Labor Day Skull Session: Deep Ball Issues Linger, Ohio State Opens as Nine-Point Favorite on Oklahoma, and Epic Fan Attendance Streak Ends

By D.J. Byrnes on September 4, 2017 at 4:59 am
J.K. Dobbins jump cuts the September 4th 2017 Skull Session

Special shoutout to the working men and women in this country who fought and bled for such radical ideas as "the weekend," "the eight hour workday," and "overtime pay." Truly some of the most underrated heroes in this country.



Word of the Day: Micturate.

 STILL TALKIN' DEEP BALLS. Ohio State rolled up nearly 600 yards after scoring only 13 points in the first half against Indiana. The offense wasn't perfect, as offenses rarely are in the first game of the season.

But one glaring issue was the inconsistency of the deep ball, which the coaching staff stressed this summer.


Ohio State’s most glaring issue all of last season was the inability to push the ball down the field in the vertical passing game. The Buckeyes worked on it all spring and summer, said how it was coming along and that it would be different from last year. Then it wasn’t.

The same problems from last year persisted against Indiana.

The only thing that was better in the three-pronged mechanism that includes quarterback, receiver and offensive line was the protection. Receivers weren’t always open, and when they were Barrett missed them. He over-shot an open Marcus Baugh in the end zone on one throw. When Barrett put a ball on the money to Campbell, he dropped it.

As the author noted, perhaps we'd think different of this if Parris Campbell didn't drop a wide-open touchdown pass. That was a narrative-changing play.

But that's how it worked last year, too. Sometimes there wouldn't be protection. If there was, receivers wouldn't get open. If they did, J.T. Barrett sometimes missed them. If he didn't, they'd sometimes drop it.

Seems to me we'll know whether this was just first-game inconsistencies or will be a yearlong lingering issue early Sunday morning.

 BET THE RENT. Ohio State entered Norman, Oklahoma last season in a pick 'em contest against the Sooners. The Buckeyes put the Sooners in a puddle of their own blood.

This week in Columbus, Ohio State will enter the game as decisive favorites.


OddsShark released their spread for the game, and it shows the Buckeyes opened as 9-point favorites in the primetime match-up, which will kick off at 7:30 PM EST, and be broadcasted on ABC. Most books on the site have the game now at Ohio State -7.

-7 sounds 'bout right to me. I don't gamble, but if I did, I'd put it on the Buckeyes. As long as the offense doesn't look like a pyre, the defense will wear them down over four quarters.

 /SALUTE. As anybody who has attended one knows, going to Ohio State games requires ample time and money. Thousands of fans go to every home game. Some elite few keep streaks for decades.

When Oklahoma plays Ohio State, the Shoe will be without a man who had to have had the longest home attendance streak in the country.


When Ohio State opens its home season Saturday against Oklahoma, John Crawford won’t be in the seats for the first time since World War II.

“We were making arrangements to bring him any way we could — wheelchair, anything,” said Jon Orr, his son-in-law.

But the 86-year-old Crawford succumbed Wednesday night to a fast-moving blood disorder, diagnosed a few months earlier through a routine physical. He was in hospice care when he died.

Crawford’s home-game streak spanning 74 years brought him much attention, but wasn’t all that defined him, said his wife, Harriet.

There's only thing for the Buckeyes left to do: Demolish the Sooners in honor of the legendary Crawford.

 JACOB JARVIS STORY. Jacob Jarvis, the heroic young Ohio State fan diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, is probably the most popular Buckeye fan in the world.

But renowned 12th Warrior GoBucks2204 sat down with Jarvis' family for an article that goes beyond his Buckeye fandom.

From Nicholas Jackson of

Jake really wanted his step-father to take him to an OSU game, but his words to Jake were, “I’m not taking you to a game until you can watch a full game at home on TV.” For a while Jake was only half interested, until around the age of ten when a switch turned on.  Jake became captivated with ESPN, the Big Ten Network, and anything else he could watch about football. Mr. Studebaker related that to this day, he doesn’t need to read up about the coming opponent, because Jake knows all the stats, and scouting reports of the best players on the opposing teams.

Jake not only has a deep love for football, he has a visible passion for life. As Jake professed to me, he is introverted, so while he may be quiet on the outside, he is anything but quiet on the inside. As Jake’s love for football was steadily growing, a quiet, but vibrant faith had taken root and was growing in the heart of Jake.

Also learned Jake started life as a Michigan fan. Always good to see people prospering after rectifying bad decisions in early life.

This is the first installation of a three part series, so stay tuned.

 PROPS TO THE WOLVERINES. I hoped Florida would beat Michigan despite suspending 10 players, because the only thing that would've been more hilarious than the result would have been the angst of Michigan fans.

Thankfully we got plenty of Wolverine angst in the first half (leading to Michigan's king troll blocking me on Twitter). In the end, though, Michigan bulldozed Florida.

It was weird seeing Michigan making explosive plays. Still not worried about a statue named Wilton carving up the Silver Bullets come November, though.

 BAMA: NOT BAD? Florida State lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois for the year, and Alabama looked like a team that won the championship last season, not lost it.

So yeah, Alabama will be good again this year.


That faltering finish served as starting fuel for the 2017 season. A ‘Bama team that became the first in draft history with seven selections in the first 55 picks and nine in the first 90 simply plugged in new studs and kept mauling.

The machine never stops. Especially defensively, where seven of those draft picks left what appeared to be major holes. They don’t appear so major now.

“We had a lot of young guys step up,” said defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, the best of all ‘Bama players on that side of the ball.

I respect what Nick Saban built in Tuscaloosa. Can't wait 'til he retires, either.

 THOSE WMDs. VIDEO: How tennis became the killer of kings... Football favoritism at FSU: The price one teacher paid... Reinventing the toilet... The terrifying nature of the new cyber-ware... The premium mediocre life of Maya Millennial... The making of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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