Skull Session: Ohio State Doesn't Overspend in Recruiting, Urban Meyer Not a Fan of Transfer Portals, and Early Point Spreads

By Kevin Harrish on May 30, 2019 at 4:59 am
The Buckeyes are ready to take the field in today's skull session.

Welcome to Friday Jr.!


Word of the Day: Insouciant.

 BANG FOR THEIR BUCK. Ohio State routinely out-recruits the majority of the Big Ten, but that doesn't mea they have to outspend them.

My good pal, former roommate, good music listener and terrible FIFA player Colin Gay, along with Charlie Militello took a deep dive at Ohio State's recruiting expenses in relation to the rest of the Big Ten. They found that the Buckeyes don't spend nearly as high a percentage of their overall recruiting budget on the football team compared to other Big Ten programs.

From Colin Gay and Charlie Militello of The Lantern:

According to records obtained by The Lantern, Ohio State spent at least 28.6 percent less of its total recruiting budget on the football program compared to other Big Ten opponents during the 2018 fiscal year.

In the 2018 fiscal year, Ohio State spent 33.5 percent of its $2.8 million recruiting budget on the football program. This helped lead to the No. 3 recruiting class in the Big Ten and the No. 14 recruiting class in the country for 2019, according to 247Sports.

Ohio State spent 28.6 percent less of its overall recruiting budget on the football program compared to Michigan and 17.1 percent less than Penn State.


On the other hand, Ohio State has spent the third-least amount on football recruiting of the 10 programs from which The Lantern acquired data. Both Wisconsin and Indiana spent less in terms of percentage.

Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Nebraska each spent a higher percentage of their total recruiting budget than the Buckeyes. However, four of those five teams finished in the bottom half of their respective divisions.


In the 2012 fiscal year, Ohio State spent 26.8 percent of its nearly $1.3 million total recruiting budget on the football program.

From 2012-2018, the percentage of the total recruiting budget used for the football program has not changed drastically, fluctuating within 8.4 percent in the seven-year span.

The whole article is worth your reading eyes. It explains why Ohio State has been successful despite keeping spending relatively low with some great quotes from Gene Smith. And a good bit of it comes down to the power of the #brand.

In a lot of ways, Ohio State's recruiting battle has been waged for the past few decades as the Buckeyes became a perennial national power. Now, it's a household brand. Ohio State doesn't need to inform any teens they exist, they just need to show up.

Every coach since Woody Hayes has helped build that brand, now it's up to Ryan Day to carry the torch.

 URBAN VS. THE TRANSFER PORTAL. I'm sure there have been more than a few times Urban Meyer has already missed coaching the Buckeyes, but I'm equally sure there have been more than a few times already that he's been extremely glad Ryan Day has to deal with some bullshit instead of him.

One huge one: The transfer portal.

From Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch:

Meyer on what’s been the easiest thing to let go of from being a coach: “The transfer portal.”

He described as “alarming” the revolving door of quarterbacks around the country, including at Ohio State.

“I don’t understand it,” he said.

None of Ohio State’s current quarterbacks were on the roster a year ago. Again, he alluded to the example of Cardale Jones in 2014.

“It’s hard to believe we won a national title with a third-string quarterback and not many have third-string quarterbacks,” Meyer said. “It’s not unique to Ohio State. It’s a national issue.”

He said he agrees that graduates should be able to transfer, as Joe Burrow did last year from Ohio State to LSU.

“I think that’s a good opportunity,” he said.

The irony of this is that the transfer portal gave Ohio State a kid that seems by all accounts Meyer's wet dream of a quarterback, with his arm and running ability. Maybe he hates the transfer portal, but I guarantee he wouldn't have hated Justin Fields as his signal caller.

 ALL-UNDER-25 TEAM. A few weeks ago, Pro Football Focus put together a list of the 25 best players under the age of 25, with a notable snub to Ezekiel Elliott (who their grading system did not seem to love this season).

