Cinco de Mayo Skull Session: Realistic 2016 Expectations, Mark Pantoni on Epic Recruiting Photo, and Dallas Cowboys Hoping Ezekiel Elliott Helps Their Defense

By D.J. Byrnes on May 5, 2016 at 4:59 am
Curtis Samuel is all ears for the May 5th 2016 Skull Session
Curtis Samuel

Marionaire lifehack: Order your Cinco de Mayo margaritas on the rocks and not frozen; otherwise the person responsible for making your margarita is liable to spit in it. Don't ask me how I came to possess this knowledge, but it's true.


 REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, YOU SAY? Spring football is over, as is the 2016 NFL Draft. So what is a thirsty Ohio State fan to do between now and the opening of Urban Meyer's fifth fall camp? 

We're talking expectations, baby!


With the lack of experience and the brutal schedule, it's easy to envision Ohio State falling behind in the College Football Playoff race this fall. The trip south to Oklahoma will be tough to survive, and back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Penn State in prime time will be hard to navigate early in the Big Ten season.

Ten regular-season wins would be a huge accomplishment for Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff. Losing as many as four games this fall is in the realm of possibility, but looking back at the 2014 season, it would be foolish to completely rule out a playoff run as well.

It will all depend on how the team comes together this fall. If perimeter weapons emerge to replace lost receiver starters Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall and Braxton Miller, and if Mike Weber proves a suitable replacement for running back Ezekiel Elliott, this team could surge. 

The nice thing about the Oklahoma game is it's positioned early enough in the season where it can only help the Buckeyes. There would be no shame in a Buckeyes team with 44 freshmen losing their first road game to a national contender in Oklahoma. A loss also wouldn't torpedo Ohio State's playoff chances like 2015's loss to Sparty did.

Ohio State will win at least 10 games. It could lose to Oklahoma, and young teams are more susceptible to trap games, but I don't see Urban Meyer losing three games in 2016. He is a superior coach and talent still runs deep in Columbus. 

10-2 is a realistic prediction, but right now I'm seeing 11-1, which means by Sept. 3 I'll be in a psychosis that won't allow me to see how Ohio State fails to go 15-0.

 PANTONI FLIP FLOPS ON PHOTOS. Mark Pantoni didn't like photos until he took one with four #teens that blossomed into a nuclear recruiting weapon.


It's a photo that encapsulates all that a staffer like Pantoni can hope for, turning high school hopefuls into college football greats and NFL Draft elite.

"I'm just a small part of this equation," Pantoni said, reserving the praise for the players and coaches. "If you want to paint the rosy picture, that's what we all envision. For it all to come true, it's pretty incredible."


"I wasn't a big photo guy," Pantoni said. "But now I want to take a lot of photos."

There's a lot to love about that photo, but my favorite part is it includes everybody from a blue chip like Joey Bosa to an unheralded three-star guy like Darron Lee. My second favorite part is it features guys from New Albany, Florida, Missouri, and New Jersey.

And all of them came to Ohio and found success in their own ways. This picture is worth more than words; it's worth approximately $123 million in first-round contract money and signing bonuses.

 IRON SHARPENS IRON. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott to run fast, evade defenders (unless he's delivering a punishing block), and score touchdowns. But Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli says the organization also drafted him to help develop toughness in their defense. 


"I'm elated because I think you always look at the big picture. ... We don't play fantasy football. It's not that. A one-yard, two-yard run there's fight and physicalness. That's good for your team. It develops toughness. We have to go against that offense every day. We play our offense more than anybody. It develops a hardness to your defense. You've got to play against a great line, a great back, now you've got to match up on an All-Pro receiver, great quarterback. ... It's the physical nature of the game, which at times is being lost in today's football. The physical nature of the game, I believe in that. This young man and the other backs are going to bring that."

Playing against Ezekiel Elliott daily didn't hurt the Silver Bullets. Hell, he was the best running back they faced all year. It may take Elliott a year or two to achieve that level of dominance in the NFL (remember, he doesn't turn 21 for two months) but he's going to make an impact right away.

 NO FLEX ZONE. Eli Apple could've worn somebody else's Rolex to the 2016 NFL Draft. Wearing somebody else's jewelry is the kind of tomfoolery that appeals to young men. Thankfully his mom, a walking 100 emoji, gave her son the guidance he needed.


Eli was offered Rolex watches and diamonds to wear on draft day. I told him, “Dude, you’re an unemployed college dropout. You will not be on TV with a Rolex.” So we decided if he needed to know what time it was, he could just look at his phone. I bought him a portable charger.

Watches are archaic and dumb, even for unemployed college dropouts. The next time I meet an interesting man with a watch collection he will be the first.

 WANT DUMPED, NCAA? Ohio State heavyweight wrestler Kyle Snyder is an NCAA champion and an Olympic hopeful headed to Rio de Janeiro this summer, so it goes without saying he could eat most men's souls.

But Snyder is also an amateur athlete, which means the thread of society would collapse if his family were to receive traveling money from the Olympic committee to watch their brethren compete in an historic international competition.

From Kyle Snyder's GoFundMe:

My name is Kyle Snyder and I'm a member of the 2016 Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team. I'm 20 years old and my goal is to become one of the greatest wrestlers that ever walked on our planet. I'm trying to raise money so my family can travel to Rio, Brazil and watch me compete in August. It will mean a lot to me to have my family in attendance at this very special event. Because I'm still a college athlete,  I'm restricted from accepting money provided by professional sports organizations, agents, and boosters of Ohio State University. Please help me reach my goal of raising enough money to get my family to Rio. I'm extremely grateful for everyone's support of this cause.

As of right now, Kyle has raised $5,854 of his stated goal of $20K. If you're in position to help, you can donate by clicking HERE.

 THOSE WMDs. Medical errors may cause over 250,000 deaths a year... Ransomware promises to donate earnings to charity... Dad went To Catch a Predator to catch man molesting his daughter... Busting a $70 million counterfeiting ring... The Nazi Underground.

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