Skull Session: The Buckeyes Are Dominating Like It's 1944, CJ Saunders' Father Talks Sons Injury, and Paris Johnson Jr.'s Highlight Tape Impresses

By Kevin Harrish on November 15, 2019 at 4:59 am
KJ Hill is signaling first down in today's skull session.

I turned in an 80-0 score prediction for his week's game and I'm already worried I underestimated the Buckeyes.

That's where we're at this week.


Word of the Day: Guerdon.

 MORE DOMINANT THAN DOMINANT. At some point (probably after the Natty is safely in hand), the conversation about this Buckeye team is going to shift away from "is it the best college football team in the country?" to something like "is it the best college football team of all time?"

We've already talked about the Bucks breaking records in multiple computer models, outpacing every other historic Ohio State team in terms of scoring margin, and having a radar chart that's damn near a perfect circle. But they're also doing things that haven't been done since the World War II era.

The Buckeyes (9-0, 6-0) are dominating in a way college football hasn’t seen since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. And when Laurinaitis meets with Big Ten coaches, they tend to steer the conversation toward his alma mater, where he was a star linebacker.

“(Frost) goes, ‘I’ve been around a lot of teams. I’ve been on the field (coaching against) the 2014 team, and I just feel like this is the most complete, dominant college football team I’ve seen with my own eyes,’” Laurinaitis said. “And you’re like, ‘Oh, OK.’

Dominant might be an understatement.

Ohio State leads the nation in scoring at 51 points per game and is giving up the fewest in the country at 8.6. The last team to average at least 50 and allow fewer than 10 was Army in 1944, according to The cadets put up four shutouts in their 9-0, national championship season and didn’t allow more than 7 points in any game.

I'd also offer a wild guess that the teams Ohio State has been waxing this season are quite a bit more talented than most of the teams Army faced, though Army probably put up those numbers without ever even throwing a pass, so maybe we'll just call that a wash.

Almost every number we have suggests this team isn't just good, it's bordering on legendary. I – like the rest of you – am not going to celebrate until there's hardware in hand, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to peep the numbers and enjoy the ride of arguably the most dominant season of all time.

 BITTERSWEET SENIOR SEASON. This was supposed to be the final chapter in CJ Saunders' storybook, 30-for-30-esque season. Instead, he hasn't played a single snap and won't for the rest of the year.

His father, Tim Saunders, acknowledged that the sudden change of plans for his senior season wasn't exactly easy on his son, but he's responded well.

“It shook him up at the very beginning, I think,” Tim said, “but after that, he’s handled it well. He’s in good hands with the trainers and doctors that are working with him and rehabbing him every day.

“And, yeah, I think he was expecting a lot more out of this year, it’s been a bummer he’s not out on the field, but mentally, he’s handled it well. He’s been mature about it. That’s sports. Sometimes you get a bad break, and that was a bad break.”


As a captain, Saunders is expected to remain on the travel roster for the rest of the season.

You wouldn't really think losing a former walk-on receiver who's barely played a competitive snap (he did catch a pass in the 2017 Penn State game, people forget) would be a huge deal for a team loaded at receiver, but I honestly think Saunders would have played quite a few meaningful snaps this year, mostly considering nobody else has really emerged besides KJ Hill in the slot.

I'm rooting for him to get right and be granted the medical redshirt, because with Hill gone next year, there's a legit path to playing time. In the mean time though, we all know he'll be leading his unit like nobody else. Even if he's gotta do it while hobbling around on crutches.

 WHOLESOME HARRY MILLER. There's no such thing as a perfect person, but if I were to create a model person to clone in order to preserve the long-term survival of the human race, Harry Miller would absolutely make the short list.

The dude is the No. 30 prospect coming out of high school, was the valedictorian of his school (which is a top-20 high school in the state of Georgia), is a regular missionary to Nicaragua, plays piano beautifully, and is by all accounts an extremely kind and thoughtful individual.

Exhibit A:

If Harry Miller didn't play one of the least glamorous positions in football – interior offensive line – I honestly believe he would have Tim Tebow/Aaron Craft status on campus by the time he graduated. They're all cut from the same cloth.

 PARIS JOHNSON, PEOPLE MOVER. We now move from the "how is a single human that kind and god?" portion of Ohio State's future offensive line to the "oh my God, those kids had families!" portion of Ohio State's future offensive line.

I think the Orlando Pace comparisons generally get tossed out there way too soon when we're talking about dominant high school offensive linemen, but uhhhhh, that's my only comparison here. Nobody else tossed opponents around like rag dolls quite like that.

 LITTLE PREDATOR. Before Chase Young was a quarterback-hunting Predator, he was just a (still rather hulking and physically imposing) kid.

I had two, nearly concurrent thoughts to seeing that photo.

1) "He looks so young!"

2) "Oh my god, they let him play against other middle schoolers?"

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Why do Dubai princesses keep trying to escape?... Hilton Head McDonald’s served man sweet tea with a side of weed... How the Internet Archive is digitizing LPs to preserve generations of audio... Three Indiana judges are suspended after a White Castle brawl... Mary Steenburgen went under the knife for a routine surgery in 2009 and woke up as a different person and became a great songwriter... Pigeons could be losing their toes because of human hair.

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