Skull Session: Buckeyes' National Title Odds Somehow Fall, College Football's Roster Size Problem, and Ohio State's Graphics Team Wastes No Time

By Kevin Harrish on February 3, 2021 at 5:09 am
We're happy in today's skull session.

One day, I'm going to tell my kids about when players actually signed their LOIs on national signing day.

Word of the Day: Haptic.

 TOUGH CROWD. Here's a head-scratcher – last week, Ohio State beat Penn State and smacked Michigan State to extend its hot streak to six wins in seven games, earning the Buckeye a No. 7 ranking in the AP Poll.

... and their national title odds somehow went down.

Yes, last week the sportsbook gave Ohio State 33/1 odds to win the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. As of yesterday, that number is 40/1.

Now, to be fair, pretty much everyone else's odds dropped too. Only the top-four teams and Alabama (which lost its last game by five?) saw their odds increase. So basically, bettors are just increasingly convinced that one of those teams will win the natty.

That's fine. Keep doubting Zed Key and the Buckeyes. Before you know it, they'll be cutting down the nets.

 GOTTA DO SOMETHING. You could pretty easily make a solid top-10 list of the wildest and most completely unprecedented things to happen in college football in 2020.

But my personal favorite is when the NCAA gave every single player an extra season of eligibility without seeming to even remotely consider the long-term roster, recruiting and financial ramifications.

But now, almost six months later, they're realizing there are going to be some problems in the coming years.

The transfer surge is expected to continue well into next year’s cycle, not only because of the one-time transfer exception but as a result of a COVID-19-inspired rule granting each athlete an extra year of eligibility. While the seniors who return for next season do not count against a team’s 85 scholarship limit, players from all future classes do.


For instance, players who were juniors in the fall of 2020 and would normally have graduated by the 2022 season will now have the option to return as fifth- or even sixth-year seniors. They’d count against the 85. Meanwhile, some freshman classes in 2021 will be giant: 25 incoming freshmen will be coupled with roughly 25 “COVID-shirted” freshmen (true sophomores who were freshmen during 2020) for a 50-person rookie class. That leaves 35 scholarship spots for three classes.

While teams can have 85 players on scholarship each year, they can sign only 25 new players a year. The 100 signees over four years leaves a 15-player wiggle room for natural attrition. New transfer legislation and the impending COVID-shirter wave is causing unnatural attrition.

In the 2022 and 2023 recruiting cycles, coaches have one of two choices: retain their scholarship players and add fewer signees, or push out scholarship players and sign a normal class.

“The biggest challenge are these juniors who are going to be seniors [in 2022],” says Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell. “Those are going to be hard discussions.”

The entire piece does a great job of highlighting how there already aren't anywhere near enough roster spots available for kids thinking they're going to transfers, and that's before you give every player for at least four classes an extra season of eligibility and allow a free one-time transfer for all players.

Unless the NCAA does something about the 85 scholarship limit, this is going to be a complete disaster in a couple of years and is almost certainly going to cost some kids college degrees they otherwise would have received.

I'm all for giving players extra eligibility – that's fine. But doing it without adjusting roster size limits at all is going to leave countless kids hung out to dry.

 OBEY YOUR ELDERS. Aaron Craft hasn't put on a Buckeye uniform in almost seven years and didn't even play under Chris Holtmann, but you'd be mistaken if you thought he didn't still have some clout in that locker room.

 Aaron Craft needs to return to the program as a team manager. I'm sure medical school and being a father is hard and stuff, but priorities are priorities.

 THAT WAS QUICK. Yesterday, EA Sports announced it will once again be making a college football video game. And Ohio State's graphics team wasted absolutely no time turning that into a recruiting opportunity.

The ABCs of Ohio State football – Always Be 'Crootin.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Honeysuckle Rose" by Fats Waller.

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