Valentine's Day Skull Session: Freshmen on Recruiting Mail, Holtmann Loves Tate, and CFB Attendance Takes a Dive

By D.J. Byrnes on February 14, 2018 at 4:59 am
Jordan Fuller on the Valentine's Day Skull Session

Ah, Valentine's Day! The latest day of commercialization has arrived on the American worker's calendar.

Don't let my hot takes fool you. I have goons at 1-800-Flowers handing business today, because while the Fornication Industrial Complex conjured this holiday, my life would devolve quickly if my inamorata threw it back onto the street.


Word of the Day: Inamorata.

 THE MAIL: WORTH YOUR TIME. The United States Postal Service is one of the most fascinating organizations in the world. Unlike its usurper competitors, it can't choose its customers. It must deliver to everyone, and it does—neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop it. All for the price of a stamp (~$60), too!

Unfortunately, foreign agents hijack it for nefarious purposes. From unscrupulous Chinese manufactures pumping fentanyl into America's heartland to colleges trying to out-recruit the local team, the criminal possibilities seem endless.

Corporations spend billions of dollars a year trying to crack the labyrinth of hellfire that is the #teen mind. So it's no surprise to see programs try wild shit to impress recruits.

Here are the most notable ones received by Ohio State early enrollees.  


"[Penn State] sent 100 handwritten letters, which was pretty cool," [linebacker Dallas] Gant said. "They wrote just a little card, wrote it, signed it, a few from every coach."


"They did an actual hand-drawn thing of a picture of me in an LSU uniform," [offensive lineman Max] Wray said. "(It was) a full portrait that was hand-drawn in Sharpie.


"To be honest, I didn't really pay attention to my mail," [defensive lineman Tommy] Togiai said. "Mail doesn't really mean anything."

(Handwritten letters from Penn State, eh? No surprise there. They're still dialing up to the internet in Happy Valley.)

The portraits thing is hilarious because I love envisioning a conference table of grown men trying to brainstorm recruiting pitches. It's probably just a lot of stealing what works from their competitors.

After reading my column, as he does every morning, Urban Meyer will probably request $500,000 for a factory of sharpie artists.

 JAE'SEAN = NO. 1 TEAMMATE. Every non-heel athlete professes selflessness in interviews. It's a lot easier to talk about it than be about it, though.

As a veteran, Jae'Sean Tate could've complicated the first year of the man that replaced the coach that recruited him. Instead, he reinvested in the program... stats be damned.


“I love him. I love him. Obviously, I love all of our guys, but I just can’t say enough,” Holtmann said. “Listen, if this doesn’t encapsulate who Jae’Sean Tate is, Keita Bates-Diop has 35 the other night against Illinois, there’s a clip at the end of the game where Jae’Sean Tate is bearhugging him with a huge grin on his face.

“And I don’t know what J.T. had in that game in terms of points. If that doesn’t speak to who that young man is and what he really cares about. All he cares about winning. He’s so excited that his teammate had the kind of night he had.”

Without that kind of selflessness, teams have no chance. Yes, talent is important, and so is coaching. If the players aren’t in it for each other, however, then there’s no point in even competing because they’ve already lost.

KBD is the driving force of this team, but Tate is going to win a game or two down the stretch. That's how the BASKETBALL GODS reward players like Tate.

 CFB ATTENDANCE DOWN. America built cavernous collegiate cathedrals before the internet and high definition television existed. It's now dealing with some of the fallout now that those two mediums exist.

From Dennis Dodd of

Major-college football experienced its largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years and second-largest ever, according to recently released NCAA figures.

Attendance among the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in 2017 was down an average of 1,409 fans per game from 2016. That marked the largest drop since 1983 when average attendance declined 1,527 fans per game from 1982.

The 2017 FBS average of 42,203 fans per game is the lowest since 1997.

Winning helps. Purdue attendance went up 13.4K after the Boilermakers won more than seven games for the first time since Moses roamed the sidelines. 

But I don't see these trends reversing, especially as the cost of attending a game continues to climb. Ohio State will be immune as long as it continues to win at a historic clip. The second that drops off, though...

 LATTIMORE MINGLES WITH THE PEOPLE. In Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore, the New Orleans Saints drafted the two NFL Rookies of the Year. Monday night, they participated in their first Mardi Gras parade. A security team was unable to keep the duo from mingling with fans.


“Let’s get off the float,” one of them suggested. And before anyone could really think it over, the group was jumping off and running down the street. While some stretches of the parade have barriers to prevent anyone from crossing, this part did not. Anyone who wanted to run up to them could, and did.

This was probably the worst nightmare of the security detail provided for the float. They were short-handed that day and had one man assigned to the players and their friends. This didn’t seem to bother either rookie.

Kamara was swallowed into a crowd of fans that held up their phones, pleading for a picture. They hugged him. Lattimore walked alongside him, taking it all in. This stretched on for several minutes. The parade creeped behind them and then stopped.

That's why I'd be a terrible celebrity. I'd go and mingle on the street in a crowd and end up shanked over a CFB opinion I typed bleary-eyed at 2:38 a.m. on a Tuesday.

 ONE MAN'S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN'S GOURMET MEAL. Most readers probably agree with the notion of wasted food being bad. How many of y'all would be willing to dig through a dumpster for food thrown away prematurely? Probably not a lot.

And that's why most of us will be working for guys like Ohio State student Andrew Sauder should Armageddon ever arrive. 

From Shanti Lerner of The Lantern:

“In a big picture it is redeeming food that a wasteful society is discarding, and personally, I am saving money, and I am able to re-allocate those resources for other things,” Sauder said. “But it would be my hope that there would be no food thrown out. And in America, there should be ways to re-allocate or donate food.”

To outsiders, the diving culture is often associated with a stigma of being unsanitary and something only people who are homeless do. But Sauder’s weekly food runs through the trash are just a part of his lifestyle.

Sauder typically dumpster dives once a week either on a Friday or Saturday night using a route of three or four grocery stores across Columbus. He usually goes to ALDI and CVS because their dumpsters are open to the public.

Honestly, the CVS and ALDI dumpsters probably serve a more nutritionally balanced meal than most Arby's combos.

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