Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jim Tressel Ain't So Bad

The natives are restless in Columbus, Ohio. They're also stupid.

The natives are stupid.

Following Ohio State's home loss to USC, more and more fans are complaining about Coach Tressel. Incomprehensibly, many are calling for his head.

You might be wondering why I just used the big word that begins with the letter "I."...

Well, here's why:

2001: Double-digit underdog Ohio State beats Michigan in Ann Arbor.

2002: Ohio State wins BCS title.

2003: Without Maurice Clarett -- and with no running game to speak of -- Ohio State scratches and claws its way through the regular season, and comes within a Michigan win of playing for another BCS title.

2004: Ohio State destroys Michigan behind otherworldly performance from sophomore QB Troy Smith.

2005: Loses two regular season games -- a heartbreaker to eventual national champion Texas (where the Buckeyes outplayed the Longhorns), and to Penn State in Happy Valley -- before thumping Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

(By the way, I'll always contend that the 2005 Buckeyes were the best Ohio State team of my lifetime.)

2006: Ohio State breezed through the regular season undefeated (behind Heisman winner Troy Smith) before running into a super athletic, super motivated and super well-coached Florida team that not only peaked at the right time, but had the same Eye of the Tiger that Ohio State had in the '02 championship.

2007: Another championship game appearance, this time a 38-24 loss to LSU which is incorrectly remembered -- both locally and nationally -- as a lopsided affair. It's true Ohio State trailed by three touchdowns late in the game, but this game was much more evenly matched than Ohio State gets credit for.

Consider: Sure-handed Brian Robiskie dropped a TD, and the Bucks settled for a FG...which was blocked. Austin Spitler (who was only in his fifth year at the time) somehow screwed up the easiest blocked punt I've ever seen. I don't recall the exact details, but I remember it being in LSU territory, and I remember Spitler not only not blocking the kick, but roughing the punter in the process.

Both plays were huge momentum shifters (the game was played in New Orleans, by the way) and LSU scored touchdowns immediately following both Ohio State gaffes. Was LSU the better team that night? Of course. Todd Boeckman was at the helm for the Buckeyes. But, play that game on a neutral field ten times and I wouldn't be surprised if OSU triumphed three times (or more).

You want facts? Okay.

OSU: 30 carries, 145 yards (4.8 YPC); 15-26 passing, 208 yards.

LSU: 49 carries, 152 yards (3.1 YPC); 19-27 passing, 174 yards.

Again, this game wasn't a dominant force paired up with a lucky, overmatched and slow Big Ten team. Try to remind your friends.

2008: Ohio State awkwardly juggles freshman QB Terrelle Pryor with 9th year QB Todd Boeckman all season. Once again hated and considered overrated by everyone not named me, OSU still manages to have a lead against No. 2 Texas with under twenty seconds remaining in the Fiesta Bowl. Of course, they lost. But things could be much worse.

2009: Outplays USC for 55 minutes, only to come up short in a game that (probably) features two of the top eight teams in the land. S**t happens.

(In a related topic, college football desperately needs a tournament, because both USC and OSU will get a lot better by season's end.)


Before you throw Jim Tressel into an active volcano, try to remember that he's had Ohio State in the thick of the BCS championship race towards the very end of six of his eight seasons in Columbus. I weren't never no good at math, but that's around 75 percent.

Not bad for a guy you want to send packing...


Vickers coming tomorrow.

-Brad Spieser (