Skull Session: Imagining a Buckeye Loss to Maryland in 2018, Urban Meyer Breaks Down Defensive Schemes, and More In-State Hoops Battles Are Coming

By Kevin Harrish on November 8, 2019 at 4:59 am
J.K. Dobbins is in today's skull session.

I'm pleased to inform you that I have just taken a sudden interest in Florida State's coaching search.

There's no way this would be anything short of a disaster, but it would be a hell of a lot more fun of a disaster than Willie Taggart's dumpster fire.

I mean...

Sign me the hell up.


Word of the Day: Fey.

 URBAN TAKES US TO SCHOOL. Urban Meyer continues to stretch his lead as the best college football analyst on television and that race frankly hasn't even been close since the first week of the season.

At this rate, I'm about to start applying for Graduate Assistant positions and list my work experiences as "Madden and watching Urban Meyer on television."

 ONE PLAY AWAY. For those who've successfully wiped this game from your memories, I apologize for reminding you that Ohio State was one overtime two-point conversion away from losing to Maryland last year.

I fondly remember refusing to be angry about that game because I was sick of being miserable about my favorite football team not winning good enough, but in hindsight maybe I should have celebrated even more. Because if the Terps converted that two-pointer, a lot of stuff would have looked a lot different.

From Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:

A loss would have altered Meyer’s legacy. No Big Ten title, no 45-24 victory over Northwestern in Indianapolis, no Rose Bowl, his only two-loss season in Columbus. He would have lost twice as a double-digit favorite.

“That would have been a devastating loss,” said Meyer, now an analyst for Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff” pregame show. “We escaped fire.”

He paused, adding: “I’m actually getting a little sweat on my forehead thinking about it. I’d rather not.”

Greenstein's assumption seems to be that Meyer would have still retired, but just more unceremoniously. I'm not really that convinced he would have been able to call it quits after that, especially given what Shelley Meyer told Pete Thamel a few months later.

From Yahoo! Sports:

After Ohio State’s 52-51 overtime win at Maryland, which looked and felt more like a loss most of the day, Meyer went to hug his wife, Shelley. He recalled her shaking and she had tears streaming down her face. “She knew that if we don’t win that game, our lives and my life is going to be so different,” he said. “When I come home, [that loss] that would last for seven months.”

So I think Meyer probably would have tried to coach through his cyst for another season, which is an entirely new alternate history in itself that I'm sure everyone has pondered at least once.

Greenstein also pointed out that an Ohio State loss would have sent Michigan to the Big Ten title game and possibly kept Dwayne Haskins from receiving an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

That's one hell of a butterfly effect.

This is why I'm a huge fan of Ryan Day's approach of just blasting each team by four scores to keep the "What Ifs" from running wild.

The closest thing we've got now is "What if the Bucks would have covered the spread against FAU, just like they have in every other game?"

 WE'RE DOING THIS AGAIN? Y'all remember last year when Pro Football Focus' grading system routinely rated Alex Hornibrook as one of the best passers in the country, ahead of Dwayne Haskins?

I can't say this is that egregious, but it's certainly in the same vein – PFF's metrics currently have Clemson as the No. 1 team in the nation with Ohio State at No. 4.

From Pro Football Focus:


Ohio State checks in at No. 4 in our rankings but was just unveiled as the No.  1 team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. They have two cupcake matchups coming in the Big Ten before wrapping up with Penn State and Michigan. They have quite possibly the most talented quarterback in the country, who now sits tied with Joe Burrow as our top-graded signal-caller. Justin Fields is also the clear number one in grade from a clean pocket but drops to fourth on throws targeted 10 or more yards downfield. People are starting to realize that Chase Young is the most dominant player in college football and should be the first non-quarterback selected in the upcoming NFL Draft. He leads the best pass rush unit in the nation — one with an overall unit grade of 93.1 and that has allowed -.532 average EPA per pass attempt.

The best part is, this was part of their explanation as to why Clemson was No. 1:

"Our power rankings align most closely with betting markets compared to other polls or ranking systems, with Clemson still the odds on favorite to win the national title."

Now, that's funny because if you go to literally any casino, online gambling site or shady Venmo bookie, you'll quickly realize that Clemson decidedly not the odds on favorite to win the national title. Actually, they aren't even second. In some cases, they aren't even third.

And if we're "aligning closely with betting markets," here's a oddsmaker listing Clemson as an underdog to both Ohio State and Alabama.

Maybe PFF was just enamored with how well Clemson played against their godking when they beat Florida State 45-14 last month. That's the only explanation.

 MORE IN-STATE GAMES? Even as someone who routinely forgets basketball season even starts before Christmas, I'm going to go on record here and say the the hoops home-and-home with Cincinnati was fun as hell, even if both games were absolutely brutal to watch at times.

November college basketball games are damn close to meaningless and the start to that game was uglier than anything I'd ever even want to subject my children to, but because the game was against Cincinnati, I was tuned the hell in from start to finish and I soaked up every delicious tear from their fans afterwards.

And the good news is, we're getting more.

From my good pal Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News:

“I think we would look at further opportunities with Cincinnati and maybe even anybody in Ohio,” Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith told the Dayton Daily News while making clear nothing is imminent.

“There's no actions that are being taken at this point in time,” Smith said. “Chris and I haven't specifically talked about Dayton or Xavier, but he and I share a similar philosophy that we ought to try and play Ohio schools if possible, which is why we're doing that with the exhibition games as well. So he and I haven't talked about those two in particular, but I imagine down the road we probably will.”

If Ohio State calls, UD director of athletics Neil Sullivan confirmed he would listen.

“I think we have a good relationship, and if it's something that would ever be of interest to them certainly we'd play them, whether it’s a home-and-home or we've also talked about playing neutral,” Sullivan said.

I'm extremely down with more regular season games and home-and-homes with teams that aren't just Cincinnati, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to be satisfied until we're given the all-Ohio hoops tournament we deserve.

Schedule it, you cowards!

 BIG(GER) THANOS? Folks, I think I have found Dawand Jones: The Sequel and Ryan Day needs to do everything he can to get him on campus.

Also, we're going to have to hand Big Thanos the ball someday and let him rumble, aren't we?

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