Monday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on October 12, 2015 at 4:59 am
Mike Thomas posted his first 100-yard game of his Ohio State career on Saturday vs. Maryland.

We begin today with a moment of silence for the poor souls whose weekends were ruined because Ohio State didn't dominate Maryland to their satisfaction. It was a good weekend that they missed by being mad online, which is always a shame to see.

Outside of people who aren't happy anyway, today should be a cordial Skull Session. 

Some people said Cardale Jones would lead Ohio State back to the promised land. Other said it was J.T. Barrett who was the better option.

Urban Meyer said, "Why not both?" and Ohio State rolled to its most lubricated offensive performance of the year. I'm not wasn't a believer in the platoon system, but I'm not about to sit here and complain about 533 yards of offense and 49 points. 

How do opposing DCs plan for both QBs? Good luck with that.

ICYMI: Ohio State beat Maryland 49-28 on Saturday to move to 6-0.

EVER? EVER EVER? Yahoo!'s Pat Forde spends a lot of time bashing the Big Ten for a guy who regularly appears on BTN. I don't always read Forde's work, but when I do I usually alternate between chortling/rolling my eyes.


6. Is Ohio State the worst first-half team of any season-long No. 1 team ever? Discuss.

It’s at least up for debate. The Buckeyes have trailed twice (Virginia Tech and Indiana) and been tied once (Northern Illinois) at halftime in six games, all against modest competition. They have outscored their opponents just 89-57 in the first half.

The comparison has been made to last year’s defending champions, Florida State, which perpetually let inferior opponents hang around before putting them away late. But even the sloppy Seminoles were more authoritative through the first half of 2014 than the Buckeyes have been through the first half of ’15. Florida State outscored its first-half opponents 116-56, trailing Clemson and North Carolina State.


But Maryland is a bad team, and this was a tie game in the second half, and the wait for Ohio State to resemble the team that stampeded to the 2014 title seems like it will stretch on forever at this rate. Mostly they resemble Florida State 2014 – undefeated but unimpressive – which leaves something to be desired.

Are they the worst first-half team ever? Just asking the questions I have no intention of answering, folks! Please discuss... but not before I discuss it with myself.

I don't know if Ohio State is the worst first-half team ever, because I wasn't alive until 1986, so it's hard for me to stack Ohio State's first-half performance against those of the 1945 Army team. 

But I do know that I'll take first-half struggles over second-half struggles any day of the week, especially when that team features an Urban Meyer-coached offense. 

BET THE RENT? According to OddsShark, Ohio State opened as 17½-point favorites over Penn State.

Ohio State hasn't covered a spread since Week 1, and it's only Monday, but I'm already calling for Ohio State to cover this spread. 

Penn State isn't as bad as it looked against Temple, but the Nittany Lions are riddled with issues... and that's before even considering the fact they'll be stripped of their dark Beaver Stadium magic. 

I'd love a remix of the 63-14 beating Ohio State laid on PSU the last time the Lions rolled west. I'm not saying that will happen; I'm saying that Urban Meyer + night game + black jersey/recruiting extravaganza = bad recipe for the boys in blue and white.

I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONCERNED ONLINE. I joked last week that "Perry Hills" sounded like a name a drunken freshman gives to the cops in a futile attempt to avoid an underage. Little did I know that Perry Hills would run from my team like they were trying to throw him in a cage for the rest of his natural life.

Is the defense's knack for giving up the big play a cause for concern at this point?


The read-option was a valuable weapon for Maryland, because Ohio State's front seven wants to create disruptive plays, and isn't always willing to sit back and let things develop.

If you're fine with Ohio State playing that way, and content with the Buckeyes giving up a big play from time to time, then maybe Saturday or any other game this season isn't much cause for concern.

But also consider that four of the teams Ohio State has played this year were ranked 86th in the country or worse in total offense coming into Saturday. The highest-ranked offense, Indiana, was an end zone throw away from making the final seconds very interesting last week.

What happens when those big plays are coupled with an offense that's consistent and competent, and not just the product of a mediocre offense playing above itself for a play or two?

Teams don't need shutdown defenses to win championships anymore, so I don't have a problem with Ohio State giving up a few big plays a game as long it doesn't become a regular habit.

As noted above, the defense answered both game-ending bells this season. The unit still inspires confidence. In 2013, they didn't inspire confidence.

As long as this defense regularly hits/hurries the quarterback (how unstoppable is Joey Bosa from the inside!?) and creates turnovers, they'll be fine (70-yard runs from mediocre B1G QBs aside).

PLAYOFF FORECASTING IN OCTOBER, BABY! I hope this is the final four because it'd basically be Urban Meyer's fault.


There shouldn’t be much debate over which team would lead the four-team field: Utah has wins against Michigan and California, along with résumé-building victories against Oregon and Utah State.

1. Utah

2. TCU

3. Florida

4. Ohio State

5. Clemson

6. Baylor

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an Ohio State–Florida matchup. Dabo Swinney and Art Briles getting left in the cold would be a great appetizer, though.

SO MICHIGAN IS, LIKE, GOOD NOW? Michigan opened at (-3) but is already sitting at (-7) heading into its secondary rivalry game with Michigan State.

A lot of people apparently think Michigan is knocking Sparty on Saturday.

Boy, it didn't take long for Michigan fans to get back on their high-horse, did it? It's almost like riding a high horse is second nature to a Michigan Man. 

Given their reaction, you might think they ran roughshod over three top-ten opponents en route to the first CFP title — not that the Wolverines are 5-1 with wins over BYU and Northwestern and a loss to the only good team they've played.

If Michigan rips the ice chest that functions as Mark Dantonio's heart out of his actual chest on national TV, then I'll declare "Michigan is back."

Until I see that frozen chest pulsating on the floor of the Big House, however, I'm rooting for Dantonio to remind Michigan of their proper place at the table in the 2015 year of our Lord and Savior, President Warren G. Harding.

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