Skull Session: The Deep Ball Fallacy, Michigan Trails Ohio State in Title Odds, and Huskers WR Calls Buckeyes 'Beatable'

By D.J. Byrnes on November 1, 2016 at 4:59 am
Tyquan Lewis eyes the November 1st 2016 Skull Session.

Not a single trick or treater knocked on my door last night.

I told Whitney to take the bowl of candy to work and make it rain on her students. Otherwise, I was dumping it in the street before it morphed into slabs of fat dangling from my rotting body.

Apparently, the CFP Committee releases its first 2016 rankings tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Be sure to do your part as a Buckeye fan and log into Eleven Warriors dot com to get mad about worthless arbitrary rankings.

 THE DEEP BALL FALLACY. The play where the quarterback throws the ball long to a receiver is a good football play. We all love to know it.

The coaching staff hasn't called that play this much this year. And when they have, a connection has been rarer. 

We've fretted over this as opposing defenses used the Cover 3 to prevent it. It turns out, outside of 2014, the 2016 team's deep ball pace is right on track with Urban Meyer-coached teams.


The search for the next Smith -- a prototypical deep-ball receiver -- has been fun, interesting and futile. So let's stop. That guy is not in the receiver rotation. He might not be on Ohio State's roster at all. That much has been evident this season with the Buckeyes struggling to find ways to stretch the field with a vertical passing game.


Meyer has called the Buckeyes "kind of a 'shot team'," meaning a major part of the offense should be throwing deep passes down the field. But that's only been true in one of his five seasons in Columbus.

They completed 32 passes of 30 yards or more in 2014, which was the fourth most in the country, but have never completed more than 18 in any other season. This year, they have nine through eight games. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, the Buckeyes averaged 17 completions of 20 yards or more. The numbers are down this year, but the Buckeyes are still on pace to be not that far off their average.

People forget Devin Smith didn't arrive on campus as we remember him. He elevated his game for that stretch run.

It's not like he set the NFL on fire, either. He finished his rookie season with nine catches and a long of 39-yards, though he's been on the PUP list in 2016.

So maybe we don't need Devin Smith to walk through that door. Maybe we just need a receiver to get hot. The latter might sound like a long shot, but it's more probable than the former.

 MICHIGAN STILL TRAILING OHIO STATE IN TITLE ODDS. Alabama is still the runaway betting favorite to win the 2016 title, which seems like a kiss of death.

Clemson solidified its hold on No. 2 over the weekend by skewering Florida State.

Michigan, however, failed to leap Ohio State despite beating Michigan State in East Lansing for the first time since 2007.

SCHOOL 10/25 ODDS 10/31 ODDS
ALABAMA 8/5 8/5
CLEMSON 7/1 5/1
OHIO STATE 9/2 5/1
MICHIGAN 6/1 11/2

Worse news in the Heisman front: Lamar Jackson still leads at 1/3 (fine), but J.T. Barrett fell to 33/1 (bad).

The worst news is Jabrill Peppers at No. 2 with 9/2 odds.

Peppers is a fine football player but his Heisman candidacy is a scam. Let's hope Jackson's play and ligaments hold it down.

 THE HUSKER CHOICE: SAD OR MAD. How bad was the Nebraska loss to Wisconsin? Head coach Mike Riley used the word "haunting" three times in his Monday presser.

But Riley made his team's choice clear: It can either get sad or mad. Those are the options. Riley is hoping for the latter.


"I think our team actually will be mad," coach Mike Riley said Monday. "You can be sad, or you can be mad, and you can have a chip on your shoulder and know we can be better and go play hard. We'll have to play hard and well to win, but that's the approach our team will take."


"We're not going to be hung up about it and be sad about that," tight end Trey Foster said. "The season's right in front of us. Nobody's dreams have been crushed."

So there you have it: Nebraska won't be sad come Saturday night.

Perhaps most interesting, however, is we're at the point where receivers averaging 36 yards a game are calling Ohio State "beatable."

"It makes you feel a little better, that they are beatable and teams have been able to do stuff on them," receiver Jordan Westerkamp said. "We'll watch those games, obviously, real close and come up with an awesome game plan and be ready to go."

The Urban Meyer Disrespekt Industrial Complex could probably spin this into bulletin board material, but it's hard to argue with Westerkamp's assessment at this point. 

 D'ANGELO RUSSELL DIDN'T SNITCH. D'Angelo Russell secretly recorded Nick Young, his 30-year-old teammate, confessing to making sex with #teens he met at clubs (among other trysts). The tape leaked and Young's fiancée, "rapper" Iggy Azalea, eventually left him.

Somehow New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings is still aggrieved by this.


It all started with a question from one of his followers, asking Jennings what he thinks of Russell and if he could be an all-star.

Jennings answered the question with, “Dude is a Great Hooper,” but didn’t stop there.

He also added, “but I don’t respect a snitch”.

That's not snitching. Snitching is when you do crime with somebody, get pinched, and immediately roll over on your cohorts when faced with the ramifications of your actions.


 DUBGATE SIREN. Nebraska at Ohio State is a top-10 matchup.

If you're coming to Columbus this weekend (or already live there like a savant), be sure to check out two key events thrown by the Eleven Warriors gang:

I can only attend one event this year. I chose the Dubgate because while I love to know Land-Grant, I never pass up an opportunity to day drink in a convenient store parking lot for charity.

 THOSE WMDs. The moment Teddy Bridgewater went down... Quarry pulled off the year's best-directed TV sequence... Woman accidentally steals identical Subaru... Evidence for water on Mars is overwhelming... Scientists: Chubby older fathers are more attractive to women, live longer.

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