Skull Session: Alabama Owns the Portal, Ohio State Survived a Loaded Non-Conference Schedule, and Devin Brown is Already Working

By Kevin Harrish on December 22, 2021 at 5:25 am
Ohio State is banging a drum in today's skull session.

Christmas is nigh, folks. Let's be extra jolly (or don't; follow your heart).

Word of the Day: Diminution.

 RICH GET RICHER. Ryan Day and Ohio State have taken a cautious approach to the transfer portal with Day saying things like “you have to take the dynamics of your team into consideration," and “I think your team and the chemistry of your team is something that we have to really be on top of," and "bringing guys in can kind of upset that.”

And Day's put that into action recently, reportedly turning down LSU cornerback Eli Ricks, who might be the best cornerback in the country, because he was concerned that bringing him in would lead to some transfers and also hurt the 2022 recruiting class (which, by the way, suffered a signing day flip anyway).

At the very least, it's admirably loyal to the current and future players. And for that, I have to tip my cap.

Meanwhile, however, you know who doesn't seem to give even the slightest shit about upsetting team chemistry while pursuing the best players in the country? The guy who's won half the national titles in the last decade.

While Ohio State let Ricks walk, Nick Saban accepted him with open arms, and then went out and got the best transfer running back in the country, just for fun.

This gives Alabama the top transfer corner and top transfer running back – the No. 2 and No. 4 transfer players on the market.

For context here, Nick Saban just signed a five-star running back in back-to-back classes, has the top running back in the country from 2019 still on the roster, and signed two top-100 prospects at running back in the 2020 class. And he just decided to add Jahmyr Gibbs too, because he can.

He's also adding Ricks to a roster that currently has two starters who probably should return next season (if their jobs aren't given to somebody better, of course), followed by the top freshman corner in the 2021 class and another high-level transfer Saban brought in last year.

This is the same Nick Saban that went ahead and brought in Henry To'oTo'o last season despite having three five-star linebackers and four more top-100 players waiting their turn on the roster, and who brought in Jameson Williams in the same class as three top-50 freshman receivers to add to a roster that already had John Metchie.

I appreciate Ryan Day's thought process and genuinely believe he's trying to do right by the players he recruits out of high school. That's noble and good and probably shouldn't just be ignored. Great intentions there, and I'm sure the players love him for it.

But that doesn't change how frustrating it is to see Alabama absolutely load itself with elite transfer player after elite transfer player with absolutely no consequences to high school recruiting as they continue to rake in the No. 1 or No. 2 class every single year.

I'm not Ryan Day. He knows how to manage a roster and I'm sure he knows his players, his roster situation, team chemistry, his recruiting and his player development a hell of a lot better than I do. Plus, it's not like he hasn't been willing to blow up a position group before when it needed a boost from the transfer portal (see Fields, Justin).

But it still just sucks to see Bama being Bama and Saban being Saban with no signs of it letting up.

 LOADED SCHEDULE. 11 games into the season, Ohio State finds itself with a 9-2 record and ranked No. 14 in the country with its two losses coming by a combined eight points against KenPom top-30 teams.

That's impressive by itself, but it's even more impressive when you consider the injuries to both Justice Sueing and Seth Towns, as well as just how insanely loaded the Buckeyes' schedule has been so far.

Hand up, with how absolutely loaded this non-conference schedule was, I fully expected this team to be like 6-5 at this point even with Sueing healthy. But I'm obviously a complete moron!

So far, this team has been absolutely delightful to watch and gives me real hope about the rest of the season and all the seasons after that, which is a stellar change of pace!

 ALREADY WORKING. It's been less than a week since Devin Brown and Kyion Grayes sent in their letters of intent, but the future teammates are already out there putting in the work, even during the holiday season.

As someone who spends 90 percent of his day on his couch typing words on a screen with a snack nearby, I cannot empathize with this sort of voluntary physical activity! But I'm glad about it!

 OUCH! We're less than a month removed from me earnestly hyping Ohio State's offensive line as the best in the country.

Let me tell you, life comes at you fast.

Given what I watched for 60 minutes in Ann Arbor when all 15 million people watching knew Michigan was going to run the ball and there wasn't a damn thing the Buckeyes could do about it, I'd say this is uh... well deserved, regretfully.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Mary Did You Know?" by Pentatonix.

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