Skull Session: Bet the Rent on Ohio State (-31½), Dwayne Train Domino Effect, and College Assistant Workload

By D.J. Byrnes on October 4, 2017 at 4:59 am
Denzel Ward tackles the October 4th 2017 Skull Session

Urban Meyer said last week star defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones cut his leg on a locker and needed "some stitches."

I'm no doctor, but this looks more serious than a routine cut:

As the world turns...


Word of the Day: Donnybrook.

 BET THE RENT. As your financial advisor, I told you last week to liquidate all assets and bet the rent (or "mortgage") on Ohio State (-29) vs. Rutgers.

Urban Meyer owns his former assistants. So if you didn't book a ticket to Gravy City last week, the good news is opportunity knocks once again. The Model© is back, and it loves the local team.


SportsLine's Projection Model turned in double-digit profitable weeks in college football last season across all picks, including a remarkable 18-4 run on straight-up picks to open the season. Anyone who followed it during those weeks profited big. And it's fresh off a week in which it called LSU struggling against Troy and Ohio Statecontinuing to cover huge spreads. 

This week, the model simulated every top-25 game, plus the rest of the slate, and the results were surprising. 

The model is once again loving Ohio State, this time to cruise past Maryland, 49-11. The Buckeyes are 4-1 against the spread this season, and will easily cover a huge 31.5-point line on Saturday. Expect the Over to hit as well. 

Maryland is a lot better than 2½ points over Rutgers. Plus, Maryland is "catching Ohio State at a bad time" as we love to say in the biz. I respect their results against Texas and Minnesota, but it's still the same team that lost by four touchdowns to Central Florida at home.

 THE HASKINS EFFECT. Maryland fired head coach Randy Edsall during its open week and before playing Ohio State in 2015. That led to longtime Terrapins commit Dwayne Haskins (and Keandre Jones) flipping to Ohio State.

That left new Maryland coach D.J. Durkin scrambling for a quarterback. Eventually he flipped a guy named Max from Buffalo, the third-string QB that will start Saturday.


Max Bortenschlager’s path to becoming Maryland’s starting quarterback began a few weeks before National Signing Day 2016 — when he was committed to Buffalo and preparing to spend his college football career in the Mid-American Conference.

It took a scholarship slot that suddenly came open, when blue-chip prospect Dwayne Haskins flipped his commitment from Maryland to Ohio State, to send Terrapins offensive coordinator Walt Bell to Indianapolis to try to convince Bortenschlager to consider jumping to Maryland.

Maryland wanted more than just any quarterback to fill an empty scholarship slot, however. It wanted someone specifically with Bortenschlager’s temperament, which suggested that he would not easily fold in competition with higher-rated prospects at the position and that he could handle being thrown into the fray as a young starter if the situation arose.

We'll see how that temperament fairs on 3rd and 7 with a blitzing Nick Bosa looking to pile drive him through the Earth's crusts. If he goes on a four-hour carpet ride and dumps Ohio State, I'll tilt my cap as always. Don't think that's happening, though.

 PROS ADJUST TO AMATEUR LIFE. College football is an amateur sport only in that the players don't get paid with real money.

Everything else, down to the workload of assistant coaches, is professionalized. But assistant coaching roles are less glamorous than their professional counterparts.

Take the cases of new Buckeye assistants Ryan Day and Bill Davis.


“The schedule is different,” the source began. “And I don’t just mean games on Saturdays vs Sundays. When you add in all the recruiting you have to do as a college coach, getting use to the workload as a college coach can be a big adjustment. Coaches work a lot of hours – long hours during the season. And you add on recruiting, it really can be an adjustment. The guys that go from the NFL to college at a place like Ohio State are getting paid a lot, but they’re earning their money especially when you look at what they were doing in the NFL.”

The travel schedule covering the team is brutal. (Road trips to Piscataway and Lincoln? Not for me.) I couldn't imagine having to recruit coast to coast to satisfy Meyer's maniacal demands.

 TIM BECK FOR HEISMAN. Tim Beck leaving did not cure Ohio State's offensive woes, despite what a lot of fans thought. However, hiring Tim Beck hasn't done miracles for Tom Herman's Texas offense.

The founder of MENSA, the organization for geniuses, admits its back to the drawing board after only posting 17 points against Iowa State.


"It's back to the drawing board," Herman said.

In its last two games, against Southern California and Iowa State, Texas has scored 34 points in regulation and rushed for 209 yards, a 2.4 yard average. The offense ranks seventh in the Big 12. Starting quarterback Shane Buechele (sprained ankle) is in a protective boot, although he practiced Sunday with a large brace.

"He won't be 100 percent," Herman said, "but a quarterback with an ankle probably doesn't need to be 100 percent to be serviceable."

Indeed, a quarterback without an ankle would not be serviceable.

 STOOPS DOUBLES DOWN ON RETIREMENT. Bob Stoops has heard your "Stoops to Notre Dame" rumors, and he wants you to know he's fine playing Bocci in Youngstown, where you won't believe a Mahoning County grand jury just indicted a downtown developer.


Stoops emphatically said he will never coach college football again, or take a shot at an NFL coaching job.

“I will say, regardless of what you might hear out there in the papers, if I intended again to coach that would have been part of my statement,” said Stoops, who retired in June after 18 seasons at Oklahoma. “I would have said, ‘I’m stepping away here now for this time for myself, but when it comes to the next year or two, I look forward to getting back in it.’

“But that’s not what I said. You won’t see me on a college sideline or a pro sideline. A lot of people act like they know, and there will be more than a few jobs out there. But that isn’t at all what I’m looking to do.”

Easier to say that before a school desperate for football relevancy shakes millions of dollars in his face.

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