Monday, September 15, 2008

Open Forum: A Question for OSU Fans (And Other CFB Fans, If You Care)

Open Forum posts especially ask for feedback from readers...

Okay, first off, both our teams sucked this weekend. And as much schadenfreude as I enjoyed Saturday night, it was still after an ugly, rainy craptastic UM loss where the Wolverines spotted the Irish 21 points in the first four minutes. So this isn't to gloat, because if one factors in Michigan's performance, there's nothing to gloat about.

Second, my apologies that the blog seems college football-heavy right now. It's that time of year. I do have other stuff on my mind that I'll write about soon.

Now, to my question. You might think it's kind of weird. And I'm honestly looking for opinions and not asking it to be a jerk.

Do you think that Jim Tressel's days as head coach are numbered?

Not, like, just another year or two necessarily. He has a near-spotless record against UM, he's led OSU to three NC games.

He's also lost two of those NC games, badly. And it's interesting to read national media analysis of the USC game, as they mention cupcake scheduling, the Buckeyes getting pantsed by ranked non-conference opponents when they're finally on the schedule, and Tressel's style of play being predictable unimaginative play-calling.

That last criticism was being leveled at Lloyd Carr his last few years as UM coach. And for a while it was tough for him to win bowl games, too. He went out on his own terms, but the talk was there to be sure. I can recall a player on a Carr-era UM opponent after they beat UM, commenting that they were the same on the field as on the film.

USC QB Mark Sanchez said something very similar after Saturday's win.

I just can't help but see certain parallels here.

A non-football example: when Mike Hargrove was manager of the Indians, he constantly had them in the post-season, but with no World Series titles to speak of. Cleveland eventually decided to let him go.

Big Ten titles are nice. Beating your arch-rival is nice. But with some of these other criticisms and the struggle to win The Big One...what do you think about his job security in the next few years?

Or maybe that's too alarmist. There's plenty of that attitude in Ann Arbor right now, too. Believe me.

Anyway, just curious.


Di said...

I think you could be right. (And thank you, BTW, for being so gracious about it. 3-35 is a bit painful.) They've made championships, they've won The Big Game, but... the team really hasn't been all that strong.

And can we talk sometime about how dumb the BSC system is? Wouldn't just plain old playoffs be better?

LutherPunk said...

I believe that they are numbered. Did you read any of the post-game interviews with the USC players? Apparently they were delighted that Tressel did EXACTLY what they did on film. No variation.

Couple this with the fact that the last 3 big non-conference games for OSU over the last 3 seasons (including not one but 2 shots at a national title) led to humiliation and utter destruction. They weren't losses...they were old fashioned beat downs.

Besides, as much as it may not look like it right now, I think the future of the Big 10 is Rich's new offense in Ann Arbor. Give it time, it'll work.

Jeff Nelson said...

"Besides, as much as it may not look like it right now, I think the future of the Big 10 is Rich's new offense in Ann Arbor. Give it time, it'll work."

I totally agree, LP. UM actually led ND in almost every category besides points on the board (unfortunately, one of them was turnovers). Statistically, Threet was better than Clausen. They showed a lot of improvement, and I think that they're going to surprise one or two teams before the season's over. And then it'll get even better.

But at the same time, some are already calling for RichRod's head, which is ridiculously alarmist and unfair.

Anonymous said...

The Columbus Dispatch is beginning to question the Tressel style of play and asking the question. "The in-game decision making of Tressel and his staff has always been shaky...perhaps he isn't the great handler/motivator of players many of us have long believed either". Up until now he was a freaking genius - give the seniors marbles so they can count down how many games they have as a Buckeye, sing the alma mater with the team in the end zone... How soon the alum contributors turn!

erin said...

Well, of course I have to chime in.

I don't necessarily think that his days are numbered...he still has a winning record, and it does count that we beat your team.

I think what people are so quickly forgetting is that he really took a program that John Cooper left in a not-so-great state and returned it as a powerhouse VERY quickly. For every mountaintop, there is a valley, and I can't really say that I consider this to be a valley.

Getting to the NC 2 years in a row (albeit to only lose) is a great accomplishment. Before Saturday, Tressel's record for the last few years was 72-3 (ABC showed that stat in pregame) many other coaches can say that?

