Game Day Skull Session: Get Dumped Then, Indiana

By Kevin Harrish on September 14, 2019 at 4:59 am
Get dumped then, Indiana.

Indiana is like gigantic garden weed that still takes weeks to even whither after I paint it with enough concentrated Round-Up that I'm flirting with chemical weapons charges. There's no doubt it's going to die eventually, but it takes too damn long and is a gigantic waste of my time and resources.

The Hoosier's are pesky – no denying that. They've been within one score of the Buckeyes at the half in four of the last five matchups, owning a halftime lead in three of them.

They're dying early today.

Indiana's undoubtedly hoping for a little home-field sorcery in The Rock (aptly named, given that being relegated to playing football for Indiana is damn near a prison sentence), but it ain't happening. The Hoosiers will be buried by halftime and once again, they'll have to be content with the current biggest win in program history – losing to Ohio State by just a touchdown in 2015.

For those making the trek, be warned that somehow Indiana remains terrible at moving people through a state that has nothing but empty space and is literally nicknamed "The Crossroads of America." The highways are in a constant shambolic state and you should avoid I-465 at all costs due to construction.

As for the rest of the slate, folks are going to hate it, but it honestly ain't bad! Just a little misunderstood.

9/14 SLATE
12:00 #6 OHIO STATE @ INDIANA OSU (-18.5) FOX
12:00 #21 MARYLAND @ TEMPLE MD (-7.5) CBSS
3:30 STANFORD @ #17 UCF UCF (-8.5) ESPN
3:30 #24 USC @ BYU USC (-4.5) ABC
4:00 #19 IOWA @ IOWA STATE IOWA (2.5) FS1
7:30 TCU @ PURDUE TCU (-2.5) BTN
8:00 #5 OKLAHOMA @ UCLA OKLA (-23.5) FOX

Word of the Day: Mutilate.


 HOMECOMING. Austin Mack is somehow a senior already, and is playing his second-to-last game in his home state of Indiana today.

I think he's extremely underrated and expect him to not only ball out this afternoon, but the rest of the season as well.

From Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch:

His season ended prematurely at Purdue when he suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The injury required surgery, and it wasn’t until after spring practice that the soreness disappeared.

With his senior year underway, Mack knows what he wants his football legacy to be.

“A guy that tackled adversity and then ended up making it something special,” he said.

He referenced Terry McLaurin, another Indiana native who was a late-bloomer at Ohio State.

“He had 35 catches last year and now is a starting receiver for the (Washington) Redskins,” Mack said.

He revels in his role as a leader, a guy who encourages younger players and is relied on to make third-down catches and key blocks.

Mack might be the most "people forget" player on this team, probably because he missed seven games last year and was buried on the depth chart before that.

But I ain't giving up on him yet.

 URBAN TALKS ABOUT THINGS. If you watch the correct pregame show today, you'll see plenty of Urban Meyer talking about college football, but I've got some bonus Urban #takes for you right here.

Given how good he is at his whole analyst gig, it's totally unshocking that the entire interview was fascinating. 

He swoons about Joe Burrow, reveals that he knows how to coach Michigan's offense better than anyone at Michigan, and tossed a little shade at the SEC's scheduling practices and the College Football Playoff Committee for not valuing strength of schedule.

You should probably just watch the video, but here are some highlights:

