Skull Session: Ohio State is Most Valuable in Conference Re-Alignment, Hoops Newcomers Get Hilarious Welcome, and Tackle Development Has Lacked

By Kevin Harrish on July 15, 2022 at 6:19 am
Gene Smith and Ryan Day are running the ship in today's skull session.


Word of the Day: Rapine.

 START FROM SCRATCH. Ohio State doesn't really have to worry about shopping itself to other conferences at this point since the Big Ten is one of the poachers, not one of the poached.

But even if they did, everything would be fine completely fine on our end because Ohio State is easily the most desirable school in college athletics from a conference realignment standpoint.

The overall top pick in a blow-it-up-and-start-over iteration of big-time college athletics would be Ohio State. The Buckeyes check all boxes: football excellence, quality academics, all-sports success and a massive alumni base/fan following that fills the stadium and watches the broadcasts. They narrowly outscore Big Ten counterpart Michigan.

Sports Illustrated put together a little analysis that considers football, academics, other sports, attendance and viewership. Here's what that top-10 looks like, with Alabama hilariously low on the list.

Overall ranking School Football rank Academics All sports Attendance Viewership Total
1. Ohio State 2 20(t) 4 3 2(t) 31
2. Michigan 16 8 3 1 5(t) 33
3. Notre Dame 6 5 8 16 2(t) 37
4. Texas 12(t) 14 1 7 7(t) 41
5. Georgia 3 19 18 8 5(t) 53
6. Florida 18 11(t) 5 12 12(t) 58
7. Wisconsin 8 17 23 15 12(t) 75
8. Oklahoma 5 52(t) 10 13 1 81
9. USC 30 10 12 23(t) 9 84
10. Alabama 1 55(t) 21 4 4 85

This also helps explain why the Big Ten is pushing so hard for Notre Dame. Having the three most valuable schools in the nation in your conference sure sounds like a win to me.

 NEWCOMER ORIENTATION. With nine departures from Ohio State's roster following last season, the Buckeye basketball team has a lot of new faces this year.

Thankfully, the returning players are extraordinarily welcoming, as evidenced by this glorious video.

I'm not sure how one goes about nominating a film for an Academy Award, but I think that I choose this one.

 WEAKEST LINK. If there's been any weak spot in Ohio State's development (and thus, recruiting) over the past few years, it's absolutely been at the offensive tackle position.

The proof is in the numbers.

What gives? I think it’s as simple as players wanting to go to a place where they think they’ll be developed well, and Ohio State has not developed tackles well. The program has had two first-round tackles since 1997, and another two second-rounders in that span. It’s a bit ironic that the program known for having the best college offensive tackle maybe ever is also the furthest thing from a tackle factory. I suppose you can label that systemic, something that stretches beyond the recently fired Greg Studrawa. Still, I’d argue Sturdrawa was here too long given those lack of results at the premier line position.

I also think it’s far too early to be concerned about new offensive line coach Justin Frye. Yes, Ohio State looks likely to miss on priority targets Samson Okunlola (No. 3 tackle) and Olaus Alinen (No. 15 tackle). Frye did secure Luke Montgomery, an in-state top-50 national prospect who will get a shot to play tackle, and Miles Walker, a three-star prospect from Connecticut who I like quite a bit, for whatever that’s worth. The fact remains that fans want to see OSU land more big-time tackle prospects.

I think the proof of concept as it pertains to the draft needs to come first, and it could come this year. Paris Johnson Jr. is a potential first-round pick this spring, and Dawand Jones certainly has a shot to be a top-100 pick, perhaps much higher, with a good senior season. Frye will then be able to sell Ohio State as a place where tackles can come to get developed into high draft picks, in addition to everything else the program has to offer. But he can’t do that right now. That’s not his fault, but it’s his charge to fix it.

The program has had two first-round tackles since 1997, and another two second-rounders in that span.

I'm going to be honest, I knew it was bad, but I had absolutely no idea it was that bad. Guys, I think I understand why Ryan Day made the move to fire Greg Studrawa after all.

 REMEMBER THIS? I just thought y'all might want some of this glorious nostalgia as we head into the weekend.

I've heard that there's still a small crater in the Big House from where Joey Bosa drove Wilton Speight into the ground. Wild stuff.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Ants Marching" by Dave Matthews Band.

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