Skull Session: The Book is Out on the Bucks, Ohio State's Attendance Problem, and Joe Burrow's Legend Grows

By Kevin Harrish on October 15, 2018 at 4:59 am
Dwayne Haskins swagger level is on max in today's skull session.

This is without doubt the most frustrated I've ever been about a 16-point win where the quarterback threw for over 400 yards and the defense held the other team to just 14 points.

But the Bucks are undefeated, and many, many teams are not.

On to Purdue.


Word of the Day: Comely.

 DID GOLDY CRACK THE CODE? A completely overmatch Minnesota team managed to hang with the Buckeyes at home for four quarters this weekend.

The Gophers were probably never going to win that game – they didn't have the top-to-bottom talent – but it's fair to wonder if they've given future, more dangerous teams a playbook to use to beat Ohio State.

 Doug Lesmerises of

On a Saturday when the teams ranked No. 2, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 lost, and No. 5 trailed for 55 minutes, a 16-point win by No. 3 Ohio State can look more like gritty survival and less like worrisome sluggishness.

Or not.

Because what Minnesota showed in Ohio Stadium in week seven in a 30-14 win by Ohio State may have been the closest thing yet to a gameplan to beat the Buckeyes. 


But Minnesota had a plan, on both sides of the ball, just like Iowa did a year ago. With a walkon freshman quarterback, key injuries at running back and in the secondary, and one of the youngest teams in the country, the Golden Gophers (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) weren't a team that could do more than scare Ohio State.

But Minnesota led twice early, was within a touchdown entering the fourth quarter and did all that while missing two field goals, losing the turnover battle 3-0 and suffering from an iffy fourth-down spot that led directly to an Ohio State touchdown. 

Doug notes that the two things Minnesota did to beat the Buckeyes was attack the linebackers with the run-pass option (which was that slant that you saw work every time), and sell out on the run and let Dwayne Haskins beat them through the air – hoping it doesn't lead to a ton of points.

I think he's right in theorizing that other teams could use this gameplan against Ohio State in future games, I'm just not convinced the same gameplan will work forever.

The Buckeyes have now seen it once, adjusted to it (Minnesota didn't score in the second half), and now have more time to develop a counter to it for future games. There's always a chance they don't, and they get crushed by Michigan State or Michigan as a result, but they ain't paying three former head coaches for nothing.

But it does feel like the Buckeyes could really, really use that bye week.

 ATTENDANCE PROBLEM. I never thought I'd see the day when Ohio State has problems getting folks to the concrete cathedral on Saturday afternoons, but here we are.

This season, two of the team's five home games have been the lowest-attended games in over 15 years. That's probably an extreme red flag.

From Tony Gerdeman of

The reported attendance for Saturday’s game was 100,042. That number would have been the lowest since 2002, if not for a game against Rutgers five weeks earlier, which featured just 93,057 in attendance.

The 93,057 was the lowest at Ohio Stadium since 1997, when the official capacity was 89,841. Of course, that still didn’t stop more people from showing up to a game against Bowling Green that year (93,151) than chose to witness this year’s Rutgers game in person.

Yes, there were rain concerns for that Rutgers game, but there have been rain concerns in other games over the last 21 years as well. Rain has never kept 10,000 Buckeye fans away before. Hell, 10-degree weather and a blizzard in the 1950 Snow Bowl only kept 30,000 fans away, and a few thousand of those were Michigan fans who smartly decided not to make the trip.


Ohio State expected a dip from past numbers this year, but there’s no way they can be happy with what they have seen so far. And it’s not just the Rutgers and Minnesota games that indicate a problem.

The game against Florida A&M (103,595) in 2013 would be the second-highest attendance this season behind the 104,193 that saw the Indiana game one week ago.

You can talk prices, convenience, gameday environment and weather all you want – and I'm sure none of that helps the issue – but the main thing keeping people away is apathy. It's not that those things don't contribute, it's that fans don't care enough to outweigh those obstacles.

Tickets, especially secondhand, are extremely affordable and easy to get for most of these games. Hell, I knew people giving them away this weekend. The weather is always shitty in Ohio, but that's never stopped people before. And any other excuse probably comes from people who were never going to go anyway.

The core problem is that people just don't care enough to watch Ohio State paste another overmatched team at home – or worse, play a close game against them. There's no scenario that leaves you fully satisfied with a game against teams like Rutgers, Tulane or Oregon State. Either it's a boring blowout that may as well never have been a game, or it's closer than it should be and it feels like a moral defeat.

Buckeye fans are spoiled.

There's no reason to even show up if it's not against a top-10 team. If the Buckeyes win, they're supposed to. If they lose, you can just be angry from your couch for free.

 LEGEND OF JOE BURROW GROWS. After a little snag last week against Florida, all is right with the world again: Joe Burrow is dumping top-10 teams.

Burrow went 15-for-30 for 200 yards and rushed for 66 more with two touchdowns on the ground to help lead his Tigers to a 36-16 thumping of No. 2 Georgia.

If Joe Burrow dumps Alabama in Death Valley in two weeks and the Crimson Tide miss the playoffs because of it, he'll be a straight up folk hero in Columbus – as if he isn't already.

 HASKINS HEISMAN PACE. Don't look now, but Dwayne Haskins' numbers look an awful lot like that of a Heisman candidate, only better.

To be fair, Lamar Jackson also had 908 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground and accounted for 457 total yards and three touchdowns against eventual national champion Clemson, so maybe this Tweet is just a tad misleading.

But the point is, Haskins' numbers are incredible, and barring a complete collapse, he'll at least be invited to the ceremony in December.

 FRANKLINING. Folks, I think I have finally found a suitable replacement for seemingly-extinct term "Clemsoning."

As the beneficiary of two of these absolute choke jobs, I'm not exactly complaining, but I've never seen somebody snatch defeat from the jaws of victory more often than James Franklin.

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