Thursday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on December 4, 2014 at 6:00 am
josh perry he'll yeah

Bad news last night out of Kansas, folks: Fox Sport's Bruce Feldman reported Ed Warinner interviewed for the Kansas job "via the phone, this week." 

When I read that horrendous tweet from Feldman (still not as bad as this one, though), I flashbacked to this rift from the Lord of Whispers:

Perhaps more important than Warinner's ability to evaluate talent is his ability to take raw materials and turn out not only better football players, but better people. One source at Ohio State was very clear about it: Warinner is important to Ohio State's recent, current, and future success.

"Corey Linsley would not be starting in the NFL if it weren't for Ed Warinner, he may not have even finished his college career," the source said. "The job he's done this year? It's incredible, and we hope he never leaves. He's done so good a job that it's almost impossible to think he won't get an opportunity down the line to run his own program. Keeping him at Ohio State is very important."

And then my emotions took the wheel:

Kansas!? Ed Warinner can do better than Kansas. (I'm hopeful Gene Smith already has the interns crunching numbers on a contract exension and raise for Ohio State's hogmaster.)

ALL ABOARD THE CARDALE EXPRESS. It might be because I'm attending my first Ohio State game since 2008 this weekend, and I want to protect my time/emotional investment... but good lord am I ecstatic for the Cardale Jones Era.

I wonder what my former Swahili classmate and Ohio State/Glenville safety, Jermale Hines, thinks?

You and me both, Bwana Jermale, you and me both.

I "covered" Cardale's words on Monday, and I agree with Ohio State's fallen quarterback: The mind of Cardale Jones is magical. 

Ah hell, Wisconsin: Cardale Jones is also a Waffle House mystic. That's bad news for ol' Bucky.

Remember when Art Briles said he'd rather fight a man with a nice house and three kids than a man who lives out of his car? It was a legendary #take, but also true.

Well, let me riddle y'all this: Who would you rather fight? A man who's last meal was at Waffle House or a man whose last meal wasn't at Waffle House? Granted, plenty of people have been knocked out within the confines of a Waffle House, but imagine the soldier of fortune that could be spit out from the deepest fried bowels of Waffle House fight lore if you went that route. It sends a shiver down my spine just thinking about it.

To me, the answer is clear: I'll roll the dice and fight the guy who's not under the divine grace of Waffle House.

You might be some elitist and think I'm the idiot for eating at Waffle House or believing Cardale Jones eating there is some sort of in-the-stars prophecy, but remember this, haters: The Iron Reign of Cardale Jones was damn near destiny, as detailed in this blistering salvo from The Fake Lantern:

So we don’t have Braxton or his successor (emphasis on success). Cardale Jones has spent his entire week at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and his entire life waiting for this moment — always waiting, but never passively. Truly, if there’s one thing Cardale Jones will ever be ready for, it’s football. We’re talking about a “sophomore” quarterback who graduated high school the same year as our seniors dead set on being a Buckeye no matter what, a player who was recruited two Ohio State coaches ago, who paid his dues by enrolling in a transition school per Ohio State’s request, who redshirted his first year finally on the Ohio State roster, who spent his second year here as a third-string quarterback, who lost the starting job to a super-freshman, and who finally has his chance now. Cardale Jones is the quintessential Buckeye, the one who always knew he’d be one and who overcame every hurdle to do so. This is not the kind of man who loses to Wisconsin. No, he will instead prove that he, and this Ohio State team, can bounce back from anything — that this Ohio State team is the best overall unit in Big Ten history. A team that loses two Heisman-contending quarterbacks is not supposed to wipe the floor with the conference schedule, but we’re about to.

Bet. the. house. on. the. boys. from. Columbus. The King/Playoffs MVP will lead the way.

WISCONSIN NOT WANTING THE COMEBACK TRAIL. The old cliché against running teams is it's hard for them to comeback if they get down a couple of scores, but the Badgers have pulled off a couple comebacks this year. Most notably in their last game against rival Minnesota, in which the Badgers trailed 17-3 at one point.

But Ohio State is a different kind of beast than Minnesota, and to Bucky's credit, it seems aware of that.

From Jim Polzin of The Wisconsin State Journal:

It’s why UW hasn’t hit the panic button despite digging itself into two-touchdown holes in two of its past three games. The common misperception with the Badgers’ run-first offense is it can’t play from behind when, in fact, junior tailback Melvin Gordon and Co. have proven all season they get better as the game progresses.

That’s not to say UW wants to flirt with danger. The No. 11 Badgers (10-2) would like nothing more than to produce a solid start on Saturday night when they play No. 6 Ohio State (11-1) in the Big Ten Conference title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“Ohio State is a team that you do not want to be behind,” Trotter said. “We’ve just got to be aggressive with them and if we get the lead we’ve got to still attack them in every phase of the game.”

