 years old, and is mostly retired from acting and living in So. Cal.

I almost spewed water all over this laptop because I misread that as 'mostly retired from acting and living.'
I started to wonder how you can mostly retire from living and pictured that scene from Princess Bride with Miracle Max. I had to reread it before I noticed the part of the sentence I missed.

Unky Buck's picture

The funny thing about Braxton's recruitment, at least from ESPN, is that he was rated between the teens to the 30's overall most of the year and was the #2 QB in the class. Then on the final rankings, Braxton dropped nearly 50 spots. It was never explained why a recruit would drop that far when all season during his evaluation periods he would remain between the high teens and low 30's and then after all of that was done, he mysteriously dropped 50 points. Some say it was ESPN's issues with Ohio State as that was the same time as the Tressel saga. I've heard others say that his less than stellar performace at the UA game did it. I don't know, I've seen players with poor showings at those high school all-star games and not drop that far and I'm not one for conspiracy theories on ESPN. I just find it odd still...

If you jiggle your monitor, does that make a jiggly gif?

Dougger's picture

same thing happened with eli apple in rivals.. went from high 20's to late 80's i think. whats up with that?

I like football

BuddhaBuck's picture

This just in from Sports by Brooks... the NCAA is ESPN!!! And Lennay Kekua is..... KENNY MAYNE!!!

Don't text while driving.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

I see Craft talking about Conley on steals. A simple search at work is returning nothing for me, but does anyone know the amount of steals Conley had after year 1?
edit: nvm I'm seeing 87

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Maestro's picture

Checking in at 12 degrees this morning, and I had to fight with my 7 year old daughter to get her to wear socks.  Oh the drama.

vacuuming sucks

Alhan's picture

I wish I was in Tucson (I will be moving there in a couple months) rather than here in Columbus today.  60 degree temperature difference in the high...sigh.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Dougger's picture

i originally thought they were all gonna have 40 on their backs (i know it's early) but i do not see the problem with having his name on all their backs, they don't assign fouls to names just numbers. yeah ncaa you suck!
and they could have had a WAY better highlight reel for RDS.... the full montee? the fourth and three play from The Game? C'mon man!!!

I like football

Ethos's picture

sorry if I missed something as I haven't been on here in a while, but why is Simon playing LB?

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Dean's picture

I think Bielema's 1-0 is an emoticon representing a shocked Geordi LaForge.  I could be wrong, though.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Is there something with ND? Their fans have been talking about fake success the last decade. Te'o has a fake girlfriend. Now a recruit has a fake visit. I'm convinced ND has their fans, players, and coaches in the Matrix.

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

osubuckeye4life's picture

Sarah, Fringe was such a wonderful show. I'm so glad it got a proper ending. It was sad it see it finally ending but I felt they did a great job of wrapping things up this season.
Here is a "white tulip" for you. Some great clips of John Noble's underrated portrayl of Walter Bishop.
It is a travesty that he has yet to even be nominated for an Emmy for his performances of Walter Bishop. I hope he is nominated this year and wins. He deserves it so much! 


Sarah's picture

Well, this certainly deserves an upvote. I wouldn't hold my breath, unfortunately, about John Noble. I'm afraid the Emmy voters are too snobby when it comes to genre TV.