“Can you believe it? The same man who, just a few years ago, probably could have run for governor of Ohio and won in a landslide, is suddenly receiving the John Cooper treatment.”
The above quote is from Stewart Mandel’s most recent mailbag on SI.com, and is one of the most absurd statements I’ve ever seen a college football writer feel compelled to write.
It is, of course, in response to braindead emails that Mandel received from one of the most spoiled fan bases in sports. Here is one of those emails, which sums up them all:
“USC was outmuscled and outclassed by OSU, save for one drive in the game. But as usual, Tressel gift-wrapped a win to the other team by playing scared and without confidence. I hate to say it, but it’s time for Jim Tressel to go. Any chance he’s on the hot seat any time soon?”
“It’s time for Jim Tressel to go,” he says, as if great — yes, I said great — college football coaches just grow on trees.
“As usual, Tressel gift-wrapped a win to the other team,” he says, as if Ohio State losing is some weekly occurrence.
Here is what I say: what the hell is wrong with these people?
Mandel listed out the stats, and they bear repeating:
- Four straight Big Ten titles
- Six BCS appearances in seven years
- One national title
- A 7-1 record against Michigan
- One sublimely incredible post-championship picture with the BCS trophy:
In response to these asinine comments from Ohio State fans about Jim Tressel, I simply pose the following question: who would you rather have?
Sure, there are a few current coaches that I would place in front of Jim Tressel if I were ranking all college football coaches. Off the top of my head and in no particular order:
- Urban Meyer, Florida
- Pete Carroll, USC
- Nick Saban, Alabama
- Charlie Wei–never mind
Other than that, who do you rank in front of Tressel? The next tier of three in my own personal rankings would include Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, and Jim Tressel. I’m not sure how I’d rank them — it would be splitting hairs — but they’ve all had tremendous amounts of success.
Simply put: any notion that Jim Tressel’s time in Columbus should come to an end any time soon has got to be one of the most ridiculous statements ever uttered by a fan base. Period.
Do Tressel and the Ohio State coaches need to figure out a better plan for big games? Sure they do.
Do Tressel and the Ohio State coaches need to more effectively utilize the unique talents of Terrelle Pryor? Sure they do.
Is Jim Tressel’s “conservative” game-planning sometimes to blame for Ohio State losses? I suppose so.
But how about a reality check? Look outside your own little Columbus bubble once in a while Buckeye fans…you might realize just how good you have it with Jim Tressel.
And if you’d like to know my college football perspective, here are the two teams I follow and cheer for: Indiana and Tennessee. Feel a little bit better about yourself, Insane Buckeye Fan?
For the record, I spoke recently with MSF’s own resident Buckeye lover KVB and he recognizes the idiocy of the Tressel bashing. Sure, he’s frustrated by the big game losses, but also has enough perspective to remember a time — the Cooper Era — when Ohio State did not win the Big Ten every year, was not always spoken about as a National Title contender, and did not have such resounding success against The Team Up North.
The problem that Jim Tressel has created for himself is that he’s been too good.
He gave Buckeye fans a finger (guaranteeing a win over Michigan his first season, then delivering) so they wanted a hand. He gave them a hand (winning the Big Ten), so they wanted an arm. He gave them an arm (winning a National Title) so then they started expecting the whole body of college football success (beat Michigan, win the Big Ten, win the National Title) every single year.
And now, they’ve lost the perspective to enjoy the incredible success that they do experience every single season.
Luckily, my many friends who are Ohio State fans have a little bit more perspective and aren’t jumping on the Tressel Hate bandwagon. They’re still spoiled college football brats, but nothing like the zero-perspective ass clowns represented by the two emails Stewart Mandel posted and addressed in his mailbag.
Sure, if the Buckeyes start losing to Michigan consistently, aren’t competing for and winning Big Ten titles, and fall off the BCS map, then Tressel’s employment should be scrutinized. Ohio State is a college football power and should rightly expect to maintain such status.
But as long as they have it — which they still do now under Tressel — Buckeye fans should lay off and realize just how good things are in Columbus. There are about a hundred other Division 1 schools who would be happy to have Jim Tressel, and something tells me that the same fans who are calling for his head would miss him terribly if he was gone.
So quit looking at the few college football lawns that have slightly greener grass than your own, Insane Buckeye Fan. The rest of the college football world just looks at you and shakes it head, wishing for the same success that you are so ungrateful to have.
You see that trophy in the picture above? In case you forgot, that was this decade, Jim Tressel led you there, and he’s put you in position to win a couple more.
Fire Jim Tressel?
How about you take a cue from the Sweater Vest Soldiers pictured to the right. Instead of whining and bitching about the few things that have gone wrong, thank him and support Tressel for the many, many, many, many more things that have gone resoundingly right.
Otherwise, you’re just redefining the “nuts” in Bucknuts.
* – Ohio State fans supporting Jim Tressel photo credit: Matthew Emmons/US Presswire via ESPN.com