Skull Session: C.J. Stroud's Nation's Most Valuable, Ohio State Would Be 13-Point Favorite in The Game, and Buckeyes Add Valuable Support Staffer

By Kevin Harrish on January 14, 2022 at 5:35 am
C.J. Stroud is waiting for next season in today's skull session.

In the words of a famous poet, it's Friday – Friday. Got to get down on Friday.

Word of the Day: Alacrity.

 MVQB. "Best" is a pretty subjective term, which is why Bryce Young won pretty much every award there is over C.J. Stroud.

But what is objectively true is that Stroud was actually more valuable, coming in as the most valuable quarterback in the country according to EPA.

If you're still not keen on EPA (not the four-letter agency), it stands for "expected points added" and it's a wonderful stat that takes a whole host of things into consideration when judging a player – yard line, down and distance, time left and more.

Basically, it tells you how many points an individual player is worth to a team. "Expected Points" is how many points you would expect a team to score as a result of an average quarterback in particular situations whereas "Expected Points Added" is how many more (or fewer) points the team actually does score because of him.

The part that matters: Stroud was worth 188.04 points to Ohio State this season, which is the most in the country and more than 40 points more than Bryce Young was worth to Alabama.

I think he deserves a little more credit for the absolutely insane season he just had. But it's fine, he'll just go ahead and have a better one next year.

 NATURE IS HEALING. I, like most of you, desperately want to see Ohio State restore order to the universe by doing absolutely horrific things to the Michigan football team next November.

And the good news is, the way things are trending, that seems to be what the rest of the world is expecting to happen. Because if The Game were played today, the Buckeyes would be a near two-touchdown favorite – just like old times.

I've said this before, but the clearest difference between the two programs is how fans have reacted to this 2021 season.

Michigan is out celebrating a season that ended in a nationally-televised execution like it's the best thing that's happened to its football program in two decades (to be fair, it is). There will be no improvement this offseason.

Meanwhile, Ohio State just went scorched earth on its coaching staff after a season that was, at the end of the day, only marginally worse than Michigan's. They finished the season ranked No. 6 in one poll and No. 5 in another and parted ways with 40% of the coaching staff.

More than that, the last time Ohio State was in Michigan's position of getting embarrassed in a playoff game after an otherwise solid season, the Buckeyes fired everyone involved on the offensive side of the ball, too.

All that to say, Ohio State is going to be spending this entire offseason meticulously turning itself into a venge-filled death machine. I have my doubts that Michigan is doing the same.

 WHY NOT BOTH? In addition to coordinating the defense, Jim Knowles is expected to serve as Ohio State's linebackers coach – hence Al Washington's departure.

This is cool and good, considering that's been a position that's struggled since Luke Fickell left five years ago. But if there's one cause for concern, it could be that he hasn't technically been a hands-on linebackers coach in a minute.

Instead, he's been delegating that task to graduate assistant Koy McFarland for quite a while.

Jim Knowles left an Oklahoma State defense that loved him, regardless of the position of the players.

However, for the linebackers — of which Knowles was initially also their position coach — his departure may have hit a little bit harder.

Fortunately for them, however, there has been some stability during Fiesta Bowl preparation even without their position coach.

According to Cowboy coach Mike Gundy, Koy McFarland — a defensive graduate assistant — has been running the show for the linebackers, and it hasn't just been during the past month.

"He's been coaching them all year," Gundy said prior to the team's departure for Arizona. "I mean, he coaches them in practice every day and meets with them. Jim (Knowles) doesn't coach a position. Jim is not a position coach (anymore). He's a walk around coordinator."

But I have good news – Ohio State went ahead and hired that guy, too.

So for anyone bothered that the Buckeyes don't technically have a linebackers coach, meet Ohio State's new linebackers coach.

That said, he's reportedly been hired for an "off-the-field" role *wink* since only Ryan Day, the 10 assistant coaches, and the four graduate assistants are permitted to give on-field instruction.

So, I was only kidding. I'm sure he will definitely, absolutely, positively not be coaching Ohio State's linebackers in any capacity at all. Just like he definitely wasn't coaching Oklahoma State's linebackers as a quality control coach last year. And just like Brian Hartline definitely wasn't coaching Ohio State's wide receivers as a quality control coach before Zach Smith got canned.

 WHO SAYS NO? Speaking of support staff, I'd like to unironically nominate Demario McCall for a position. And I'm sure not the only one.

Of course, that would assume he's not on an NFL roster next fall and I'm not comfortable making that assumption.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Otis" by Jay-Z and Kanye West.

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