Marionaire Christmas Skull Session: The Game's Decisive Matchup, McCray's Unique Perspective, and Harbaugh Demand Drops

By D.J. Byrnes on November 22, 2017 at 4:59 am
Warren G. Harding prepares to phone the November 23rd 2017 Skull Session

The 29th and Greatest U.S. President


The Skull Session got shouted out at last night's Piqua commission meeting by Ward 4 representive Judy Terry. Thunderstruck, I nearly fell off my seat and feared the venerable Chief Jamison would soon be commanded to arrest me.

But lo! Commissioner Terry's son, who lives Cincinnati now, reads 11W and passed word of my pro-Piqua takes. At this rate, my prophecy of 42-13 will be tame compared the one true local team corraling those carnies up north.

Today's ill omen forecast not looking good for Michigan, either. It's Marionaire Christmas, the most most blessed Wednesday of the year ever since Warren G. Harding ordained it in 1921 via executive order (pictured above, seconds after putting quill to parchment, with the first iPhone).

Some flee hometowns and never go back. Still lying 20 years later to friends about lineage. A sickening amount of "Marionaires" claim Columbus when not under oath in front of a City of Kings magistrate.

Local man marries local woman, both go on to own galaxies.

I pity them, as with anyone lacking pride for the incubator that forged them. That pride, that thumping wolf heart inside us, is what separates this state from the loosely affiliated militias up north. That's why, after staking those bozos to a 20-year lead, we stand on the brink of them crucifying the man ostensibly sent from the cosmos to salvage a MAC-level program.

"The Ohio Renaissance," as the bards will call it, is almost upon us. Let no worthy soul go left behind.


Word of the Day: Fop.

 ONE MATCHUP TO DECIDE IT ALL. I've watched Michigan more than any other non-Buckeye team this year. The Wolverines can't run the ball consistently on any defense of note.

Donovan Peoples-Jones isn't consistent either. But unlike their rushing attack, he shows flashes of greatness. Thankfully, this year he'll have to go against future NFL player Denzel Ward.

It's a decisive matchup in The Game that's decidedly titled in Ohio State's favor.


Ward has proven he can be an impact player both in the secondary as well as on special teams. That kind of versatility combined with his spectacular speed makes him a dangerous player that Michigan must account for on every snap.

How Peoples-Jones can impact Ohio State's defense: Michigan is not a good passing team this year throwing to its wide receivers. But when the Wolverines do that, Peoples-Jones is the guy his quarterbacks are looking to.

He is a physically gifted receiver with the size at 6-foot-2 to go up and get a pass. But he is also fast enough to be a vertical threat, as he showed on this play vs. Wisconsin.

While I'm more than confident in Ward's ability, shit can happen in The Game. Not saying it will—I would never sin like that—but it could. DPJ would be a prime suspect if it did.

 BLASPHEMERS IN LINE FOR ANOTHER L. I don't respect Ohioans who play for Michigan. But, living in the majestic Miami Valley, I have come to know and respect Trotwood-Madison.

Mike McCray, a Trotwood alumnus, has a unique perspective beyond just being a traitor. 

From Kyle Rowland of The Toledo Blade:

The linebacker grew up a Buckeye fan, the son of a former OSU captain. McCray and his father, also named Mike, are the only father-son combination in the game’s history to captain rival schools.

McCray Sr. was 1-3 against Michigan. McCray II has yet to beat the Buckeyes.

“We are tired of going home and people talking about us losing to them,” said McCray II, a Trotwood native.

Sadly, this tale gets even more tragic. The condemned son pulled his noble father into the abyss.

Not only is the senior McCray breaking Thanksgiving bread with his son, he's thankful for his decision.


McCray Sr. and his wife planned to drive up to Ann Arbor to celebrate Thanksgiving with their son. He plans to return to Ohio on Friday because the Trotwood-Madison football will be playing in a state semifinal game. But he’ll make the trek back to Ann Arbor on Saturday for “The Game.” 

“I’m thankful,” McCray Sr. said. “I think it was the right decision for him.”

McCray Sr. said he sent his son a text last week telling him he was happy “seeing you become a man.” His son was asked Monday about Ohio State’s recruitment of him. He responded with a “no comment.”

Rivalry aside, I respect McCray. Let's just hope his coaches are dumb enough to assign him to cover J.K. Dobbins in the flats.

 HARBAUGH #BRAND WEAK. Harbaugh came to Ann Arbor and worked the angles akin to a #teen building a YouTube following. Three years later and no quarterbacks or trophies to show for it, the act is not anywhere close to be entertaining. In fact, it's starting to resemble a band of geriatrics on tour after 75% of its members died. 


There is more than anecdotal evidence that Harbaugh demand has dropped. Google Trends tracks the frequency that its engine is asked to search for particular terms over time and charts them on a scale of 0 to 100. A 100 is the busiest time for that topic and a score of 1, for example, would mean that search requests at that time were 1 percent of the peak.

The peak for "Jim Harbaugh" searches -- his 100 mark -- in the past three years came in January 2015, the week after Michigan introduced him as its new head coach. His first round of satellite camps that June registered as a 50 and the controversial loss to Ohio State in November 2016 garnered an 84. In 2017, the search rating hasn't reached higher than a 30, and rarely has it climbed into double digits.

"I wasn't doing anything to get on the radar then, and I'm not doing anything now to stay off the radar," Harbaugh said this week. "Just coaching the football team. That's always been my goal."

It's only going to get worse for Harbaugh until he wins a big game. And then after that, he needs to win a championship. And that's just his contract talking. Michigan already pays championship money despite him not having even a divisional championship.

 BUCKEYE AWAY FACILITIES: RESPECTABLE. Despite this week where they want to crush each other's dreams, Harbaugh and Urban Meyer agreed earlier this season that the Big Ten needed to look into conditions of away locker rooms.

A few commenters asked about Ohio State's away facilities. Thanks to an intrepid reporter, we have answers.

From Lori Schmidt of 97.1 The Fan:

The Buckeyes do have the ability to X-ray players at Ohio Stadium. If an MRI is needed, that equipment is a minute away by ambulance.


Ohio State furnishes a police escort from the hotel to the stadium on game day, and from the game “to the airport or to I-270” after.


One of Harbaugh’s complaints about Purdue was the stifling heat. Ohio State’s visiting locker room, on the other hand, is air conditioned.

“We have an appropriate HVAC system,” said spokesman Ben Johnson. He also notes there are 70 lockers there.

That's what I like to hear. Given the money spent and made, it'd be embarrassing if Ohio State had to rely on draconian visitor locker rooms for an edge.

 BET ON IOWA. Nebraska wants to make playing Iowa a tradition on Black Friday. Sure, whatever. Maybe I'll watch once.

This year, neither will be in Indianapolis. Husker frontman Mike Riley is a dead man coaching. Kirk Ferentz  and his staff, fresh off a 6-5 season and 3rd place finish in the Big Ten West, are playing for dollar bills.

2018 goal: Hire Ferentz's agent.

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