Skull Session: Nebraska Remains a Threat, Jeff Hafley Hype, and Joey Galloway is Riding With Ohio State

By Kevin Harrish on July 23, 2019 at 5:59 am
Kevin Wilson gestures towards today's Skull Session.

Today, I put all of Ohio State's football games into my calendar. Folks, it's almost here.


Word of the Day: Balter.

 BEWARE THE CORN PEOPLE. I didn't think I would be this sick of reading about Nebraska football before the season even started, yet here we are.

For what seems like the 12th time this offseason, someone is putting Ohio State on "upset alert" for the Sept. 28 game in Lincoln. In fact, Brad Crawford of 247 Sports has it as his top game for a potential upset.


Why this game has upset potential: Ohio State's first real road test under first-year coach Ryan Day will be one of the Buckeyes' toughest games this season. It's hard to imagine Nebraska's level of optimism being higher than it was prior to Scott Frost's first run in Lincoln, but even after a 4-8 season, Huskers fans are incredibly excited about what's to come this fall with a Heisman candidate at quarterback (Adrian Martinez) and College GameDay potentially making its first appearance at Memorial Stadium since 2007 for this one. If Nebraska starts the season 4-0, you're not going to see a more frightening environment nationally for an opposing team than what Ohio State will be forced to deal with in Week 5.

I get it, Nebraska's offense is going to be legit good, and Adrian Martinez might just be Corn Belt Braxton Miller. But at some point, you have to have some form of defense.

I know my house is glass on that front with whatever the hell Ohio State tossed out thereon that side of the ball last year, but here's the thing: it was the worst defense in program history by quite a few measurements, but I would still ride with it over what Nebraska's got going on this year.

Plus, at some point we have to stop calling this an "upset" if pretty much everyone has their eyes on it.

My new rule: you can't put a team on upset alert and then simultaneously call for College GameDay to be present. At that point, it's just a big game.

 HIGH ON HAFLEY. Jeff Hafley hasn't even coached a single game at Ohio State and my mind is already doing summersaults trying to figure out how to keep him on staff after this season.

His first press conference the dude had me ready to strap on a helmet and grind out a circle drill, and since then we've heard nothing but incredible things from his colleagues and guys like Tyvis Powell and Jordan Fuller.

And he is just an absolute machine on the recruiting trail.

The guy just rakes in #teens. Clark Phillips, Lathan Ransom, Lejond Cavazos, Cody Simon, Cam Martinez and (probably) Kourt Williams? All Hafley.

And by all accounts, he seems to be killing it in practice, too. Ransom saw noticeable improvement in the defensive backs in three weeks of Hafley's coaching. Three weeks.

Maybe we can pay him Brent Venables money, or name him co-head coach along with Ryan Day and just give him the defense – who knows! 

 CALLING HIS SHOT. For reasons genuinely unknown to me, the Michigan Wolverines are the trendy pick to win the Big Ten this year. But Joey Galloway is having none of that.

Maybe he's letting his Buckeye show a little bit, or maybe he's just somehow the only person that realizes Ohio State is absolutely loaded even with a new quarterback and head coach. Either way, he's confidently picking Ohio State to go undefeated this year.

Here's what Mr. Galloway had to say on ESPN:

This is a team that lost one game last year, ended their season in the Rose Bowl beating Washington, so they're a very good football team. And as you look at their schedule this year, they'll be favored in every single game. And so to be better, they got to go undefeated. But they should go undefeated through the Big Ten and have a chance to have a conversation about getting into the playoff.

I think they'll be a better football team this season because they'll go undefeated."

On Michigan: "Why would you think about it? Michigan hasn't come close in a while."

On Nebraska: "I like Nebraska, I don't love Nebraska like a lot of people do. I don't think that is a hurdle for Ohio State.

I think the one at the end – the Michigan game, at Michigan – will be a game that will be highly contested, but if you're Ohio State right now you've beaten Jim Harbaugh so soundly that you're not really worried about it."

I'm trying to balance my blatant homerism with reality here, but I'm really struggling to understand why Michigan, which lost most of its defense and is allegedly starting *someone* at running back this year, is the favorite to win the conference.

Yeah, Ohio State has a new quarterback and a new head coach, but that quarterback is the Buckeyes' highest-rated prospect in the ratings era and the head coach is the guy who just helped develop a first-year starter into a Heisman finalist and engineered the 62-point carpet bombing of Michigan.

And as far as talent, Ohio State's highest-rated recruiting class in the ratings era is entering its third season while the second highest-rated recruiting class in the ratings era is entering its third season. Technically, this should be one of the most talented rosters in Buckeye history, top to bottom.

Call it blatant homerism, call it delusion, I don't care, but I think Galloway is more right than the folks blindly hoping Khakis is going to finally get it together.

 PAY THE MAN. Folks, Michael Thomas is about to get PAID.

I'm not sure if he's the best receiver in the NFL, but I'd have no qualms about paying him like he is, especially after he's been a legit superstar working on a second-round pick's salary for two or three years.

Also, here's my reoccurring reminder that I'm made physically ill when I remember that Ohio State had a future NFL Hall of Fame receiver on the roster and somehow only used him enough to get him third-team All-Big Ten honors.

 BAD BREAK BENNETT. Man, Michael Bennett cannot catch a break.

Bennett was finally healthy after an injury-plagued professional career that's kept him sidelined more than he's been active, and then this happens on the first day as he tries to compete for a roster spot.

Prayers up. Mike's a great dude.

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