Skull Session: Northwestern's Legendary Long Grass, Three Buckeyes (Current and Former) Sit Atop Draft Boards, and Ohio State is a Healthy Favorite Over Wisconsin

By Kevin Harrish on October 17, 2019 at 4:59 am
Coach mick is leading them into war in today's skull session.

I can't believe we're bumping any sort of football game for any sort of baseball game in the year 2019, but hey, there are bright sides.


Word of the Day: Fatuous.

 WHERE THE GRASS IS LONG AND THE GAMES AIN'T PRETTY. Take a seat, pink locker rooms at Kinnick Stadium, Northwestern has without doubt the most absurd home-field advantage in the conference – obnoxiously long grass.

You might have thought that was just an urban legend, but first-hand accounts claim it is very real.

From Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic ($):

“That might have been the longest grass I’ve ever played on between high school, college and the NFL,” (Joshua) Perry says. “I think it’s smart. Coach (Pat) Fitzgerald knows what he has in his program year-in and year-out. He’ll tell you, in his locker room, they’re not the fastest guys, the best athletes. But they’re smart and they play hard. If they let the grass grow a little longer and if he feels that’s an advantage against faster teams, he should have the right to do it. It’s such a small thing … but I think I might do the same thing if I were him.”


The grass almost certainly helped keep the Buckeyes within reach.

“I would say when you see a player with grass coming from his knee pads and it’s not from sliding, it’s from the grass actually being that high, you notice it,” says Teddy Greenstein, a college football writer for the Chicago Tribune who covered that game. “It seems like it is an urban legend, but I think it’s an urban legend that’s true. And it’s smart of Northwestern because if you’re going against an opponent who has a half-dozen 4.4 (40-yard dash) guys and you’ve got one 4.4 guy, you do whatever you can to neutralize.

“It worked in that Ohio State game almost perfectly. They almost sprung that upset. … You have to do whatever you can to give yourself an advantage.”

At this point, Northwestern is just playing along.

The bad news for the Wildcats is that this works both ways, and their offense certainly doesn't need any help moving in slow motion.

 THREEPEAT. At this point, I'm getting used to the NFL Draft looking like a damn Ohio State infomercial every year, but there's a chance this year's edition is the most egregious to date.

Behold, this glorious mock draft from Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus:


Burrow has sustained elite play every game for half a season. He’s torched one of the best secondaries in college football. He’s got a stronger arm and quicker release that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. We’ve never seen a quarterback with a higher passing grade through the first seven weeks of the season. He may not be at the top of boards right now, but he’s shooting his way up there.


I firmly believe the Dolphins didn’t gut their roster completely to get a consolation prize at QB. If they don’t have their guy at number one overall, they’ll go best player available. With the highest pass-rushing grade we’ve ever seen from a defensive lineman, Young certainly qualifies as that. 


Back-to-back Buckeyes, as Young and Okudah are the two highest defensive players on our board. Okudah has only given up a passer rating of 58.4 in his coverage for his career. He has all the length and athleticism to be a shut-down man corner in the NFL. 

If you're keeping track at home, that's:

  1. Former Buckeye Quarterback and Ohio State graduate
  2. Current Buckeye
  3. Current Buckeye

I'm not suggesting we can claim Joe Burrow as #DevelopedHere material at this point, and we sure as hell won't be making a Draft Day graphic for him once he's selected, but if Chris Chugunov ain't the first quarterback taken then you bet your ass I want it to be Joey B.

 GET THAT EARLY ACTION. Ohio State may not be looking ahead to Wisconsin, but Vegas sure as hell is, and they've got the Bucks as multi-score favorites over the lowly ground creatures.

I'd tell you to get your bets in now, but Wisconsin is going to do unspeakable things to Illinois' run defense on Saturday, so there's a chance that you can get a better number next week.

Not that it really matters either way, since the Bucks are going to win by 20. But why pay more, am I right?

 UNREQUITED HATE? It seems the next chapter in the Tragedy of the Michigan Man is pretending that The Game doesn't matter that much to make the pain go away.

From Victor Mather of the New York Times:

The professors sought out hard-core fans of North American professional teams and college football teams and asked them to allocate 100 points among their most hated rivals. A Minnesota fan might allocate 50 points to Wisconsin, 40 to Iowa and 10 to Michigan. Other fan bases might target their dislike more sharply. A U.C.L.A. fan might give 80, 90 or even all 100 points to Southern California.

The top-scoring rivalries by these criteria are not necessarily the most famous, or the fiercest. Rather, they are the ones where neither team has any other significant rivals to steal away points. Topping the college football chart is Arizona-Arizona State. With no other serious rivals, Arizona fans gave an average of 89 points to their cross-state rival, and Arizona State averaged 83 points back.

In second place is a rivalry nearly everyone would cite as one of the biggest. Michigan fans gave 69 points to Ohio State (with Michigan State and Notre Dame also getting some support). And Ohio State fans were even more unanimous, giving 91 points to Michigan.

Only nice percent compared to 91 percent (frankly, I'm embarrassed it was even that low). See, THAT'S the mentality that gets you that beautiful 1-14 record over the past 15 years.

 PAY HOMAGE. Not only do the fine folks at Homage make marvelously soft Scarlet and Gray threads, they deliver delightful video content that gets my goosebumps bumping on this fine autumn day.

Since we're all sharing our "Why we're Buckeyes" stories, when I was five years old, I visited my oldest sister at Ohio State and confidently informed my parents that I would not be going to kindergarten, I would just go straight to college and be a Buckeye.

The tyrants made me wait 13 more years and moved me to Georgia to increase the difficulty, but I did it. And I may not be a letterman linebacker like Joshua Perry, Zack Boren or Bobby Carpenter, but I rep my alma mater and pay homage just the same.

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