Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Buckeyes playing Prevent Defense

Who will be the next to go, Brutus the Buckeye?
Those crafty spin doctors at Ohio State were at it again Tuesday, announcing through Terrelle Pryor’s lawyer, not through the school Pryor helped to win three Big Ten championships, that the quarterback is leaving the Buckeyes.
So now Ohio State can distance itself from the stain of Pryor’s role in the infamous trinkets-for-tattoos scandal that cost coach Jim Tressel his job.
Despite a denial by university president Gordon Gee, who said Tressel’s May “resignation” was not related to the expected announcement this summer of NCAA sanctions against the Buckeyes, the school’s action smacks of exactly that.
Ohio State can say to the NCAA hammer wielders, “Nothing to see here. We’ve gotten rid of the coach on whose watch this happened. You can go easy on our cash cow of a program.”
And now Pryor, who was threatening to replace Lloyd Carr as the most hated man in Columbus, is out in another development that looks like an end-around by the Big Ten’s most dominant program of the last decade.
Will it work?
Who knows.
It depends on how much influence Ohio State musters with the NCAA; how deep and how long the shenanigans went; whether what the public knows now is all there is to know, and several other factors.
The announcement of Tressel’s departure was made on Memorial Day, when the news cycle doesn’t turn as vigorously as it does on traditional working days.
No way.
Tressel isn’t dumb.
Neither are the Ohio State administrators, although every time Gee (I just hope the coach doesn’t fire me) opens his mouth these days that assertion loses merit.
The Buckeyes are in the Prevent Defense, backpedaling toward the goal line, hoping nothing gets past them.
But they’ve still got a lot of clock to kill.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Carr-Tressel relationship takes curious twist

Lloyd Carr retired as football coach at Michigan with a long list of accomplishments to his credit, and the nagging idea that, on his way out the door, he had lost the touch for beating arch rival Ohio State when the Buckeyes were coached by Jim Tressel.
The numbers aren't going to change; Tressel's teams won six of seven games against Carr's, a fact that dogged the man who was Michigan's coach from 1995-2007, who won five Big Ten championships and the 1997 national co-championship.
But do revelations of recent weeks change the perceptions of the two former coaches?
Carr is headed for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Tressel is headed for, uh, well, no one can be certain.
Tressel is out after 10 seasons as the Ohio State coach, forced to step down as evidence mounted that the Buckeyes under his watch, and Tressel, too, for that matter, were guilty of NCAA violations.
Tressel won a lot of games and a national championship in Columbus, but the true legacy of his tenure won't be known for some time.
No one yet knows the impact NCAA sanctions that could be announced this summer will have on post-Tressel Ohio State.
There was a sense that the relationship between Carr and Tressel was uneasy, at best.
Without ever really ripping his counterpart, Carr made it clear through occasional comments that there was no chance he, Tressel and their wives would ever take a vacation together.
From a distance, it seemed Carr's distaste for Tressel wasn't tied entirely to the former Ohio State coach's record against Carr and U-M.
The two simply weren't a good match.
Carr had his faults (who doesn't?) and his detractors (who doesn't?).
He took a lot of criticism, especially late in his career as the Wolverines stumbled when they figured to win (think Appalachian State), and time and again against the Buckeyes.
But in whatever condition Carr left the U-M program, here in early June 2011 it looks like the Wolverines under Carr were, for the long haul, in more competent, more honest care than the Buckeyes were under Tressel.
Who could blame Carr if he allows himself an I-told-you-so chuckle?