Fourth of July Skull Session: What if Dwayne Haskins Struggles, Buckeyes Ride Along with Cops, and Minnesota's 8% Chance to Beat Ohio State

By D.J. Byrnes on July 4, 2018 at 4:59 am
Malik Harrison tackles a Spartan for the July 4 2018 Skull Session.

Happy birthday, America, the greatest footballing nation in the world:

Also with fireworks, what's the point? I'm not sure, either.


​Word of the Day: Indivisible

 THE DARKEST TIMELINE. Dwayne Haskins will be good because dorks like me have been saying all summer he'll be good. But what if it's not that simple? What if the Dwayne Train never leaves the station? Such is life on the darkest timeline.


At the same time, Haskins wasn't put under pressure often, typically coming into the game when the outcome was already decided. He has also not felt what it's like to be the guy and not the backup. All of a sudden there are expectations placed on Haskins, something Barrett and other Ohio State quarterbacks have had to manage.

If Haskins does struggle, there is no collegiate experience behind him. Redshirt freshman Tate Martell's next college snap will be his first outside of two spring games and true freshman Matthew Baldwin is equally untested and is coming off a knee injury suffered in his high school state championship game. While Martell offers more of the Barrett feel with his running ability, and will likely be used in some capacity because of that skill set, he demonstrated in the spring game -- where he completed just 31 percent of his 16 pass attempts -- that his passing game still needs work.

I'm moving to Tahiti if Haskins struggles unless Tate Martell rights the ship, at which point I'll act like I wanted him to start all along.

Meyer put his chips on the table by selecting Haskins. I'm not saying Martell couldn't lead the Buckeyes to their goals, just that I'd feel better if Joey Burrito hadn't left.

At least we don't have to worry about any of that. Ain't life grand as a local team fan?

 HELLO, OFFICER. Wide receiver Ben Victor hit the mean streets of Columbus recently as part of a ride along with the police department.


Binjimen Victor, a junior wide receiver; Kory Curtis, a sophomore quarterback; and Zaid Hamdan, a freshman defensive tackle, recently did a ride-along.

“Ride-alongs with our officers are open to the public,” according to a post on the Columbus Division of Police Facebook page dated June 26. “Many people do ride-alongs to see if law enforcement could be their future career. It’s an eye-opening experience. You can even pick what part of the city you’d like to check out.”

No word on whether any of the Buckeyes hope to don a badge and uniform after graduation. Two of the players wanted to do ride-alongs because they had high school resource officers who made an impact on their lives as students.

Fun fact: Any resident can do these, as long as you clear whatever criteria set forth by your department.

And apparently the salary of a Columbus cop is $82,000~ a year after 48 months on the force. Hold on, let me apply to become a cop.

 THE GOPHERS COMETH. Minnesota comes to Ohio State on Oct. 13, which is always less intimidating than having to play in the middle of a blizzard on a tundra in Minneapolis.

The Gophers are always a respectable team that never seem to give the Buckeyes much trouble. For that, I respect them. 

But this is the second year of P.J. Fleck. Do the Gophers have what it takes to upend the Bucks in the Shoe?


6 percent. P.J. Fleck's first season at Minnesota did not feature a good passing attack. The Gophers' quarterbacks combined to throw just nine touchdown passes last year. And with only one scholarship quarterback on the roster in redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan, odds are it may not get much better. His backup might be Zack Annexstad, a freshman who walked onto the team after playing his high school football at IMG Academy.

The good news for Minnesota's passing game is that it returns its top three receivers from last season including Tyler Johnson (35 catches, 677 yards, seven TDs). However, Johnson is the only returning receiver who caught a touchdown in 2017.

I have instructed Urban Meyer to seek Fleck's total destruction since the Gophers coach blocked me on Twitter. With that knowledge, the actual chance of the Gophers winning becomes 2%.

I have a feeling the Silver Bullet secondary feasts that day.

 BUCKS NO. 1 (AGAIN). Meyer was one of the first coaches to see the recruiting advantages offered by graphics design and editing. He assembled an elite crew with special skills, and seven years later the Buckeyes still hold the crown in that field.


  1. Ohio State
  2. Tennessee
  3. Washington
  4. Alabama
  5. Texas
  6. Georgia
  7. Pitt
  8. Florida
  9. Purdue
  10. Colorado State

Design is highly subjective. Every football team has unique strategies and resources. Teams are focused on designing specifically for their stakeholders. We cannot know the internal priorities of every department. We only see external content, just as fans and recruits do. Voters recognized:

★  Static and motion social media design
★  Institutional (public-facing) and recruiting content
★  Creativity, quality and branding consistency
★  Communication of unique DNA of program
★  How well designs compete with other content in social feeds
★  How designs maximize impact on specific social platforms

SkullSparks encourages Athletics Departments to prioritize design and digital staff. Creative teams are vitally important in connecting and engaging fans and recruits in 2018. In an effort to recognize all levels of college sports, we’re sharing several lists for 2018:

Props to the likes of Kenton Stufflebeam and Sammy Silverman. They're as important to the program as any staffer can be.

 MICHIGAN BAGMEN COFFERS RUNNING LOW? I'm not saying Jim Harbaugh robbed a bank, I'm just saying this is exactly what it would look like:

Michigan degrees must not be worth what they used to be.

 THOSE WMDs. A 1968 Sports Illustrated preview of No. 9 Ohio State... How Central Park was saved... When sports betting is legal, the value of game data soars... How Britain went to war with China over opium... Why are reported UFO sightings on the decline?

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