I do expect some trickery and play-calling aggressiveness from Wisconsin, so I think it's wise for Ohio State to go for the jugular right off the rip. Former Browns President Joe Banner has mentioned how the numbers dictate the best chance at winning is for a team to come out throwing early, establish a lead, and then run the ball. (As opposed to "establishing the run" early.)

That's why I hope Ohio State comes out swinging with Cardale. Ohio State is better than Wisconsin, so there's no need to let the Badgers hang around. 

MELVIN GORDON COMETH. You might not know this, but Wisconsin's running back is really good, and Ohio State's rush defense has been suspect at times this year. 

From Austin Ward of ESPN:

The problem for No. 5 Ohio State isn’t so much that it got gashed by one of the top tailbacks in the Big Ten’s seemingly endless supply of elite rushers, it’s that all of them took a turn racking up yardage and touchdowns against its otherwise vastly improved defense. And with the league’s kingpin waiting Saturday in Indianapolis in the Big Ten title game against No. 13 Wisconsin, those previous struggles could be a significant issue with Melvin Gordon set for his at-bat against the Buckeyes. 

“I mean we’ve seen a lot of good backs this year,” Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry said. “Obviously [Gordon] is a Heisman front-runner, so he’s on a level of his own. But you can’t say that we haven’t been tested already with some of the running backs, some of the offensive lines we’ve seen this year. We’ve been really close to being a really, really sound, stout, smothering defense. It’s just those few bad plays.” 

For the most part, the Buckeyes have had success at slowing down opponents on the ground, no matter how much talent is lining up in the backfield. But it hasn’t been able to do it for an entire game, and it only takes a couple breakdowns for guys like Langford, Cobb or Coleman to turn a pedestrian performance into an explosive one. 

I expect Gordon to get plenty of yards (175ish, even.) As long as Cardale Jones (or Ohio State as a team) has no more than a single turnover, Melvin Gordon will need 500 yards for Wisconsin to have a chance. 

DEVIN SMITH'S RISING DRAFT STOCK. Devin Smith was supplanted by Michael Thomas this year; it was a move I agreed with, but to Smith's credit he didn't back down, and his hard work is on the verge of paying off:

From various insiders at

The scoop: "The guy to watch out for in the draft is (Ohio State WR) Devin Smith. Media guys are going to be slow to catch up on him, but he's going to shoot up draft boards. He's bigger than (Florida State's) Rashad Greene and faster. Ohio State should have used him better." - NFC North scout

The skinny: Smith isn't a big wide receiver by NFL standards (verified 6 feet and 199 pounds), but he has blazing vertical speed. He finished the 2014 season with just 26 catches, his lowest total since his freshman season, but had at least one catch of at least 30 yards in 10 of 12 games, giving him a healthy average of 25.5 yards per catch. Smith has the type of speed that "will match Phillip Dorsett at the combine," the scout said, referring to the Miami receiver with mid-4.4 speed.

I'm not sure I agree with Ohio State "not using him right." Devin Smith excels at running straight really fast, and he'll leave as one of the best deep threats in school history.

I wasn't that high on him coming into the season, but he's impressed me this year. Urban also called him "one of the best gunners in America," so it will be interesting to see where Smith ends up. He definitely has a future at the next level.

Going B1G in Indy

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for Saturday's Big Ten Championship 
game in Indianapolis.

MICHIGAN ODDS. How did I miss this from Jim Hackett's press conference?

No. No. No. They can't have Ed Warinner, and they can't have my right to slur Michigan Men with "Michigan Man." I won't allow it.

Moving on, here are the odds on Michigan's next coach, per Vegas bookmaker and online casino, Bovada:

  • Jim Harbaugh: 2/1
  • Les Miles: 5/2
  • Butch Jones: 7/2
  • Mike Gundy: 7/2
  • Greg Schiano: 9/2

Greg Schiano might not be a Michigan Man, but he's definitely the Michigan Man Michigan deserves, if you catch my drift. Butch Jones or Mike Gundy would be comical. As much as I love Les Miles... all the drugs and blood magic are catching up with him, I fear.

It's as I said yesterday: Michigan needs a baby-eater. Either Harbaugh would be easy to detest.

A good Michigan, finally? Well, not this year, anyway.

THOSE WMDs. When can I expect something like this from TBDBITL?... Jim McElwain literally uses nursery rhymes to coach... Let the record show: I never liked Tiger Woods... A Super Bowl Champion and I have the same shirt... Onion kicks Michigan while it's down... Jameis' lawyers treated him like an intern... Evan Turner's whining was even worse than I thought... RIP UAB Football.

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