Skull Session: Ranking Ohio State All-Time, Chase Young is Quite Exciting, and Ohio State Bolsters Its Psychology Staff

By Kevin Harrish on August 16, 2019 at 4:59 am
Future first-round pick Damon Arnette stares at today's skull session.

Well, well, well, what have we here?

I respect it. And if he goes on to become a successful receiver, it's going to make his Ohio State single-game completion percentage record all the more hilarious.


Word of the Day: Numinous.

 THIRD-BEST ALL-TIME. College football turns 150 this year, and while it's hilarious to me that we even consider whatever the hell they were doing in 1919 the same sport we love to know today, you bet your ass I'll go to war arguing that Chic Harley was better than John Maulbetsch or Red Grange.

For some reason, we college football fans very much care about all of it. We take immense pride in players some of our great-grandparents weren't even alive to see. We cling to national titles before the forward pass was allowed, and honor All-Americans before the introduction of the extra point.

It's noble and fun, but it makes it pretty damn hard to truly compare teams and programs stretching across decades of wildly different football.

But that doesn't stop us from trying!

ESPN Stats & Information took a crack at ranking the top-40 college football programs of the past 150 years, and Ohio State checks in at No. 3, behind only No 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 Alabama.

3. Ohio State

Rating: 69.6 | 8 national titles

Buckeyes fans are known to be demanding, but that's because they've grown accustomed to excellence. It will come as news in Tuscaloosa that Ohio State finished first in our rating since 1969. That's because five of the Buckeyes' six coaches since 1951, from Woody Hayes to Urban Meyer, are either in the College Football Hall of Fame or waiting for the call (Meyer will be eligible in 2021). No pressure, Ryan Day.

I've apparently complained enough about ESPN rolling out these math-based rankings and lists without showing their work that they've done something that seems a bit unprecedented – given us the formula.

Teams should be judged by winning games and winning championships, since those records exist all the way back to the early years. While some early game outcomes are even disputed between teams, national titles are subject to far greater debate. Fortunately, the NCAA decided that issue for us with its official list of major-college champions.

In our judgment, integration and scholarship limitations have made the past 50 years the most competitive the game has seen. The previous 50 years (the middle 50) were less so due to segregation and some regionalized scheduling that still allowed for occasional games against non-college teams. And the first 50 years, for all they gave us, were just a shadow of today's sport due to large-scale scheduling inequities and rules and a scoring system that were still in flux.


Dominance, 20% -- number of national championships
Peak strength, 20% -- winning percentage for best 50 seasons in program history
Since integration, 30% -- winning percentage over the past 50 seasons (1969-2018)
Early modern, 20% -- winning percentage over the middle 50 seasons (1919-1968). Mostly pre-integration and included some games against non-college teams
Pre-modern, 10% -- winning percentage over the first 50 seasons (1869-1918) *mostly pre-standardization of current rules and many games against non-college teams

National championships below the FBS level count at 50%
National championships before the poll era (1936) count at 50%
Winning percentages when a team was not in Division I are reduced by 10%

I have to admit, that's more thorough than I expected. They found a way to weigh wins in different eras and even compensated for the relative worthlessness of "national titles" before the poll era.

I'm typically not one to accept second place, much less third, but as a 150-year checkpoint on an endless marathon, I'll take it. Especially when it's three spots ahead of that team to the north, who are almost-certainly outraged that 40 years of their wins count about as much as they should – 10 percent.

 THE EXCITING PREDATOR. When folks use those football buzzwords like "exciting" or "game-breaking" to describe a football player, your mind probably goes here:


And that's fair! But the thing is, defensive linemen are people too, and "game-breaking" could also be this:

Also exciting.

If we're talking exciting players, I don't know about y'all, but to me, a guy nicknamed The Predator folding a quarterback over his shoulder like a sandbag at full speed is pretty damn exciting.

Edward Aschoff of ESPN agrees, ranking Young as the 14th most-exciting player in college football.

14. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: Young could be the No. 1 pick in next year's NFL draft. Nicknamed "The Predator," Young had 14.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks last year. The sideline-to-sideline defensive end can chase down the fastest running backs and drop back into coverage if needed. He broke up five passes last year and had 71 defensive pressures on the season, getting 14 in the Buckeyes' win over Penn State

Young was one of only two defenders and the only non-skill player to make the cut. And I've got a strong hunch he's going to live up to the hype.

 STAYING ALIVE, STAYING ALIVE. St. John Arena is the building that will not die. That thing has been rumored to be near demolition for well over a decade. I wasn't even sure it would still be around by the time I started school in 2013.

But they weren't just rumors, it was actually slated for demolition in 2016 before complications arose. Today, the magnificent beast is not only still alive, but very much in demand and booked for multiple years out!

You know Ohio State has to love folks celebrating that an event that's been regularly held at the $100 million arena are celebrating moving down the road to a 63-year-old arena with an emphatic "WE DID IT!!!!!"

But video screens, tho...

 MORE HELP FOR THE BUCKEYES. Ohio State's been vocal about valuing mental health and it looks like they're also about that action.

The athletic department announced on Thursday that it has doubled the size of its sports psychology staff and will now include four full-time staff members.

From an Ohio State release:

The Ohio State Department of Athletics has doubled its sport psychology area to now include four full-time staff members who will provide increased access to mental health and performance enhancement services to student-athletes competing in all 36 Buckeye varsity sports.

Dr. Candice Williams and Charron Sumler recently joined the department as new counselors. Their arrival reinforces the commitment the department has to enhancing access for its student-athletes to mental health professionals. Williams and Sumler will be joined by a third new professional in September, Dr. Chelsi Day, and all three will work with Dr. Jamey Houle, the lead sport psychologist for Ohio State athletics.

“Increasing the size of our staff is extremely significant in the area of mental health for our student-athletes,” Houle, an All-American gymnast for Ohio State and the program’s nominee for the 2004 Nissen Emery Award as the top senior in college gymnastics, said. “Our sport psychology and counseling staff will be able to provide more consultation, group work and team presentations, and be more involved in performance team meetings as needed.”

Every program says they're dedicated to supporting the mental health of their student athletes, but I'm proud that everything suggests that Ohio State actually walking that walk at the head coach level, the player level, and now the administrative level.

Here's what's gone on in the past two months or so:

  • Inspired by personal tragedy, Ryan Day announced the creation The Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and personally pledged $100,000 to the fund.
  • Inspired by his own hometown and family tragedy, Robert Landers publicly discussed the importance mental health and his own struggles.
  • Cincinnati head Luke Fickell revealed that Ohio State filed a waiver for immediate eligibility on behalf of transfer wide receiver Blue Smith, and praised Ohio State for "really trying to help him out" with his transfer process when he was struggling with mental health.
  • Now, Ohio State's doubled the size of its sports psychology staff.

I will make no quips or jokes here. I'm just proud of the football program at my alma mater for doing these things. That's all.

 TARGETING? I woke up yesterday with a mass email from the Big Ten Conference which included a delightful video about some rule changes about the enforcement of America's favorite penalty.

It also features some fantastically cheesy electric guitar shredding straight out of an early 90s elementary school education documentary, for your listening pleasure.

The email said the purpose of this video is to "educate the media and fans not only to the rules, but to the rationale and intent of these policies," which roughly translates to "watch this so you're slightly less pissed."

All in all, I think the "please be less pissed" goal will come to fruition because this should hypothetically lead to fewer bullshit ejections.

Orrrr it will lead to even more outrage when a call that absolutely should not be "confirmed" still leads to an ejection, which will for sure happen more than once this season.

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