Skull Session: Joel Klatt Argues Ohio State and Michigan Will Battle For Years to Come, C.J. Stroud Shines Light on Prison Reform and CFB Executives Are Looking to Shorten Games

By Chase Brown on February 21, 2023 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day
Adam Cairns / Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football's social media team has been putting in the work recently.

I may have to put together a post that collects all the photos and videos they sent out of the team working out this winter because they look slick.

Let's have a good Tuesday, shall we?

 A NEW 10-YEAR WAR? It's hard to admit, but Ohio State lost control of the rivalry with Michigan when it allowed the Wolverines to come into Ohio Stadium and claim their second consecutive win over the Buckeyes.

But what do the Wolverines' back-to-back wins mean for The Game? Could it mean another "10-year War" is coming in the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan? FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt offered his take on the question in his most recent episode of The Joel Klatt Show:

After the three-minute mark of the video, Klatt claims Ohio State and Michigan are currently in a period of the rivalry "that could be categorized as a 'War'" because of how the Wolverines have performed the last two seasons after a dominant 20-year run from the Buckeyes. However, he's not ready to call it the "10-year War" just yet.

"Are we entering, or are we in the middle of, a '10-year War'? I would argue that the win for Michigan – not this year but last year – started a new period within this rivalry where we get more parity, competitiveness or whatever you want to call it. Before that, for the last two decades, it hasn't even really been close. It had been totally dominated by the Buckeyes, and everyone knows it. Now, for two straight years, we've seen Michigan win one at home and one on the road in Columbus, so I think that you can argue that we're entering into or currently in a period where this rivalry is salty. I would absolutely agree with that.

"I think that, in hindsight, when we look back on this period of time these last couple of years, maybe this year coming up (in 2023) and the year after (in 2024) when we look back on this period of time we are going to remember it as a highly competitive rivalry — a rivalry in which there's a lot of subtext and undertones. The coaches don't really love each other, and a lot is going on. So, yes, we are in the middle of what you can categorize as a 'War.' Do I think the war will last 10 years? Probably not. But that's more the cyclical nature of college football than anything else."

For the sake of all that is holy, there can't be another 10-year war between Ohio State and Michigan. The Wolverines' last two wins have made fans of the program extremely chesty online as of late, and I'm not sure I could stand to read another Twitter troll tweeting "Go Blue" under another one of our posts in 2023, 2024 or any year, for that matter.

I've said it before, but I'll still repeat it: Ohio State's goals for this season should be to beat Michigan, beat Michigan and beat Michigan – just do whatever you can to beat Michigan. If the Buckeyes do that, it should be easy for all the other pieces to fall into place. It also would potentially put to bed any murmurs that another 10-year war is coming. I liked it when Ohio State ruled the rivalry for two decades, didn't you?

 STROUD TALKS PRISON REFORM. C.J. Stroud spent part of his weekend around wealthy and powerful individuals, including Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner and future first-round draft pick Bryce Young, to discuss the state of the criminal justice system in America.

"Was blessed to be able to have a great dinner the other night to discuss and shine (a) light on prison reform and our corrupt criminal justice system and how we can get things fixed," Stroud said in a tweet on Sunday. "Was able to explain my story and how the issue has (affected) my life and so many more families around the country."

Stroud thanked the REFORM Alliance, a national advocacy organization whose mission "aims to transform probation and parole by changing laws, systems and culture to create real pathways to work and well-being," for putting on the event and displayed gratitude toward Rubin, Kardashian and others for attending.

The Ohio State quarterback also included "#freepops" at the end of his tweet, which alludes to Stroud's father, Coleridge III, who has been in prison since 2016 on charges of kidnapping and carjacking and will be eligible for parole in 2040. After his father's incarceration, Stroud spent his high school years living in a small apartment, and his family was left with little money to supply for needs.

Still, Stroud overcame his adversity, became a Buckeye and eventually transformed into one of the most successful quarterbacks in Ohio State history. Now destined to become a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, Stroud has chosen to utilize his platform in an effort to create change in his childhood community and beyond.

From a September 2022 article written by Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch:

“People slip up,” Stroud said. “People make mistakes. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing how tough it is to be a man – not only a man, but a Black man in our communities. Even though it sounds crazy, it’s the truth. A lot of the positive things that Black men do in our communities are frowned upon. It’s ‘cool’ to be the dude from the hood. My dad taught me it’s cool to be the other guy, to be the leader, to be the first man in line to put your best foot forward.

