Skull Session: Pondering a Quarterback Bluff, Stopping Bucky's Beefy Sons, and Boomer Sooner or Whatever

By D.J. Byrnes on December 1, 2017 at 4:59 am
Bucky Badger wants dumped for the December 1st 2017 Skull Session

Folks, have you ever been to the Virgin Islands/Caribbean? Do you love animals? Well, they can't buy a plane ticket off the islands when a hurricane strikes:

In other important news, I finished The Sopranos. I've put it off for a decade. The rumors were true about its banger status. But I didn't think anything would shatter the last shard of my soul like what Tony did to Chris until that "cut to black" series finalé.

I'm old enough to remember the outrage when it happened, and I now understand. David Chase, the producer, fell in love with a fictional psycopath and didn't have the heart to do what ultimately needed to be done.

If you want the textbook on how to end a crime show, check out The Shield. (I like The Wire and The Sopranos more overall, but The Shield is underrated and the finale is flawless.)


Word of the Day: Salud.

 MAKES YOU THINK. Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch, whom you should follow on Twitter, broke a story yesterday about J.T. Barrett undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sunday. 

Urban Meyer, however, says Barrett has been medically cleared and "is going to be play in the game."

It's a curious choice of words. "Going to play in the game" is a lot different than "He's our starter."

As anybody who has undergone surgery can attest, there's nothing routine about it. Plus it's not like Barrett has to log a double shift in a cubicle tomorrow. And it's not like a knee isn't crucial to his leg, which is crucial to Meyer's ultimate goals.

I'm not reporting anything (breaking news), but I feel there's a bigger chance Haskins starts than most people talk about.

Yet this is the same coach that started Barrett after an Ann Arbor Assassin tried to clip him with a camera and aggravated the odiously ongoing "meniscus issue where it pops out and has to be popped back in."

Barrett will obviously want to play if he's alive. But does Barrett with a banged up knee coming off arthroscopic surgery six days prior give Ohio State the best chance to beat the country's No. 1 defense? Obviously I don't think so, otherwise I wouldn't be asking the gentle reader a hypothetical question in an underhanded attempt to push an agenda.

 STOPPING THE BEEFY BOYS. We're roughly 24 hours from the B1G Battle in Indy, and I have yet to stir an inkling of hatred for the Badgers. The most edgy thing I can say about their program, as of right now, is Paul Chryst is undoubtedly the most boring coach in the league, at least publicly. 

Respect where it's due, though. The Badgers are like McDonald's. Everybody is familiar with the system, and results vary from "extremely good after three beers" to "dumpster of processed garbage meat."

From Bill Rabinowitz of

“Their system is what it is,” Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. “It works year after year after year. We have a major challenge getting the kids ready to go play.”


The average weight of the Badgers’ offensive linemen is more than 322 pounds.


“You have to tackle. You have to tackle. You have to tackle,” Coombs said. “We pride ourselves in being a very good tackling unit. I think it’s one of the better tackling units we’ve ever had, and they’re going to have to tackle this week.”

The play of OSU's linebackers will have a massive role in deciding how this going is going to swing. Not only with tackling, but staying disciplined—not always a guaranteed thing this year, especially on the outside.

Here's an infographic you will definitely see Saturday night:

I hope Ohio State sells out on the run and dares Alex Hornibrook beat them over four quarters. I'll roll the dice in that casino any day of the week. 

Last time the Buckeyes faced a line with this kind of talent, Baker Mayfield lurked. Hornibrook can't escape like that (no idea why Wisconsin has never thought about recruiting a guy with mobility. No idea why I'm giving them advice, either.)

 BOOMER SOONER? My favorite thing about this time of year is everybody acting like they know exactly what the committee will do in at least 150 Championship Saturday scenarios.

That's not the repressed nerd sarcasm folks have come to love and know. Every year, I say, "I don't care about the CFP Poll until the last one. I'm a Big Boy Media Member now."

And every year, I'm coming down on my laptop like Moses and foretelling the local team among the chosen tribes.

I don't think Texas Christian beating Oklahoma would be bad for the Bucks, unless the Hornfrogs just crush the Sooners. But Oklahoma winning would definitely be better.


Oklahoma doesn’t goof up the Big 12 Championship to TCU

This one may be hard to swallow, but Buckeye nation should be rooting for Baker Mayfield and the Sooners to wallop the TCU Horned Frogs in the reboot of the Big 12 Championship Game.

