Skull Session: Doctor Discusses Urban Meyer's Cyst, Don't Freak Out About the College Football Playoff Rankings, and a Wild Day in the Big Ten

By Kevin Harrish on October 31, 2018 at 4:59 am
Back in black in today's skull session.

Welcome to the costume and candy day, which my late father correctly believes should actually just be every day.


Word of the Day: Chelonian.

 DOCTOR GIVES HIS TAKE. Urban Meyer has an enlarged arachnoid cyst on his brain, which might have left you wondering what the hell an enlarged arachnoid cyst is.

Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch spoke to a Dr. James Uselman to answer that exact question.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Uselman said that in severe cases, one of two operations usually is performed. The first is to make small holes into the cyst so liquid from it can be drained. That is believed to be the type of operation Meyer had in the spring of 2014.

“The other alternative — and if it’s deep within the brain, this may be the more attractive alternative — would be to put a shunt in,” Uselman said. “A shunt is a tube where you put a little hole in the skull. You can pass that tube into the cyst and can drain that fluid.”

He explained that the shunt has a one-way valve to prevent fluid from going back into the brain. The other end of the shunt goes to another part of the body, often the abdomen.


“I tell my patients, ‘Any operation on me is a serious operation,’ ” he said. “A shunt, as far as the actual tissue damage, is a relatively minor procedure. But I would never call a procedure on brain minor because you do have to pass that catheter through some brain tissue to get into the cyst.”

The odds of a serious complication are small, Uselman said. The recovery time for such a procedure is usually 2 to 3 weeks. Asked whether patients can recover fully from it, he said, “Absolutely.”

“I tell all my patients there are literally hundreds of thousands of people in the country walking around with shunts, that you have no idea have shunts, who live perfectly normal lives.”

None of this information is really any different than what Colin and I put together through a combination of Internet research and guidance from an esteemed but unnamed medical professional, but it's never a bad thing to hear from a doctor on the record. 

 IN STRIKING DISTANCE. This is your annual reminder that pretty much wherever a one-loss Ohio State team is ranked in the initial College Football Playoff, they'll make it to the playoff if they win out, as evidenced by, well, the Buckeyes.


Oct. 28, 2014

Teams that fell: Like a third of the SEC West

When the first-ever CFP rankings came out, there were just two undefeated teams: Mississippi State and Florida State. The Bulldogs and Noles came in at No. 1 and No. 2, with Auburn at No. 3 (one ahead of its AP ranking) and Ole Miss at No. 4 (three ahead), each of them with one loss.

Multiple SEC teams in the top four! Lots of people didn’t care for all that #SECBias, but the committee isn’t afraid to show who it likes.

Besides, the rest of the schedule was going to take care of having so many teams from the same conference anyway. Ole Miss was about to lose to Auburn. Even if Ole Miss and Mississippi State ran the table, they’d play each other, knocking one of them out. Auburn and Mississippi State still had to play Alabama, too.

In the end, Bama was the SEC’s only Playoff team.

Team that soared: Ohio State

The Buckeyes started at No. 16 a few weeks after lots of sports media members decided OSU had been eliminated by Virginia Tech.

They finished 12-1 and No. 4 in the final rankings, thanks to a 59-0 win over No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. The committee gave the Buckeyes a bid over Big 12 co-champions TCU and Baylor because of schedule strength. The Buckeyes went on to defeat Oregon in the National Championship.

Ohio State climbed 12 spots and won the whole damn thing, because the Buckeyes were the best team in the country.

The whole trick to this thing is not to really worry about the rankings, but to just be the best team in the country, and it tends to really just work itself out.

The Buckeyes should try to do that.

 “NOBODY RESPECTS THE GUY.” Somehow, Urban Meyer revealing a severe health concern that brought him to his knees in agony during the middle of a game wasn't even the wildest story to break in the Big Ten yesterday.

After a two-month investigation surrounding the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair, investigators recommended that head coach DJ Durkin return from administrative leave and athletic director Damon Evans retain his job.

That didn't go over well with everyone.

From The Washington Post:

That afternoon, Durkin addressed his team for the first time since he was placed on leave Aug. 11 in the aftermath of offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death in June and as part of an investigation into the culture of his program.

According to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, three players walked out of the meeting Tuesday, underscoring the deep uncertainty that Durkin’s return will bring. Some players and staff members were stunned by Durkin’s return, and some program insiders wondered how he would regain his footing as the program’s leader and continue to recruit prospective players in the wake of McNair’s death and allegations of abuse.

“The guy has lost all his power. Nobody respects the guy. I think that’s going to be Durkin’s greatest challenge, is reestablishing himself as a leader,” said a person close to the team.

Some Maryland players took to Twitter to openly criticize the school's decision.

I know they aren't going to fire him, but I just can't see a situation where he can actually remain the head coach of this program at this point. It's one thing for the team to start to lose faith in you as a leader, but this sort of thing isn't really something you can bounce back from.

 ATTEMPTED DOUBLE MURDER? I'm now hear to tell you that Urban Meyer revealing his health concerns wasn't even the second-wildest news in the Big Ten yesterday and Maryland players blatantly disrespecting DJ Durkin after he somehow kept his job ain't even the first.

Rutgers walk-on linebacker Izaia Bullock has been accused of involvement in a plot to murder two members of a friend's family.


Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey and Rutgers Police Chief Kenneth Cop announced his arrest and the charges in a statement Tuesday evening.

They said the charges came after determining that on Monday, "Bullock initiated a plot to murder the family members of an acquaintance."

The targets, who are not affiliated with Rutgers, were not injured, a prosecutor's spokeswoman said.

You might have guessed, but Bullock has indeed been booted from the team and "will face disciplinary proceedings," which, I mean, yeah.

 GRANNY PRANKS OSU STUDENTS. This week has been far too serious for my liking, but thankfully granny is here to liven the mood on campus.

Warning: Not extremely safe for work.

By far the best part is when she casually stumbles into Greg Oden at 1:52 and hits him with the "do you play basketball?"

I also love how everybody she ices just drops to one knee takes it like a champ in the middle of campus.

 WHAT EVEN IS A BLACK STRIPE? Folks, we've got to have a talk about those damn black stripes the freshmen wear.

Earning its removal is supposed to signify the new player becoming an official member of the Buckeye football team, and for like six years, we've played along and pretended that they actually meant something.

We write a post for every player that sheds his stripe, we try to prognosticate production based on when a player had his stripe removed, and we don't make a big deal about players seeing substantial in-game minutes while allegedly not even being considered part of the team.

But I think this is the final straw.

I'm fine looking the other way while a kid with his black stripe still on gets some garbage time minutes, but Haubeil handled kickoffs in 13 games last season and has been the team's starting placekicker for the past two games, literally scoring more points for the team than anyone else during that stretch.

But he wasn't an "official" member of the team yet. Got it.

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