Skull Session: Ohio State Schedule Ranked Easiest in B1G East, Denzel Ward Takes Over Mom's Mortgage, and 10-Year Anniversary of Dwayne Train's Prophecy

By D.J. Byrnes on May 17, 2018 at 4:59 am
Jeffrey Okudah waits in the rain for the May 17 2018 Skull Session

Jeffrey Okudah


I will serve today's Skull Session after recovering from the crippling anxiety produced by last night's episode of The Americans.


Word of the Day: Hodgepodge.

 WHO'S TO SAY? Folks, it's the middle of May, which means we're officially in the weeds of the offseason. It also means it's time to prognosticate and rank the toughness of schedules without seeing one team play.

Let's argue!

From Tom Fornelli of (ranked toughest to easiest; click names to see schedules):

1 Purdue "If Jeff Brohm's Boilermakers are to surprise us again in 2018, it will be a more impressive feat considering the schedule they'll be facing."
2 Michigan "The killer for Michigan is its B1G schedule. It draws three of the toughest teams from the West in Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin."
3 Maryland "As far as nonconference games go, Maryland opens the season with Texas (which it beat last year), also plays a tough Temple team and features a road trip to Bowling Green."
4 Northwestern "If Northwestern wins 10 games again this season, it might have a legitimate playoff case to make."
5 Penn State "Appalachian State and a road game against Pitt won't be pushovers, but I don't expect them to be all that difficult either. The hard part will be the B1G schedule."
6 Nebraska "Odds are that transitioning to Scott Frost's offense in Lincoln will provide a few bumps in the road, but there will be even bigger challenges in the opponents."
7 Michigan State "When you're in the B1G East there is no easy schedule, but by and large, things look rather manageable for the Spartans this year."
8 Rutgers "Rutgers doesn't have a nonconference schedule that's going to impress anybody on the CFP committee, but if I were Rutgers, I wouldn't look to make life more difficult for myself, either."
9 Wisconsin "If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, it might have to be perfect in conference play to have a shot at a playoff berth."
10 Indiana "The Hoosiers are in a similar situation as Rutgers in that they don't want to make life more difficult than it already is."
11 Ohio State "Ohio State has the easiest schedule in the B1G East, which is a bad look, but in its defense, it doesn't have a game against Ohio State to boost its schedule."
12 Illinois "If Lovie Smith's team is going to take a step forward in 2018, it just might have a schedule that allows it to happen."
13 Iowa "Iowa is the other B1G team with an FCS foe on its schedule, as the Hawkeyes will play Northern Iowa as well as Northern Illinois and Iowa State in their nonconference slate, and all three will be at home."
14 Minnesota "Both Illinois and Iowa have FCS opponents, which dragged their schedules down. Minnesota does not, yet it still managed to finish last in these rankings."

Purdue seems to earn the higher nod because, well, it's Purdue. To me, Michigan has the toughest schedule in the Big Ten and maybe the country. We all know Jim Harbaugh can't win a big road game, and the Wolverines have trips to Notre Dame, Northwestern, Rutgers, Michigan State, and Ohio State. It could easily lose all five of those games.

I don't consider the Buckeyes' 2018 schedule that easy. TCU ain't no slouch, and only a fool overlooks a trip to West Lafayette, the most intimidating place in the Big Ten outside Iowa City.

However, if this is the perception, Ohio State must run the table to make the playoffs. Or at least not lose by 30+ points to a team that finishes with five losses. 

 DON'T WORRY ABOUT THAT. Mother's Day, an occasion Hallmark loves to know, passed Sunday. If your mom is like my mom, her melancholy son got her an elegant bouquet of dandelions and a 24-hour supply of beef-flavored Ramen noodles.

If your mom is like Denzel Ward's mom, her young professional son took over her mortgage payment.

Guess that means the Browns aren't bouncing checks, baby! I keep chirping about a wild card, and people keep saying I'm crazy. We'll see who's crazy when Ward is picking off Tom Brady in Foxboro in the AFC championship.

 TOLEDO T'D ABOUT HARBAUGH HONOR. Toledo gave Jim Harbaugh the glass key to the city last week after he helped raise $100K to give poor people adequate access to the justice system.

This apparently ruffled some feathers at the local university.

From The Toledo Blade:

At least one university trustee sent the mayor a scolding letter while Toledo President Sharon Gaber may or may not have ended her subscription to the mayor’s city newsletter because of it. Kapszukiewicz said Gaber unsubscribed to the weekly online offering on Monday, although a city spokesman later said it was not clear when she canceled.


“Surprised. Frustrated. I think those are the key terms,” Toledo athletic director Mike O’Brien said of the response from the university community. “There are other words that I can’t tell you.”

People forget Toledo beat Michigan, so this isn't unbecoming of their fans despite Toledo honoring Harbaugh for something unrelated to football. That's how rivalries work.

Harbaugh could end homelessness in Columbus, and you'd better believe I'd be calling for the resignation of every official at city hall if he received a key to the kingdom.

 HASKINS PROPHECY REMEMBERED. Ten years ago today, Jim Tressel's program bedazzled Dwayne Haskins into committing to Ohio State on the spot:

Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett again, and Dwayne Haskins... THE LEGACY CONTINUES.

We live in a blessed era. Opposing fans must be sick.

 THOSE WMDs. These lizards are full of green blood that should kill them... Spam calls are an epidemic—but this tech could stop them... Why 100,000,000 Americans read comics... Patients suffer as a renowned heart transplant program loses its luster... Tom Wolfe on the art of fiction... Songs people want played at their funerals... How frightened should we be of AI?

View 98 Comments