Wednesday Skull Session

By D.J. Byrnes on September 30, 2015 at 4:59 am
Curtis Samuel on the move vs. Western Michigan


WELCOME TO THE GRIND. Oh, you thought "The Grind" was another one of Urban's psychological phrases — did you know he holds an undergraduate degree in psychology? — that was used during summer workout sessions. Not so. 

The Grind is ongoing.


With so many players returning from the national championship team and after a dominating performance in the opener at Virginia Tech, many expected the Buckeyes to breeze by every week. But a listless offensive performance against Hawaii was followed by a close call against Northern Illinois.

A 38-12 victory Saturday over Western Michigan was enough for all but the toughest critics to step back from the ledge, though the Buckeyes resembled a juggernaut only in spurts.


The Buckeyes have resisted referring to themselves as defending national champions. The 2014 team was its own entity, they say. The 2015 team has nothing to defend.

“It’s frustrating because everybody assumes that after seven months, you just pick up where you left off, and that isn’t the case,” offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said after Saturday’s game. “There are new pieces on the coaching staff. There are new pieces on the offense."

I was at the Iron King's coming-out party in Indianapolis, and that seems like it happened in another decade.

As I watched Dolo labor against Northern Illinois, at no point did I get flashbacks to when I was so drunk and tired that I literally ran out of celebrations midway through the third quarter. 

Fans will expect another video game-like result on Saturday against Indiana, but any fan that is as excited to watch Ohio State play Indiana as they are when OSU plays Bama is either a professional alcoholic or bold-faced liar. 

We will still gripe about the team's sluggish first quarter start (if it happens). That's our grind.

NOT SURE IF INDIANA KNOWS HOW MATH WORKS. Like most all Millennials, I am bad at math. Still, I'm not sure I'm this bad:

Pretty sure that's illegal, but also a perk of "general admission" tickets. Will Indiana elders be led away in cuffs? We're not that lucky. Will some Hoosier students buy tickets and not go? I'm sure that's what they're counting on. (Indiana Football: FEEL THE EXCITEMENT, BABY!!!!) 

... Does this mean Indiana is a well-coached football team? I think so, but we'll know a lot more at this time on Saturday. 

People keep ranting about "Indiana ain't played nobody!" No shit? It's Indiana. Not like anybody is trying to crown their ass for being 4-0, but it's still Indiana! 4-0 is at least good for some applause and a respectful head nod. 

THE BIRTH OF A YOUNG SLOB. Folks, remember that one time Mark Dantonio pulled an offer after his 2016 commit, Leipsic's Gavin Cupp, attended Friday Night Lights?

Dantonio later clarified he didn't have a visit policy, but rather a communication policy.

Apparently, Cupp didn't leave his coach a voicemail (because he's not a monster). 

From's deep dive into Cupp's recruitment:

"I just wanted to compete," Cupp said. "I wanted to prove that a kid from Division VII could compete with the best players in the country."

Cupp had gone to Ohio State before, and the coaches told him they wanted to see him get stronger. The offensive lineman worked tirelessly in the weight room to improve his strength, and he wanted to see if his workouts were paying dividends. 

So Cupp went to Columbus and worked out for Ohio State's coaching staff. And he dominated. When he walked off the field that night after being watched by more people than live in his entire town, Cupp felt accomplished. 

"I was so zoned in during the camp," he said, smiling. 

Cupp — whose middle name I learned is Hayes (yes, that Hayes) — saw his Sparty offer rescinded shortly thereafter, leaving the former MSU hard-commit in limbo.

Thankfully, it worked out for him. Sounds like he'll fit in right along Mickey Marotti, and there's always something to be said about a player who's told to earn an offer and then goes out and does it (paging Darron Lee).

WHO RINGS THE VICTORY BELL? Have you ever wondered who's responsible for ringing Ohio Stadium's iconic Victory Bell? You've come to the right place.



This got me thinking: What wizard invented the bell? Sure, it's nothing to write txt home about in 2015, but it wasn't always so.

This led me to

Earliest examples of bells can be traced to the ancient China, some 4000 years ago. Because bells are made from metal, their first appearance in modern history started in the 1st millennia BC. During that time, Chinese metalworkers started binding together pairs of tiles, creating an enclosed chamber with opened door that can amplify the sound that is bouncing inside. In the beginning those bells were used only as a means of spreading information, such as notifying workers that their work day is done. By 3rd century BC metallurgic processed advanced in such way that the production of the “two note bell” or “musical bell” became very popular. This design had a special shape that can create two notes, which enabled bell to become part of various musical performances. 

Specific shoutouts to ancient China but also the creator of, my new favorite website.

THIS IS GETTING OUT OF HAND. Saturday's Western Michigan–Ohio State game was not one for the record books... and yet it took over three and a half hours to complete. I get paid to write about Ohio State football, and even I was groaning with every clock-killing play/commercial break from about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter on.

Bad news: There's a larger trend at play.

From's article on the rise of the four-hour CFB game:

In the 2008 season, after the NCAA passed new rules meant to make games shorter, the average time of a regulation game was 3 hours and 11 minutes, according to Stats LLC. Since then, that number has ticked up almost every season. It peaked at 3 hours and 22 minutes last year, though this season is challenging for the record at 3 hours and 20 minutes.

It isn’t just that the typical game ends a few minutes later. What makes it worse is that a growing number seem like they’ll never end at all. Already this season, there have been 66 games that lasted for more than 3 hours and 30 minutes, and six epics that passed 4 hours. Ole Miss’s marathon win over Alabama on Sept. 19 was only the latest example. That game kicked off at 9:21 p.m. ET and finally ended 4 hours and 5 minutes later at 1:26 a.m. ET. It didn’t go to overtime but was still longer than the extended cut of “Gone with the Wind.”

College games seem to be even more of a grind compared with NFL games. This year, the average NFL game has taken 3 hours and 7 minutes, a number that hasn’t changed dramatically over the last two decades. Last year, only eight games lasted longer than 3 hours and 30 minutes, and none went above four hours. Since 1996, in fact, only four NFL games broke the four-hour mark—a total that college football has already eclipsed this season.

I think it's high time to kill first downs stopping the clock in college, because if CFB games are starting to last longer than NFL games — the league that spawned the hellacious commercial-kickoff-commercial sequence — then something needs to change. 

THOSE WMDs. The battle between Nike and Adidas... Chess player accused of cheating by blinking Morse Code, using a spy pendant... Antebellum Era banknotes... An 1867 weekly newspaper produced on a British prison ship... The Internet's most hated beauty company.

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