“Even though I sometimes didn’t always follow his plan when he left because I was angry, I still hold those near and dear to my heart. That’s why I think I thrive now at this age, just understanding that doing the right thing is the right way and letting God lead your life is the best way. That's what I learned from my father.”

Stroud was a fantastic player for Ohio State and will hopefully be a fantastic player in the NFL. That would be a fine legacy in Columbus and wherever else he shows off his talents. But it appears that's not the only legacy Stroud will settle for, as he has chosen to maximize his influence and resources, leveraging them to support reform for a social issue he has felt passionate about since his father's incarceration nearly a decade ago.

C.J. Stroud, the quarterback, the leader and the first man in line to put his best foot forward. Sounds like a good legacy to me.

 NEW RULES ON TAP FOR CFB. According to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, college football executives are considering four rule changes that would shorten games, with the changes possibly being implanted as soon as the 2023 season.

Per Dellenger's article, the first three proposals are likely to pass. However, the fourth is a "more controversial" proposal that will require further examination from the executives:

High-ranking college football leaders have been reviewing four specific changes to clock rules, two of which are considered non-controversial, one that has garnered wide support and a fourth that has left some divided. The non-controversial proposals include (1) prohibiting consecutive timeouts (ie, icing kickers) and (2) no longer extending a first or third quarter for an untimed down if the quarter ends on a defensive penalty (the down would be clocked starting the next quarter).

While those are considered to be incremental changes that will save only a fraction of time, the other two proposals are more significant.

In a third proposal that is garnering wide support, the clock will continue to run after an offense gains a first down except inside of two minutes in a half. In a more controversial fourth proposal, the clock will continue to run after an incomplete pass once the ball is spotted for play.

The first three proposed rule changes are already NFL rules, so for college football to adopt those rules would make sense. However, the fourth rule would be entirely new to the sport, as an incompletion has always signaled the clock to stop until the ball is snapped for the next play.

Speaking of signals, these rule changes are not a signal that college football games will be shortened – at least, not really. Yes, the games would be shortened, but the time a fan spends in the stadium or on their couch watching the game would not. Why? Because shortened games mean more commercials from which the executives to make money.

I mean, seriously. When have you heard any college football fan say games are too long because of the play on the field? Probably never. But how often have you heard a fan complain about the deadly score-commercial-kickoff-commercial combo? Probably a lot. And the proposed rule changes would probably make that combo (and more commercials in general) more common throughout a football game, therefore making the contests longer than they already are.

That said, I would favor the changes because they make college football more synonymous with the NFL, but I wouldn't love having to sit through more commercials than I already do. I guess it will be a necessary evil – one I will have to try my best to live with next fall and in the future.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Ohio State women's basketball forward Cotie McMahon is a bucket and a problem on the basketball court, a claim that I'm sure doesn't surprise anyone who has followed the Buckeyes this season.

It certainly wouldn't surprise anyone in the Big Ten Conference, which awarded McMahon her sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, an accomplishment that matches Kelsey Mitchell's program record for the most in a season.

McMahon led the Buckeyes in all offensive areas last week with an average of 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists against Indiana and Penn State. She also earned her first-career double-double in Ohio State's matchup with the Nittany Lions, collecting 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds while adding four assists.

On Monday, McMahon was limited in No. 16 Ohio State's 74-61 win over No. 12 Michigan in Ann Arbor, as the Centerville, Ohio, native was in foul trouble for the entire contest. Despite that, McMahon still scored seven points and grabbed eight boards with seven assists in the 13-point win for the Buckeyes, a performance that paired well next to Rikki Harris' career-high 23 points, four rebounds and five assists.

For Ohio State to accomplish its goals the rest of this season against No. 7 Maryland in the regular-season finale and the postseason, McMahon will once again need to be a critical piece, as the Buckeyes will need all of her season-average 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists to make some noise. Given her consistency all year, I think it's fair to say she will deliver that same output as the team runs deep into March.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "One Man Band" by Old Dominion.

 CUT TO THE CHASE. Abandoned alligator rescued from Brooklyn lake... Japan recounted its islands: Geographers say there may be 7,000 more of them... A night inside New York's worst-rated hotel... Demolition crew finds 116-year-old time capsule at University of Illinois... Plane spends 16 hours in air, ends up at same New Zealand airport.

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