Skull Session: Ohio State Has the Best Odds for a Playoff Berth, Tommy Eichenberg Leads by Example and College GameDay Might Have Redeemed Itself

By Chase Brown on August 31, 2022 at 5:00 am
Tommy Eichenberg

Congratulations. At this very moment, you are closer to the 2022 Ohio State football season than ever before.

Hold tight for 72 more hours. After that, the four-month journey to a College Football Playoff berth and chance to win a national championship begins.

Today's Skull Session begins with an urgent message from Gene Smith:

He's the Ohio State athletic director and can do whatever he wants, but I'll admit it bothered me that he didn't capitalize the "B" in Bucks. Is it that way for anyone else, or is that just me?

I digress. Let's have a good Wednesday, shall we?

 NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS. According to ESPN's Allstate Playoff Predictor, Ohio State has the best odds to earn one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff this season.

Before any selections are made, Ohio State has an 83 percent chance of making the playoffs. But the predictor offers many different outcomes for the Buckeyes this season, including a 13-0 record with a Big Ten title or a 10-2 mark with no conference championship.

Ohio State's best odds to make the playoffs are with an undefeated regular season and a win at Lucas Oil Stadium. That gives the team a 99 percent chance to reach the CFP and a 33 percent chance to win a national championship. The Buckeyes' lowest odds of 33 percent and 11 percent would result from losses to Notre Dame and either Michigan State or Penn State.

You can head to the Allstate Playoff Predictor and play around with all the different scenarios yourself. I wouldn't count on this year's team losing one or even two games, though stranger things have happened in Ohio State football history.

 O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! The social media team for Ohio State football must read my Skull Sessions because they've released the remaining captain videos at a prolific rate this week. 

The first video was of Kourt Williams and the next was Tyler Friday. On Tuesday, Tommy Eichenberg and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles called Eichenberg's mother to tell her he had been named a captain of this year's team.

As someone who has interviewed Eichenberg several times after practices and games, it was surprising to see the fourth-year linebacker smile. He is usually strictly business inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, but I guess moms have a way of bringing out the happiest emotions in us.

Eichenberg emerged as a leader in the Ohio State locker after last season. He's been one of the quickest to pick up on Knowles' new defensive scheme and helped others learn what the first-year coordinator wants from the unit in 2022.

"I think Tommy has been a great leader for us," Knowles said. "I really like what I've seen from Tommy. He's mastering the defense quickly and making plays. He's quiet, but he's fierce."

Some of the best leaders are quick to listen and slow to speak. While that's not traditional for a linebacker – a position often seen as the quarterback of the defense – it's working for Eichenberg. Cheers to his hard work this offseason and in fall camp.

 A SECOND CHANCE FOR GAMEDAY? ESPN College GameDay might have already burned bridges for Ohio State fans by selecting Jack Harlow as the celebrity guest picker for Saturday's broadcast. Still, there's more to the two-hour tailgate if you're interested.

The long-running college football show added Ryan Day to its lineup of guests and announced that others would be featured at the main desk when GameDay is televised from the south lawn of St. John Arena.

Personally, I haven't watched the program in several years, but there once was a time that I tuned in religiously on Saturday mornings. Interviews with Day and even the slightest of possibilities that members of the 2002 national championship team make an appearance might be enough to bring me back.

What say you?

 BUCHNER PREVIEWS BUCKEYES.  With Ohio Stadium sold out and Buckeye fans hungry for a win in the season opener, the environment on Saturday would be tough for any college quarterback, let alone one who is making their first collegiate start. However, that is the case for Notre Dame's Tyler Buchner.

Still, Day expects Buchner to perform well for the Fighting Irish this weekend, telling the media on Tuesday that there are positive notes on the scouting report regarding Buchner's playmaking ability.

Buchner met with Notre Dame reporters on Friday to preview the season and his team's first game against the Buckeyes. He complimented Ohio State for its approach, offering praise to quarterback C.J. Stroud and some of the defensive personnel he'll face on Saturday.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Each of Ohio State's 36 varsity programs recruits and develops top talent in their respective sports. That becomes clear when the Big Ten releases weekly awards during the fall, winter and spring seasons.

This week, men's soccer midfielder Laurence Wootton and field hockey goalkeeper Abby Danson became the latest Buckeyes to be one of the conference's best performers over seven days.

Wootton was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after a three-point performance on Sunday against Cal Poly. The two-time first-team All-Big Ten member and conference freshman of the year scored a goal and added an assist when the Mustangs visited Columbus over the weekend. Ohio State won the contest, 3-0.

Danson earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors with a tremendous opening weekend as the goalie for the Buckeyes. On Friday, she stopped four shots in a 4-0 shutout win over Northwestern before collecting eight saves in a 3-0 victory against Albany on Sunday.

In keeping both opponents off the board, the Clifton Park, New York, native became the first Ohio State goalkeeper in 33 years to record back-to-back shutouts to start the year. Before this season, Danson had played in 22 games for the Buckeyes, collecting 76 saves and racking up nine wins in front of the net.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Conversations with my Wife" by Jon Bellion.

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