Skull Session: Ohio State–Penn State '05 Changed College Football Programming, Shaun Wade Will Miss Basketball, and Ohio Still Respectable in Blue Chip Production

By D.J. Byrnes on June 30, 2016 at 4:59 am
Tony Alford doesn't know what he just saw from the June 30th 2016 Skull Session, but he likes it.

Offseason TV programming alert:


  • Urban Meyer hired former Kentucky head coach and ace recruiter Joker Phillips in a support role.

 REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE FIFTH OF OCTOBER. I often contend 1986 was the best year in which to be born. (Okay, maybe 1992.)

I first logged #on to the internet in 1993, though we didn't have true smart phones until my sophomore year of college. No social media existed in high school (which would've ended with me wearing a black bag over my head 23 hours a day in Guantanamo Bay), and I never used a TV without a remote I didn't previously lease.

Salute to everyone that came up on sports in black and white or fuzzy early color sports broadcasts. One day y'all will get your statue.

After the 1990s—the only thing I remember is 007: Golden Eye was lit and everyone made money—I came up on Ohio State games in vivid color and stereo sound. 

So yes, I remember Oct. 5, 2005. Jim Tressel wrung 10 points out of Troy Smith, Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., and Antonio Pittman before losing 17-10 to Penn State. I thought Jim Tressel lost the plot, and I remain thankful the Crying Jordan hadn't yet blossomed.

I remember drinking a 40 oz. of Olde English 800 in Missoula, Montana, surrounded by enemies of the state who roasted me for all my life's choices as the team I loved to know got smothered with a pillow by a 78-year-old coach on national television.

(To Tressel's credit, he opened the playbook and didn't lose again until Urban Meyer clown-stomped in the 2007 BCS national championship.)

While I will never look back on that date fondly, I learned of a silver lining to come from that ground-and-pound. It scared Major League Baseball from ruining October Saturdays with broadcasts of the World Series.


[ESPN college football programmer Dan] Brown said that game changed the way all networks program in October, especially. Specifically, it gave ESPN confidence it could go up against Major League Baseball's postseason and eventually the World Series in prime time if it had a strong enough draw.

Brown believes Penn State's 17-10 upset in a rollicking Beaver Stadium, juiced by PSU's six years largely away from the college football limelight, made enough of a statement to Fox's MLB broadcasts that they soon began shying away from Saturday night. Though there was no MLB postseason action that night – the Astros-Braves and Cardinals-Padres NLDS games were in the afternoon – Brown said the big number put up by OSU@PSU in prime time helped convince MLB to schedule away from college football in the future, even during the World Series:

"Shortly after that, they went to a Wednesday-to-Wednesday schedule as opposed to going against college football on two Saturdays because college football was incredibly strong on the weekends."

Eleven years later (I need to die), and riding the Meyer Golden Era while living on a 100 percent tea diet, the Penn State loss doesn't hurt me as much now that I know it kicked the World Series down a peg or two.

What's really going to be wild is when some sport—basketball, maybe?—knocks football off its high horse. It could happen in my lifetime, even though I'll be an old chuff by then.

 SHAUN WADE WILL MISS BASKETBALL. Urban Meyer covets multi-sport high school prospects, so it's no surprise to find out Ohio State 2017 commit Shaun Wade is an excellent basketball player.

Though he's a five-star football recruit, he earned looks from Western Kentucky, Florida Gulf Coast, and the University of Miami for his prowess as a pass-first point guard down in Florida.

Wade's first love is basketball, but he's also a sensible man. 


Wade is currently committed to Ohio State, but still considering Alabama and Florida. He said college will be “easy money” for him.

“I can go the league in football and make money for my future family, so I just gotta do what I gotta do,” Wade said. “Hopefully when I’m in the NFL, it’ll be funny to think back to me wanting to play basketball. But it will always be my first love.

“If I want to coach after I’m done playing, I’ll choose basketball over football.”

He can handle himself on the basketball court, which makes it nice as an Ohio State fan to realize he's an even higher caliber football player.

 WHERE THE WILD #CROOTS ROAM. There used to be a time Ohio State could compete with a core of only Ohio-bred players and compete for a championship. It was admirable; however, times change. 

The good news is Ohio is producing more blue chips than places like Alabama and Louisiana. The bad news is it's a tier below Florida, Texas, California, and Georgia. 

From list of blue chips produced by state, the top seven:

STATE '17 '16 '15 '14 '13' TOTAL % OF TOTAL
FLORIDA 45 47 50 42 46 230 14%
TEXAS 43 52 47 37 46 225 13.7%
CALIFORNIA 36 45 44 34 41 200 12.2%
GEORGIA 33 26 34 23 25 141 8.6%
OHIO 15 12 17 15 19 78 4.8%
LOUISIANA 12 21 13 16 12 74 4.5%
ALABAMA 14 8 12 11 13 58 3.5%

(Michigan, for the record, tied with Maryland at No. 15 with 35 blue chips over six years.)

Take into account how many of those blue chips from Ohio can go toe-to-toe with the national caliber of athlete Meyer recruits these days. Hell, they asked four-star RB Todd Sibley to grey shirt.

Michigan State (and Michigan) will continue to poach some three-star gems, but I like Ohio State's chances with any instate talent should the Buckeyes identify an underrated talent and come knocking.

In the end, championships are worth the Ohio talent drain on the roster.

 JOHNNIE DIXON GOT JACKED. The knees of Johnnie Dixon, a former four-star recruiting coupe d'état out of South Florida, haven't cooperated with him throughout his Ohio State career.

At least they didn't keep him from skipping an arm workout.

Here he is standing next to Zone 6 comrade Parris Campbell, who is another guy looking to put injuries behind him:


My brotha frfr 

A photo posted by johnniedixon1 (@johnniedixon1) on


Prediction: Dixon is going to stiff-arm some Big Ten DB and it's going to be World Star levels.

 SAM HUBBARD: MICHIGAN MAN? Mark Pantoni is known for showing classic childhood pictures of Buckeye footballers on social media in celebration their birthdays. Wednesday, he shared a picture of Sam Hubbard that may make Michigan fans whimsical:

Taylor Decker got the inside scoop on the blurred photo:

Don't worry, Michigan football. Notre Dame lacrosse has the cab waiting outside.

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