Skull Session: Jordan's Building Block Year, Linebacker Depth Chart, and Bucks Best Chance to Go Undefeated

By D.J. Byrnes on August 11, 2017 at 4:59 am
Damon Arnette looks to cover the August 11 2017 Skull Session.

Event calendar notification: The Miami County Fair opens tonight at the fairgrounds in the illustrious Troy, Ohio, USA. My goal is to win the demolition derby after demolishing my sobriety with six FourLokos.

Also, be on the watch for Ezekiel Elliott suspension news, which the NFL will undoubtedly try to shuffle out at 5 p.m. ET unless an enterprising reporter scoops them. (It won't be me.)

P.S. Aren't y'all glad you allowed me to double your net worth over night by betting on Browns (-3) over the Saints? I'm not paying for a single drink tonight; I know that much.


Word of the Day: Nimbus.

 BUILDING ON LAST YEAR. Isaiah Prince struggling at right tackle last year took a lot of pressure off true freshman Michael Jordan at left guard. Starting a freshman on the offensive line is never ideal, and Jordan was far from perfect.

But the good news is he knows that, and he's used those struggles as a springboard into this year. 


When Jordan proved to be the best option, he braced for some resentment among older teammates. He said it didn’t happen.

“That’s where Ohio State is really different,” Jordan said. “It’s a brotherhood. Honestly, the best person deserves to play for the O-line. J.T. (Barrett) deserves the best five up front. J.T. is trying to do big things, so we need the best guys. I thought it was going to be like that — hard conversations — but it wasn’t. We all love each other.”


“I feel a lot more prepared,” Jordan said. “Last year, I was just getting here. It was kind of like getting thrown into the fire. I’m just trying to survive. This year I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’m a lot better. I got stronger, I got faster and I understand the offense better this year.”

A big myth in college football is that players improve ever year. That is not always the case. Yet, I am fully confident in Jordan improving on last year's campaign. If he does, it will be another crucial step toward returning the offensive line to prominence.

Let's just hope he doesn't get injured this year. But if he does, let's hope Ohio State has finally developed some depth behind him. His injury last year during the Fiesta Bowl was truly the biggest "ah shit" moment of the game.

 LOOKING AT LINEBACKERS. During spring, the big question about the linebackers was who would replace the departed Raekwon McMillan in the middle. Chris Worley, whom coaches shifted into the middle, answered that emphatically.

That made way for Dante Booker, whom Jerome Baker supplanted last year after Booker injured his knee against Bowling Green. Here's what it looks like behind those guys.


• Sam linebacker: Dante Booker is the starter, and it sounds like Malik Harrison is the top backup.

• Mike linebacker: Worley is the starter, and Davis listed three players behind him fighting for that No. 2 spot. They are Justin Hilliard, Tuf Borland and true freshman Baron Browning.

• Will linebacker: Baker is the starter with Keandre Jones backing him up. Davis said Hilliard and Borland have also been getting some reps at Will.

Sounds like most of the country will be envious of Ohio State's second-string linebackers. That's lightyears ahead of where the corps was when Urban Meyer descended from the heavens into Columbus.

 GET DUMPED THEN, BAMA. Rejoice, folks, because the Buckeyes are going undefeated this year. We know this because a mystical ESPN formula told us so.


ESPN's College Football Power Index has firmly planted its flag on Ohio State -- not Alabama -- as the best team in the country heading into the season. The model thinks the Buckeyes are about a field goal better than Alabama on a neutral field, but one projection in particular drives the point home.

FPI doesn't project who will make the College Football Playoff because humans make up the committee and will determine who makes football's final four. But the easiest way to lock up a spot in the playoff is to be a Power 5 school and win all your games (simple, right?). Going undefeated is something FPI projects. And that's really where Ohio State shines.

Ohio State has a 35 percent chance to be undefeated entering bowl season, the best in the country. While Nick Saban's team is second-best in that measure, Alabama has just a 10 percent shot at accomplishing the same feat. Oklahoma (5.4 percent) and Washington (5 percent) round out the top four in this area. In other words, there's Ohio State, and there's everyone else.

Call me a hipster if you must; I don't want Ohio State to go undefeated in the regular season. Sign me up for an early loss to keep the lads humble. (People forget Urban Meyer hasn't had an undefeated championship season.)

If I had to pick, I'd choose to lose to Oklahoma before drawing them in a CFP rematch.

 WHAT DOES IT MEAN, TOM? I love everything about this tweet. It's an entirely whacky premise left unexplained beyond 140 characters.

HOW ARE THESE SCALES HELPING PREPARE TO BLOCK THE RUSHMEN PACKAGE? I remain mystified and even more confident Ohio State covers by 25 points.

 WEST VIRGINIAN LIKES DISGUSTING DRINK. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing America things like Subway and Gatorade are "healthy."

No, they're disgusting. And Gatorade in a can sounds even worse than Gatorade in a plastic bottle. Yet West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen sounds like a disciple:

Could also just be a millionaire coach giving a free impromptu ad to a sponsor. Somehow, that's an even more depressing possibility.

 THOSE WMDs. London police arrest jogger who shoved woman into bus' path... Voicemails from the dead... Feds' Cold War bunker had $4 billion in cash... Hiroshima... What a fraternity hazing death revealed about the search for an Asian-American identity.

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