Go ahead and throw Coach Jim Tressel in with Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez and Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema when discussing Big Ten coaches on the hot seat this fall.
Expectations north of the Ohio River are stratospheric for the 2010 edition of the Buckeyes, who return 14 starters from last year’s squad, and anything less than an appearance in the BCS national championship will be seen as yet another failure for Coach Tress and his somewhat embattled staff.
Not too long ago, during the Dark Ages of Ohio State football (the John Cooper years), us Buckeyes fans were an easy to please group.
All we wanted was a winner every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving against our hated rival from the north.
Ever since Coach Tressel made his now-legendary pledge to fans during halftime of an OSU basketball game, assuring us BuckNuts that “you will be proud of our young people…especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the football field” the sweater vested one has more than kept his word.
Since taking over the program in 2001, Coach Tress has owned “that school up north” to a tune of an 8-1 record, with the last loss coming way back in 2003 in Ann Arbor.
Not only that, the program has also produced countless NFL draft choices, stayed clear of any major NCAA violations, and taken it’s place among the USC’s and the Florida’s and the Texa’s as one of the countries premier college football programs.
Unfortunately for ole Jimmy T, however, we Buckeyes fans aren’t so easily pleased anymore, and folks in the Buckeye State are once again getting antsy for a championship of the national variety.
Our last BCS title was in 2002, which for many of us seems like eons ago.
We’ve been embarrassed in our last two national title game appearances by SEC teams and beaten in our own house last season as the rest of nation looked on by a freshman quarterback led USC team.
We’ve struggled to consistently dominate our newest (and some say, more formidable) rival, Penn State, and we’ve had huge letdowns to inferior teams like Purdue last year and the Juice Williams led Illini in 2007.
Sure, big-time performances on national TV against Iowa and Oregon last season gave Tress some breathing room, but things could get very ugly very quickly for Coach Tressel should the Bucks not end up in Glendale on January 10 this bowl season.