Skull Session: Appy State Prophecies an Upset, The Grinch That Brought Speed D, and Trojan Passing a Threat

By D.J. Byrnes on December 16, 2017 at 4:59 am
Jamarco Jones prepares to block for the December 16 2017 Skull Session

I have nothing but love in my heart for the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Boone, North Carolina. It's a respectable university with a legendary football program in one of the more scenic parts of the country.

Unfortunately, their basketball team is about to take a loss today on BTN at 6 p.m. live from whatever they call the Schottenstein Center these days.

The college bowl season also kicks off with a D1-AA semifinal match. Although, who knows if the semifinal will actually happen? It's not paying an executive hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it probably won't be organized enough to play.

10/16 Slate


Word of the Day: Inveterate.

 SOUNDS GOOD TO THIS BLOGGER. The NCAA will allow FBS teams to add a 10th assistant coach in 2017. It remains to be seen how Urban Meyer will deploy the new position, but multiple reports put Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch at the top of the list.

The Grove City Grinch is from just south of Columbus and considered a defensive back specialist. He also comes with the endorsement of Chip Kelly, who also connected Meyer with current quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.

Grinch is known for his "Speed D," an unintended moniker that caught on with his players.

From Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times back in October:

As the 11th-ranked Cougars (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) face Oregon (4-1) this Saturday at Autzen Stadium, WSU ranks second in the Pac-12 behind UW in total defense, allowing only 275.2 yards per game. The Cougars also boast the conference’s top passing defense, and its fifth-ranked rush defense, and are second in the Pac-12 only to Oregon, with 17 defensive sacks.

Those numbers even hold up nationally. WSU has the country’s 11th-ranked overall defense and the Cougars are seventh nationally in passing yards allowed (146.6 yards per game).

The 20.2 points per game the Cougars have allowed this season is three scores under the 38.6 points opponents averaged against WSU in 2014, the year before Grinch arrived. WSU has forced 12 turnovers so far, and is on pace to surpass the 24 turnovers the defense tallied in 2015, the most it’s had under Grinch.

Sounds like a young up-and-comer that can take the reins when Greg Schiano inevitably departs Columbus:

At this point, nobody knows what Grinch's official title or responsibilities would be. But Schiano did coach linebackers at Penn State, and could free Bill Davis for a Tim Hinton-like "processing" to create more room for somebody else.

 HERE COMES THE GUNSLINGER. If Ohio State isn't in the playoffs, all other bowl games should be played today. The 29th might as well be 2019 at this point. Christmas isn't for another week.

Anyway, here are some more words about the USC Trojans.


“I thought we’d go through some growing pains earlier through the season, just because of health issues and development of young players,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “I didn’t see a lot of difference in what Sam was doing from last year to this year. I thought he was making good decisions — (he) maybe forced a ball every once in a while — but from quarterback play, I think the development of the guys around him has elevated our offense.”

Deontay Burnett has been a consistent threat for the Trojans. But the emergence of receivers such as Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman Jr. has enabled USC’s offense to become more consistent.

Vaughns didn’t have more than 32 receiving yards until the fifth game. He has had at least 59 receiving yards in seven of the last nine games.

Hopefully this game is without the creeping realization that every opponent wide receiver would start over every Buckeye.

If Darnold does light Ohio State up, he better play like that for the Browns when they inevitably take him No. 1 overall. If he doesn't, he will move ahead of Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty (name alone), Mark Sanchez, and Matt Barkley (09 performance alone) as the most obnoxious Trojan quarterback of my lifetime.

As you can see, that task would be a tall glass of water.

 PITTMAN PASSES THE TEST. If your house in Middletown is burning down, one of the men saving it could be former Ohio State running back Antonio Pittman.

From the Middletown Journal-News:

The Middletown Division of Fire pinned badges on its three newest firefighter-EMT’s during a ceremony at Fire Headquarters today .

Receiving their pins were Branden Cottrell, Antonio Pittman and Joey Robertson.

All three were selected from the eligibility list as a result of civil service testing procedures. Middletown City Council confirmed their appointments to the Division of Fire at its Nov. 7 meeting. All three will have an annual salary of $40,378.70.

Firefighting is no joke. You not only have to fight fires, but also rescue and revive people in all sorts of wild situations. Middletown is getting a bargain at $40K a year for services like that.

 FRATS BACK? After numerous investigations into hazing allegations, Ohio State suspended all fraternities last month. If you envisioned Campus Partners bulldozing Greek Row and turning it to "luxury apartments" or "mixed-use developments," well, don't get your hopes up.

The university offered the frats a path forward Friday.

From Owen Daugherty of The Lantern:

The comprehensive plan covers everything from updated recruitment policies to new member education plans, each with an emphasis on anti-hazing education, as well as detailed alcohol policies.

Following social suspension, IFC President Drew Cooper and the 37 chapter presidents invited Office of Student Life administrators Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, the senior vice president for student life, and Ryan Lovell, the director of sorority and fraternity life, to attend IFC’s Nov. 29 meeting and present the university leaders with the fraternity council’s own action plan.


At the meeting, IFC outlined its new procedures and policies with hopes of reinstatement in the near future.

And so the wheel of time continues to spin at the university we all love to know.

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