I dedicate today's Skull Session to Findlay Buckeye and his app, LiveShopper.
Findlay helped me secure the most baller Browns hat in the world, and I can't wait to wear it on my wedding day in the Muni Lot before the 2018 AFC championship. I'll also refrain from saying anything negative about Flag City, USA, for one calendar year... starting now.
- Denzel Ward and Sam Hubbard the likeliest to leave early for NFL.
- Film Study: Buckeyes' one big advantage in slowing USC's skill-driven offense.
- Greg Schiano's deal with Tennessee was to be worth $27 million for six years.
- Backup tight end Kierre Hawkins, yet to play a snap, transfers to Youngstown State.
- Jim Harbaugh recruited the next QB he'll ruin.
- Help put a life-size statue of Woody Hayes in his hometown of Newcomerstown, Ohio.
Word of the Day: Vituperative.
YOU DON'T SAY? It's a scene even the most casual of Buckeye fans has come to know: Local team, on 3rd and short, relying on the legs of J.T. Barrett to keep the chains moving.
Everybody in the stadium knows it's coming... and yet... it was wildly effective!? The numbers don't lie, folks.
As you can see in the table above (which is sorted by QB percentage of short-yardage carries), J.T. had more short-yardage attempts than (likely) any other quarterback in the country, with 27 out of the team’s 61. He also had the second-highest percentage of his team’s short-yardage runs, behind only Lamar Jackson (44.3% to Jackson’s 46.8%).
Barrett was also incredibly effective, despite opposing defenses almost always knowing what was coming. He converted 77.8% of short-yardage attempts, which was again second-best behind Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald who converted an incredible 22 of his 25 attempts.
Barrett was also five-for-five on 4th down attempts, averaging 2.2 yards with a long run of 4 yards.
Urban Meyer running his quarterback more than any other coach in the country is the least surprising news of the season.
That's why I'm only 99% sure Dwayne Haskins starts next season. Haskins is more agile than Cardale, but he's not an elusive runner like Tate Martell, and Meyer only loves his family more than the numbers advantage gained on a defense when the QB is a legitimate run threat.
Then again, it's tough for a defense to stack the box on short-yardage situations when the quarterback can throw the ball over 40 yards with a flick of the wrist. I have no idea how Meyer will adapt his offense or keep it the same like he inexplicably did in 2015 with Jones.
G.O.A.T. UPDATE. When I looked into my crystal ball for the 2017 season, I foresaw Ohio State at 13-0 and Demario McCall grazing on the Heisman Circuit.
Ohio State didn't go 13-0, in no small part due to injuries preventing the greatest footballer in Ohio State history from taking the field.
As Meyer has alluded to in the past, McCall will seek a medical redshirt.
McCall confirmed in the locker room after the Big Ten title game win over Wisconsin that the Buckeyes are planning to seek a medical redshirt for him ― a possibility Meyer alluded to midway through the season.
“With my groin pain, it’s kind of on and off,” he said. “One day I’ll be feeling great and the next day I can barely run. So it was usually a weekly choice based on how I’m feeling. They never said they were just going to sit me for the rest of the year. It was all about how I was feeling.”
"It did get to me a few times, but the things that always kept me going were my brothers on this team and my dad,” he said.
I just looked into my crystal ball for 2018. You're never going to believe this, but it says this time next year Ohio State will be 13-0 and McCall will win Ohio State's first Heisman since Troy Smith in 2006.
And the best part about that forecast is... nobody can say it ain't true for at least another eight months. Hell, they may hand over the Heisman before the season once I unleash my McCall propaganda campaign.
CAPTAINS TALK LOSS. Going into the Oklahoma game, I figured it'd be a closer game than the 2017 rendition. If there was a blowout, surely it wasn't going to come from the team coached by a 34-year-old making his first career road start as a head coach against a three-time national champion. Surely Baker Mayfield would spend most of the night on the grown or harried by Ohio State's NFL-caliber defensive line.
Well, it's a good thing I don't get paid to know things about football. Our beloved Buckeyes got their asses kicked.
J.T. Barrett and Billy Price kept it real when asked what happened.
"They’re more physical than what you think or see on film," Barrett said. "They have some speed over there. Those two things stood out. The linebackers like to roam. That’s why they play that three-down front, so those guys can carve up the middle and have those linebackers roam and make plays. The speed from the linebackers and secondary, and the girth up front stands out."
Ohio State center Billy Price noted that the Buckeyes weren't ready for the Sooners' style of defense in the second week of the season.
Price didn't recall Oklahoma disguising much of its defense. He said the Sooners simply lined up and dared the Buckeyes to run over them.
"They were probably one of the more difficult fronts I’ve ever gone against, and as a defense as a whole," Price said. "They are very well-rounded."
Credit to the candor. Some professionals don't even have the emotional intelligence to give a candid autopsy of an ass-kicking they suffered. Those were both grown man answers.
I'm also torn on the Oklahoma–Georgia game. On hand, death to the SEC. On the other, Georgia hasn't won anything in my lifetime. If the Dawgs won it all, their fans would be like a guy that just won a $35 million lottery jackpot that everybody in town knows will end up in bankruptcy court within a decade. You don't feel good about the impending calamity, but you're pretty sure the fallout will create high drama and hilarious viral videos.
Plus, Oklahoma mugged Ohio State in its own living room, then its brainiac quarterback tried to plant a flag into turf. I will forever be bitter about the local team not getting another shot at Baker Mayfield.
Ohio will get the last laugh when the Browns draft him.
ALL RATINGS DOWN. Ohio State played in four of the top seven most watched games of 2017. Unfortunately for networks, the Buckeyes didn't play in every single game.
CBS: 4.951 million viewers, down 10% from 5.489 million in 2016.
ABC: 4.203 million, down 18% from 5.097 million.
Fox: 3.625 million, up 23% from 2.951 million.
NBC: 2.742, down 3% from 2.814 million.
ESPN: 2.155 million, down 6% from 2.300 million.
FS1: 819,000, up 4% from 743,000.
Remember: The reason ratings are down is because of that one thing that drives you crazy about broadcasts.
For me, it's game length. College football games take longer than NFL. Do you know how absurd that is? It's time to bring in the running clock, friends.
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