Of course, I'm not in Ohio, so I can't hear the grumblings this far, but I would just ask those fans who want to turn on him this quickly to please remember what a nightmare the early and mid-90s were for us.

He's a good coach. There's just something missing that needs to be addressed, that's all. Not only for the sake of the conference, but for college football, because seriously? If I keep hearing how USC and the SEC are the only good things about college football, I may just puke.

So there.

Gene said...

I'd say his days are numbered if it weren't for Terrell Pryor. He was the only player on the field that the USC defense didn't really know what to do with.

As a Nebraska fan, watching Ohio State the last few years has been a lot like watching the Huskers in the late 80s and early 90s. They keep winning what's kind of a mediocre conference and not getting it done against athletically superior teams in bowl games. The fact that Pryor is even on this team makes me think that Jim Tressel realizes this and is making changes to field a more athletic team. Watching Pryor is a bit like watching Tommie Frazier, Vince Young, or Michael Vick, you just know he's going to be insanely good. Put him on the field with a deep understanding of the offense and 60 plays a game to work with and tell me the outcome isn't going to be a lot closer. Look for Ohio State to get stronger and faster in the next couple of years and to start dominating.

Watching Todd Boeckman is sort of like watching a plumber do his thing. He's efficient, but not interesting at all. Tressel didn't have anyone else last year, so of course they were going to lose to LSU with Boeckman at QB. You're not going anywhere with a mediocre quarterback.

Take heart, Buckeye fans, your time is coming soon.

Jeff Nelson said...

"The fact that Pryor is even on this team makes me think that Jim Tressel realizes this and is making changes to field a more athletic team."

Now the UM fan has to chime in by saying

1) RichRod is doing this now, and

2) Watching him on Saturday made me realize that Pryor would have made an immediate impact in Ann Arbor, but they'll just wait for their own mobile QB recruits to arrive as early as January.

It'll definitely be interesting to see what Tressel builds around Pryor, especially considering what's already happening up north. There's going to be a lot more parity in The Game than there has been since Tressel took over.

Anonymous said...

My son and I watched the game at the ESPNZone on Times Square. A good OSU contingent there, but a lot of vocal USC backers, also. We left at halftime - wasn't worth the $20 per hour in food and drink we would have had to buy in order to sit at the table and watch that smackdown.

I read in one report that Pryor is going to get 65% of the snaps in practice this week ... I think that speaks volumes for where Tressel is heading. No, I don't think his job is on the line, although I wish he would be less predictable.

Youngstown State, Ohio U, and, uh, Troy? Not the heaviest schedule to get a team ready for a Big Ten, much less a BCS, season.


Anonymous said...

I think has had some very interesting thigns to say regarding both Ohio State and Michigan. There's definitely been a drop-off on defensive adjustments at Ohio State since Dantonio left (now head coach at MSU). OSU continues to bring in fantastic high school players, but something isn't happening.
Where I fail to see the parallel between Tressel and Carr is that Lloyd never really got back to a national championship game, and Tressel won his crystal football largely with Cooper's recruits rather than his own (excepting Clarrett).
As to schedule strength, I understand the desire to keep the game money in the state of Ohio, but it's not like that money's being spent to build Ohio State a better opponent (though perhaps Ohio U would argue).
I do not think Tressel's days are numbered. I do think some house cleaning might be required.

Jeff Nelson said...

"There's definitely been a drop-off on defensive adjustments at Ohio State since Dantonio left (now head coach at MSU)."

In the later Carr years, that was Ron English, who had the exact same problem.

I'm actually excited to see what Dantonio's going to be able to do with MSU, although they've kept their reputation for starting out strong and then piddling out around mid-October.

"Tressel won his crystal football largely with Cooper's recruits rather than his own (excepting Clarrett)."

I read this observation a lot, but usually it's used to slam Tressel. How do OSU fans view this? I mean, obviously Tressel has made it back, but what do you guys make of the fact that Cooper's recruits won the NC, and Tressel's own haven't? What do you think are the big differences between the 2002 team and the '06 and '07 teams?

Anonymous said...

Or maybe we're all over-reacting.