Since the Sooners picked apart the Buckeyes in Columbus, and seeing how the committee has treated head-to-head matchups, it wouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility that Oklahoma winds up a spot ahead of Ohio State.

Granted, the committee does like the conference champion aspect of things. However, if enough chaos occurs, who knows how exactly this cookie will crumble.

I won't tell my grandkids about the time I cheered for Baker Mayfield. I won't feel guilty about it, though. Like ESPN executives, I'd crawl over hot coals for a rematch with the Sooners. 

Semifinal or final banger works for me, too.

 TENNESSEE TRICK TURNED AGAIN. Tennessee fans revolted in fake outrage last weekend over the potential hiring of Greg Schiano. By yesterday, a coach with a 33-30 career record turned spurned them.


In its search for a permanent replacement for the fired Butch Jones, UT has reportedly been turned down by Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm.  Another target, Matt Campbell, signed a new contract to remain at Iowa State.  And, of course, there’s the debacle that was the Greg Schiano pursuit.

After Brohm rejected the Vols’ overtures Wednesday, UT turned its attention to North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren.  And, after mulling over the opportunity with the Vols and an improved contract from the Wolfpack, Doeren has done what every other candidate has done to the Vols thus far in the search.

Are you sitting down? Because you're never going to believe what happened next.


Tennessee’s seemingly never-ending quest to find a new head coach is at least working out well for rumored coaching targets and their wallets.

In the wake of failed overtures to lure Dave Doeren to Knoxville, N.C. State announced on Thursday afternoon that their head coach has instead agreed to a new five-year deal to remain with the Wolfpack for the foreseeable future. The contract, which should take the coach through the 2022 season in Raleigh and is pending board approval, is worth nearly $15 million over the life of the deal.


“My heart is at NC State, my family and I are truly grateful to Chancellor (Randy) Woodson and Athletic Director Debbie Yow for the opportunity to continue to build on the momentum we have here in Raleigh,” said Doeren in a statement. “We’re building a championship culture, we have first-class facilities, incredible fan support and I’m honored to continue to lead the Wolfpack.”

Crazy how intertwined the heart and money are. Meanwhile, on Volunteer message boards:


In all seriousness, they think it's on to Kevin Sumlin, who couldn't cut it in the same division with better facilities on a more fertile recruiting ground. But Doug Gottlieb(!?) has a source saying otherwise: 

A boss named Newy, an NBC reporter out of DFW, broke a potential Mike Leach hire, and Bruce Feldman confirmed a different kind of talk:

Feldman co-wrote Leach's Swing Your Sword, so you can guess his source. But hey, "the meeting went well" is different than "working on a contract." I'd like to think Leach is smart enough to avoid Knoxville after this debacle, and you gotta put legit fear into your employer if you want leverage for a raise.

Dropping a dime to a nationally respected reporter accomplishes that with a text message. That'd be a suave move for a guy that just lost by 27 to his rival six days ago. (Tennessee fans undoubtedly thinking it's a good time to cut losses and leave Pullman for good.)

 TACO BELL RISES. The iconic Taco Bell on South Campus was demolished back in May 2016, but from those ashes, a mixed-used development (as seemingly required by Columbus law) has risen, and it includes a Taco Bell cantina.

From Kaylin Hynes of The Lantern:

Taco Bell is set to return to Ohio State by June. While the off-campus location will remain at its former 10th Avenue and High Street location, it will look nothing like the previous free-standing restaurant.

The location will reside under a new apartment building, Luxe Belle, currently in the process of being built by Preferred Living. The restaurant will have modern design aspects and an updated menu as part of the fast food chain’s recent expansion to a new cantina-style restaurant.

Matthew Arthur, the location’s franchisee, said the idea to redo the off-campus Taco Bell came after developers approached him wanting to buy the land and change it. Arthur and his family decided to reach out and find a partner to help develop the land to continue operation of the restaurant.

Shoutout to the Arthur family. That's good business. While I will miss the 1980s-style Taco Bell in all its saucy glory, a new generation will enjoy the new cantina just the same.

Also, Columbus soldiers of fortune pay money to live above a collegiate Taco Bell. Always good to know if things get hectic we'll have people like that on our squad.

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