But fear not, Zeke made's iteration of the list, which was done in a position-by-position all-star format instead. On the flip side, though, Denzel Ward got the snub this time.

From Marc Sessler of

Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (24 as of Sept. 5). Elliott remains firmly in place as a do-everything workhorse in Dallas, one who led the NFL in ground yards per game for the third straight campaign in 2018. He might not top last year's 77 catches -- he amassed just 58 total grabs during his first two seasons -- but the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft remains a danger through the air. It's fair to wonder how long he can churn out 330-plus touches per year, but no current doubts exist about Elliott's immense meaning to the Cowboys as one of the more watchable and fascinating rumblers of our generation.


Edge rusher: Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers (24 as of Sept. 5). Danielle Hunter (24) and T.J. Watt(24) hover closely, but no way do I pass on adding Bosa to the mix. I don't need him to pen a dense, intricately plotted Russian novel for the public. Instead, he will be used to turn opposing quarterbacks into doomed and greying mincemeat Sunday after Sunday. Durability concerns linger, but I also see a player who missed his entire rookie offseason, only to notch 10.5 takedowns in his first 12 NFL appearances. No assembly required.


Cornerback: Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints (23 as of Sept. 5). The New Orleans corner fell off a tad from his wondrous Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign in 2017, but Lattimore's dance card featured bouts with Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery and Calvin Ridley inside a Saints secondary that took time to figure itself out. Tre'Davious White (24), Denzel Ward (22) and Desmond King II (24) hover beside Lattimore as some of the game's brightest young corners

The crazy thing is, this probably isn't a complete list since guys like Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley and Curtis Samuel have spent a good portion of their early seasons banged up and on the bench, making it hard to earn their way onto a list like this. Then you've got Ward, who could easily slide onto this list as some of the older guys slide off.

I also think it's fair to expect Ohio State's two first round picks – Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins – to make this list sooner than later.

TL;DR, the Buckeyes are taking over the NFL.

 JASON DAY REMAINS LOYAL. Noted Ohio State fan Jason Day is crossing enemy lines with his friendship with Jim Harbaugh, but he ain't about to slap on a "house divided" license plate or anything.

He's still all Buckeye.

From Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News:

Relax, Buckeyes. One of the top-ranked golfers in the world is still an Ohio State fan, but he makes no apologies for his budding friendship with Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

“Well, I’m really close with Urban as well, so I’ve got to try and play Switzerland here,” Day said Tuesday as he prepared to play in The Memorial at Muirfield Village, just outside of Columbus. “Mind you I’m from Australia, but I am a big Ohio State fan. So as long as we keep beating Michigan, I’m OK with that.”


However, he also was paired with Harbaugh during the 2013 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, just weeks after Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers team lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl — the same Ravens team coached by Harbaugh’s brother, John.

Since then, Day and Jim Harbaugh have remained close. At last week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., Harbaugh was on hand to support Day.

“He actual texted me the week prior and asked if I could get him some tickets,” Day said. “I’ve known Jim ever since he was the coach of the 49ers, and I played with him right after the loss to his brother in the Super Bowl. He’s been a good friend of mine for a while now, so it was nice to see him at the PGA.”

I'll complain about a prominent Buckeye fan getting cozy with Jim Harbaugh precisely when Jim Harbaugh threatens Ohio State in some meaningful way. I mean, based on his historically terrible record in The Game so far, he's arguably the most Buckeye-friendly coach in Michigan football history.

 EARLY ACTION. Nothing like looking at point spreads of some college football games a few months in advance, am I right?

The Bucks open as double-digit favorites on some extremely early lines against Nebraska and Michigan State.

That all seems about right. The Michigan State game will probably be frustratingly close with the good guys pulling it out by at least two scores at the end.

As far as Nebraska, that line is probably fine because I have no idea what to think about that game. So many folks have that game marked as a potential "trap game" that it's slowly turning into one of Ohio State's most high-profile games of the year. Hell, it might even be the location of college GameDay.

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