Skull Session: Alex Grinch Sets the Tone, John Cooper Chooses His Best, and Football Games Getting Longer

By D.J. Byrnes on January 15, 2018 at 4:59 am
Greg Schiano teaches the January 14th 2017 Skull Session

For years I have wondered why I would ever want to have cake, except to eat it. Thankfully, the Discovery Channel's miniseries Manhunt: Unabomber solved this riddle for me this weekend:

[Fitzgerald] recalls how a transposition of verbs in the manifesto written by the Unabomber helped lead to a closer identification of Ted Kaczynski in April 1996.

The latter used the phrase "You can't eat your cake and have it, too," instead of the usual form, which is "You can't have your cake and eat it, too." Like most people, Mr. Fitzgerald thought Kaczynski had made a mistake. But examination of other letters by him contained a similar feature, which, Mr. Fitzgerald says, "is actually a traditionally middle English way of using the term. He technically had it right and the rest of us had it wrong. It was one of the big clues that allowed us to make the rest of the comparison and submit a report to the judge who signed off on a search warrant."

"You want to eat your cake and have it, too." See. That just makes sense. This feels like a boulder off my chest. 


Word of the Day: Hiraeth.

 GRINCH SETS THE TONE. Greg Schiano becoming Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator is a hot theory going around the NFL right now. While Ohio State fans hope Schiano sticks around to mentor new hire Alex Grinch, the Buckeyes won't have a drop off of intensity should Schiano depart.


“He took every practice like it was preparing for Alabama,” said Jeremiah Allison, who was a senior linebacker and captain for the Cougars that year. “I thought he was pretty much crazy. He never really screams, but when he gets mad, he gets mad.”

The Cougars got the message, and it wasn’t long before they fully bought in.

“He made people want to run through a wall,” Allison said. “We felt we (had) let him down. He set the tone for the season.”

Grinch may not have the name recognition of Schiano with recruits, but the Urban Meyer–Ohio State brand seems to treat assistant coaches well, regardless. I think Ohio State will be fine next year, whether Schiano joins the Dark Side or not.

 JOHN COOPER PICKS HIS BEST. John Cooper didn't win a national title at Ohio State. Yet, even his haters can't deny he could recruit. So when a guy like Coop starts handing out superlatives, it's best to listen.


Q. Hardest-working player you ever coached?
A. “Probably Eddie George. I’d put him up real high. Eddie didn’t start here until his junior year. As a freshman, he fumbled twice (inside the 5-yard line) against Illinois. He wouldn’t have played for Woody Hayes if he had done that, although somebody told me Jim Otis once fumbled three times in a game. But Eddie never got down on himself and just kept working, working, working. And by his senior year, against basically the same Illinois team, he rushed for (a school-record) 314 yards. That’s a pretty good example of how good he got and how hard he worked to get there.”

Q. Best leader?
A. “One of the top leaders I ever had was (quarterback) Kirk Herbstreit. He was a great leader. He wasn’t no NFL player, although he might have been if we had run the spread offense. But in those days, nobody was running that. He was a heck of a leader. So was (nose guard) Luke Fickell. He started (a school-record) 50 straight games, so you have to put him somewhere in that group.”

Q. Funniest player?
A. ”(Running back) Michael Wiley. Michael liked to have fun. He was one of those guys who would joke all the time and was just a fun guy to be around. And (cornerback) Shawn Springs, too. I’d have to put both those guys in there. They were both guys that had fun and tried to make hard work more fun. They joked around a little bit and always seemed to have a smile on their faces. Players respected them and looked up to them.”

John Cooper won more than he lost in Columbus. But he had trouble with Michigan, which Buckeye fans will never forgive him.

Kids these days can't understand the darkness of the Cooper years. It's like trying to explain the sound of 56K dial up. You can't fully grasp the atrocity unless you were there.

 LOVE THE BIG CONTRACTS. College football fans want their team to have the best coaches and facilities. That takes television money. And the only reason cable companies are throwing around billions of dollars is because they know it can recoup the money through ads.

This means longer games for the consumer.


The average college football game in FBS (the big boys of college football) took 3 hours, 24 minutes this season, up 12 minutes per game since 2010, according to

Ohio State games averaged 3 hours, 28 minutes this season. The shortest game was 3 hours, 4 minutes against Army and the longest was 3 hours, 43 minutes against Wisconsin. And that was just one minute longer than the Penn State game and the Michigan game.

As recently as 2010, OSU played five games in less than three hours and its longest game was 3 hours, 28 minutes.

Some people are are like, "I don't care. The local team plays 12 times a year. It could be a three day event, and I wouldn't flinch." I respect their heart.

 NCAA DOING SOMETHING RIGHT? College football isn't a perfect sport. One thing I don't like is coaches can leave in the middle of the night while players have to sit out a year after transferring.

That, however, could soon change.


The NCAA will meet soon regarding immediate eligibility for transfers, multiple sources have informed FanRag Sports. The main point of discussion in these meetings will be that if a student athlete earns a certain GPA, he or she would be eligible to transfer immediately without a sit out year.

One source told FanRag Sports that while “nothing is official,” the expected GPA for a student athlete to earn immediate eligibility as a transfer would be either a “2.7 or 2.8.” Two other separate sources said that if this rule is passed, it would go into effect on August 1, 2018.

People will whine about this being "free agency," which is fine. I don't have a problem with 18 to 22-year-old amateur athletes having free agency, because it won't nearly be as widespread as people think.

People will lose their minds, and then everything will be normal in two years. Just how the world goes.

 PAY IT FORWARD. Ace Anbender of MGoBlog recently wrote one of the most heart-felt pieces of writing I've ever seen on a sports blog. It's probably because it has to do with something much bigger than sports—his battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I’d have a hard time focusing regardless. I’ve swung between diurnal and nocturnal multiple times this week. I slept until 11 am on Saturday, stayed up until 10 am on Sunday, napped until 2 pm, when I needed to take a dose of two medications, crashed from 4-10 pm—even though my infinitely understanding girlfriend came over at 7—then managed a semi-normal 1-to-10 am sleep last night. I have no idea when, or if, I’ll sleep tonight.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been unable to do my job even though I can do it entirely from home. It takes a high level of effort and concentration to do something as simple as bringing the dishes down from my room. I work if I feel up to it. The more formulaic posts, like previews and recaps, are easier to wrap my head around than the analytical stuff I usually prefer.

If I don’t work, the most stimulating thing I’m capable of doing is play my PS4, and even then I often need to turn it off or only play parts of games with no bright lights or sudden movement. (Thank you, NBA2K franchise mode.) I often play with the sound off or calm music on instead of game sound. It’s a needed distraction that’s less passive, and therefore more effective, than watching TV. I wish I had the energy and focus to read a book instead. I spend most of the day somewhere short of conscious.

Yes, you'll want to read the post in full.

Perhaps, like me, you had never heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That's no surprise, given how CFS research and awareness lags behind that of other illnesses with comparable (or fewer) patients.

To combat this, Anbender started a fundraiser with a modest goal of $5,000. His readers quickly smashed that, and as of right now, it stands at $30,000.

If you have some extra cash, and want to kick in, you can donate over here. If you do it anonymously, be sure to leave a pro-Buckeye message so Ace can separate good money (ours) from blood money (theirs).

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