Thursday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on October 30, 2014 at 6:00 am
Pat Elflein squads up against PSU

Got some bad news for Florida State and its cravenfans tonight. FSU is going against L.J. Scott, freshman running back for Louisville and one of the greatest athletes to come out of Marion, Ohio — the City of Kings — since the turn of the millennium. (You can read about Scott here, here, and here. He's basically the antithesis of Jameis Winston and his whimpering coach.)

On top of going against Marionaire magic, Florida State is also up against the drunken swagger of Papa John. Sorry, FSU, but not even practicing in a public park next to a Joe's Crab Shack can save you now. (Game starts at 7:30 on ESPN.)

HITNER SPEAKS. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I was disappointed when the team let strong safety T.J. Ward sign with the Denver Broncos in free agency. That disappointment dissipated, however, when the Browns signed former Ohio State boss/Clevelander Donte Whitner to replace him.

Yes, Donte, my dream is the same as Martin Luther King Jr.'s (peace be upon him): that one day, the Almighty Cleveland Browns will win a Super Bowl.

From Ari Wasserman of

"Because of Ted Ginn," Whitner said. "I still identify with it. Glenville is what I am, Glenville is what made me. I have to identify with it."


Q: Ted Ginn Sr. feels as if it is his fault that Glenville's streak of players to Ohio State is coming to an end because he was absent for a few years when he got ill. Can you believe that's how he looks at it? 

A: I wouldn't say that it's his fault. The program did go down a little bit when he got sick, and for the first time maybe they aren't deserving of someone going to Ohio State right now. Just because there was a pipeline doesn't mean you're just going to pick a kid. There has to be some special kid to be in that pipeline, and maybe Ohio State doesn't feel like they have them right now. I can guarantee you this – maybe next year, maybe the following year, he'll get it back on track and there will be somebody going to Ohio State.

My favorite Glenville product? That's easy: Colts linebacker Jonathan Newsome (the only one of my Twitter followers to ever register a sack in the NFL).

And I have no doubt Ted Ginn Sr. will get Glenville's swagger back on point.

ADVANCED STATS HIGH ON BUCKS. Pollsters and media might be down on the Buckeyes and the Big Ten, but it looks like Ohio State might be better than most people think. 

Bill Connelly of Football Outsiders released a table comparing the committee poll numbers to the AP poll numbers to advanced stats (F/+) numbers.

NUMBERS, Y'ALL (pray im using these right)

(For an explainer of F/+ rankings: visit Football Outsiders.)

Ohio State's offensive F/+? 14.5%, good enough for 10th in the country. Its defensive F/+? 9.2%, good enough for 29th in the country. (Ohio State's defensive F/+ ranking was 45th in 2013; not bad, Chris Ash, not bad at all.)

So basically the summation boils to this: AIN'T NOBODY REALLY WANT TO SEE THE OHIO STATE BATTLIN' BUCKEYES.

DANE BRUGLER NOT HIGH ON MICHAEL BENNETT'S PLAY. CBS' NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler is a voice I've come to respect, which is why I was alarmed by these tweets the other night:

Bennett sure looked explosive on Bosa's game-winning sack, but I suppose Brugler's critique wasn't that Bennett doesn't go hard at all.

So, I turned to someone who has an eye for such a thing, our Kyle Jones. His reply:

[Bennett] definitely hasn't jumped off the tape like many expected, but they're also playing him at nose tackle a lot this year, instead of the 3-tech that he'll be in the league and where he was so good last year.

Adolphus [Washington] isn't a nose tackle either, but someone has to play it. Watch what happens when either one doesn't get doubled, it's more like what we've been expecting from both.

That seems much more sensible to me, rather than Bennett is trying to avoid getting hurt. But hell, I like Bennett so much he could play on one leg, and I'd be like, "You know, I'm just not seeing the lack of explosiveness you guys are talking about." 

RELIVE THE NAVY VICTORY. Ohio State released another video yesterday; this one features the 34-17 victory over Navy.

Navy released their own video (we've covered its "Brotherhood" series before), and it's as good as expected from the finest Navy in the world:

Normally, I'm an Army guy when it comes to Army-Navy (long story from another lifetime), but this year I will make an exception. #AnchorDownYall

HOW DAN MULLEN BUILT THE NO. 1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. As I stated last week: I can't bring myself to hate Mississippi State. I like watching Dak Prescott, and I like Dan Mullen, Urban Meyer's dark apprentice. Damnit, I like Mississippi State.

Which is why I was all over this USA Today article from Dan Wolken:

As college football fans get used to the idea of perennial also-ran Mississippi State as a national title contender, it is striking how little their roster resembles the traditional construction of an elite team.

In a world where recruiting might be as popular as the national championship game, the vast majority of big moments for Mississippi State this season have been authored by players who were rated no better than three stars, were almost entirely overlooked by other SEC schools and often came to college without a defined position.

Whether it’s quarterback Dak Prescott (three-star from Louisiana who didn’t draw LSU’s interest until it was too late), running back Josh Robinson (Mississippi State beat out a bevy of Conference USA schools for him), towering receiver De’Runnya Wilson (he might have been a better basketball player in high school) or likely All-American Benardrick McKinney (hardly any other FBS schools bothered to offer a then 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker), nobody in America has done a better job identifying and developing players who were off the radar of recruiting services.

I'll tell you this much: Dan Mullen as Michigan's coach scares me much more than either Harbaugh or Les Miles (everybody here knows I'm a massive fan of Baton Rouge's warlock) or Butch Jones(!?). 

Mullen was trained in the most prestigious dojo in America, and would bring an interesting Woody-Bo dynamic back to The Rivalry. Plus, he knows how to develop talent.

Wait... why am I helping Michigan?

LET ME KICK MICHIGAN BACK TO REALITY RIGHT QUICK. My non-stop gloating and ridicule has probably driven off all Michigan Men — *pours liquor out on M Man's grave* — but in case there are any Michiganders still lurking: PLEASE DON'T FIRE BRADY HOKE. He's so close to greatness.

So. close.

 THOSE WMDs. With tipoff tonight, let's remember #GreatMomentsInCavsHistory... Photos of Civil War wounded... Suge Knight and Katt Williams charged with robbery... Kemba Walker already doing big thangs with Hornets mysticism... ???... T-Pain, sans autotune... Can you name the three biggest Buckeye rushing performances against Illinois?

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