Skull Session: The Illibuck Could Return at the B1G Championship, Ohio State Leads the FBS in All-Time Win Percentage and Brian Hartline Praises Route Man Marv

It was an off weekend for Ohio State, but it wasn’t for me.

The Fighting Berts are using me like Mike Vrabel uses Derrick Henry on the Tennessee Titans. He’ll ride me until the wheels fall off.

In all seriousness, good for Chase Brown. He’s an absolute workhorse. Brown currently leads the NCAA in rushing yards with 1,059 rushing yards on 192 carries as Illinois is tied with Purdue for first place in the Big Ten West.

But we’ll talk about the Illini more in a second.

Let’s have a good Monday, shall we?

WILL THE ILLIBUCK RETURN? In the middle of a down year for Wisconsin and Iowa, Illinois has emerged as the favorite to win the Big Ten West, proving that this season has been anything but regular for that side of the conference.

Illinois, currently ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll, is 6-1 with games against Nebraska, Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan and Northwestern left on the schedule. Those six matchups put the Illini in a prime position to play for a conference title, especially when you consider that they rank first in the nation in total defense and scoring defense, allowing 221 yards and 8.86 points per game.

If Ohio State does what it is supposed to do and wins out, and Illinois takes care of business, the programs would face off in Indianapolis in December. That would mean two trophies would go to the winner, right? The Big Ten trophy and – more importantly – the Illibuck.

Oh, the Illibuck. The unique trophy that has been missed since 2017, when Ohio State beat Illinois 52-14 in Columbus. The game spawned one of the most incredible videos of all time in which JT Barrett held the wooden turtle while singing Carmen Ohio in a torrential downpour.

I’m all in on Ohio State playing Illinois in the Big Ten Championship. After the Buckeyes win, CJ Stroud can hold the Stagg Championship trophy in one hand, the Grange-Griffin player of the game trophy in the other, as the Illibuck sits firmly on his shoulder. Who says no?

TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE. Unless you completely secluded yourself in the deep wilderness over the weekend, you are aware Tennessee defeated Alabama, 52-49, on Saturday in walk-off fashion via a 40-yard knuckleball field goal.

Not only did that win for the Volunteers provide us with excellent Nick Saban memes (like this one from Lane Kiffin) and videos of the Neyland Stadium goalposts


— Barstool Rocky Top (@BarstoolTenn) October 16, 2022

“>being thrown into the Tennessee Riverbut it also pushed Ohio State into sole possession of first place for the best all-time winning percentage in the FBS at .732.

Thank you, Tennessee, for giving Buckeye Nation another way to get into the heads of Alamaba fans. It was already all too easy, but this only increases ammunition for Ohio State fans in the heated battles of Twitter, Facebook and whatever social media you choose to interact with the Crimson Tide faithful.

While we are on the topic of the Tennessee vs. Alabama game, does anyone else feel comforted about the state of the Buckeye secondary? I mean, no cornerback or safety for either team could guard a parked car on Saturday. That fact makes me feel confident that Ohio State’s defensive backs – who still have a long way to go this season – might not be in as bad of shape as I had thought after six weeks.

That unit for the Buckeyes likely won’t be tested for real until the Michigan game due to Taulia Tagovailoa’s injury, so we probably won’t know how good they can be for another five games. Still, I don’t think they’ll look as bad as the Volunteers and Tide did over the weekend, so that’s good!

HIGH PRAISE. Brian Hartline couldn’t stop smiling when describing what he loves about Marvin Harrison Jr. to former NFL executive Bill Polian in a video for The 33rd Team, claiming the Ohio State wide receiver is “a dream to coach” and leaves’ no stone unturned “as a Buckeye.

I love that Hartline calls Harrison “boring off the field” because he works on his body and game outside practice. That description fits the narrative Ryan Day has painted in press availabilities this year, telling the media that he frequently sees Harrison working by himself on the jugs machine before team meetings or after practice with CJ Stroud, Kyle McCord and Devin Brown.

Harrison works his tail off, and he’s seeing the fruit of his labor with 31 receptions, 536 yards and nine touchdowns in six games this season. Those nine scores tie him with Purdue’s Charlie Jones for second-most in the nation. The leader in Tennesee’s Jalin Hyatt, who caught five touchdowns against Alabama on Saturday.

Polian’s interview with Hartline extends far beyond the 80-second clip about Harrison. His over 27-minute Q & A with the Ohio State receivers coach covers several other topics, including his coaching future di lui (he’s not going anywhere), recruiting, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.

EFFICIENCY AT ITS FINEST. Ohio State’s offense has been as advertised this season, with Stroud as a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams bulldozing defenders and Harrison, Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Cade Stover shining as pass catchers.

The Buckeye defense has also performed to the expectations Day and Jim Knowles set for it in the preseason. Tommy Eichenberg and Mike Hall have been animals this season as the Silver Bullets have transformed in six games under The Mad Scientist.

With both sides of the ball at the top of their games, Ohio State ranks as the most efficient team in college football in 2022, according to Parker Fleming (not the Buckeyes coach) of CFP Graphs.

And for those pesky fans of rival college football teams who have argued that Ohio State hasn’t played anyone this season, Fleming adjusted the efficiency of teams based on the strength of their competition. The Buckeyes are still at the top of that graph, too.

The 2022 Ohio State Buckeyes: Good offense and good defense, and it’s not just because they’ve played subpar teams! You love to see it.

Now it’s time for them to give Kirk Ferentz and Iowa some payback for the 2017 game. Does that sound good to everyone?

SONG OF THE DAY. “Say Something” by Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton.

CUT TO THE CHASE. California baker creates life-sized Han Solo out of bread … Gates Foundation pledges $ 1.2B to eradicate polio globally … SpaceX ferries astronauts back to Earth after half-year away … Beyond Meat exec Doug Ramsey leaves company after biting incident … Medina (Ohio) Police ‘Doe’partment officers rescue deer from resident’s pool.

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