On Joe Burrow
  • Colin Cowherd somehow has no idea Joe Burrow played for Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
  • Meyer called Burrow "Tough as nails."
  • "It was inches from who our starter was," Meyer said. "Dwayne won the battle, and Joe left as a graduate transfer."
  • Meyer said Burrow has NFL talent.
On Michigan's offense:
  • "They have to start doing what they said they were going to be doing and that’s playing in space,” Meyer said.
  • "The way the game unfolded last week, it was a bunch of runs right in a row."
  • "You're talking about a complete talent mismatch in the perimeter. I kept waiting, like I think a lot of the fans, 'get the ball out there and let these athletes go against an Army athlete in the back end, and it's just obviously that Army doesn't have the same athletes that they have.
  • "If they want to play athletes in space, they have to start doing that."
On Nick Saban ducking top teams, home-and-homes and games outside the southeast
  • "At Ohio State, Gene Smith and I, we had Cal – I mean, who knew Cal was going to be down a little bit? – we had Cal, we had Virginia Tech, we had Oklahoma, they have Oregon coming," Meyer said
  • "The schedule philosophy is to play a big-time program home-and-home. That's for your fans, that's for the college football playoff so you get the schedule strength," Meyer said. "So that's the involvement I had."
  • "I mean, I like it. I like to win," Meyer said of playing those games. "I get it, you have to do that, in our opinion."
  • "I think Alabama's changing, but it's way down the road."
On schedule strength
  • "You have to figure too, the SEC's getting two teams a year in the playoff, and Ohio State's not," Meyer said. "So does schedule strength really matter? Should it matter more?"
  • "Those are all debates. I remember me and Gene (Smith) and I talking about it. You can say schedule strength matters, but does it?"
  • "If Ohio State doesn't get into the playoff, or another school doesn't get into the playoff, and they're playing nine conference games and another big-time opponent and they don't get it, yet someone is playing eight conference games and maybe not the strongest non-conference, but they do get two in – those are all conversations you have to have."

Meyer also drew up a play for former Penn State player Lavar Arrington, for his high school team.

"It's gonna work," Meyer said. "It's gonna work."

 WHY AM I STILL DOING THIS? Last week, I topped my 1-4 week-one performance with the only thing worse: 0-5. I am now a hilarious 1-9 on the season, which is technically just as difficult as going 1-9!

I'm going to keep going because of water finding its level, or something.

Here's the deal – I like too many games this week to narrow it down to five. If I did that, I'd inevitably pick the wrong five anyway and hurt my record even more. So let's do the responsible thing and chase my 1-9 start with a heavy week!

We'll do this as a speed round.

  • Syracuse +28 against Clemson: I think Syracuse is undervalued after getting its teeth kicked in against Maryland and Clemson hasn't looked dominant enough to justify it as a four-touchdown road favorite in the venue formerly known as the Carrier Dome.
  • NC State -7 against West Virginia: I just don't think folks realize just how terrible West Virginia is this year, and that's pretty much the entire premise of this pick. NC State is fine, and fine is a touchdown better than the dumpster fire in Morgantown that's had one red zone possession in two games.
  • NC State vs. West Virginia UNDER 46: Did I mention that West Virginia is atrocious? The offense is just terrible, but its defense is actually pretty okay. I don't see these two teams combining for many points.
  • Arizona State +14.5 against Michigan State: The total in this game is set at around 40 points. Nobody's winning this game by more than two touchdowns. Give me Arizona State's defense and 14.5 points, please.
  • Pittsburgh +17.5 against Penn State: Pitt got curb-stomped in this game last year, but I don't think this is the same Penn State team as last year, and I think Pitt is (maybe?) better than last year. I'm not saying they win, but I like them to stay within two tuddies and a field goal.
  • Illinois -7 against Eastern Michigan: I'm oddly in on Illinois (or should I say USC Lite) this season. They've got a fine defense and a solid running game, and Eastern Michigan is playing its third-straight road game to start the season. I think the Illini cruise.
  • UCF -8.5 against Stanford: Stanford has not impressed me through two games and while I don't think UCF is anywhere near as good as its been the past two seasons, I think it's the noticeably better team which will be looking for style points against its only Power Five opponent this season.
  • Minnesota vs. Georgia Southern UNDER 46: A triple option team is playing a team that I watched go on a 10-minute, 18 play drive two weeks ago. They could put this total two touchdowns lower and I'd still bite. 
  • Iowa State +3 against Iowa: This game is always bananas and close till the end, so I'm going to ride with the home team coming off a BYE getting points. I wouldn't be shocked if the Cyclones win this straight up, but I'll take the points.

Based on how this is going so far this season, fade all of those and pay off your mortgage!

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