Ohio State Buckeyes: Heads Will Roll

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IOctober 21, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks up at the clock during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 31-13.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

I said in my last post that we were definitely going to beat Purdue, and there was no chance of an upset. But that is just the game that college football is. The intangibles mean more to college football than any other sport: turnovers, momentum, home/away.

So now many of you are asking: now what? I read comments saying that it's only a matter of time before we as Ohio State fans realize that Tressel is only a glorified version of John Cooper, that he’ll never win the big game (Cooper’s being Michigan, Tressel’s being Top Five opponents obviously). 

Ohio State is no longer the highest rated team from the state of Ohio, and that is something that some of us never dreamed we’d see. 

Terrelle Pryor seems to be taking two steps forward and three steps back, week after week. So that leaves many of us scratching our heads and wondering where does the Ohio State program go from here?

Forward. As a fan base, as a team, as a coaching staff. I know we can still win the Big Ten this year, and it could still realistically happen. 

And if we do, we’re going to the Rose Bowl, where maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to beat a big name team for the first time in a long time. And if that happens, hallelujah, all is saved. 

But in all reality, if this team plays every week like they did last weekend at Purdue, they’re not going to come close to winning the Big Ten.  But there’s still hope for this team. 

I know you’re saying that this team has a lot of potential, and a lot of talent, and that a lot of it is being wasted. But there’s still a lot of growing left to do on this team. Hell, Terrelle Pryor is younger than I am.

Some people have said that Pryor should be benched, or maybe he should be moved to wide receiver. Doing either of those, in my opinion would be a big, big mistake. 

Pryor is not the only guy on this team who has not stepped up this year.  There’s the offensive line, which hasn’t provided an adequate blocking game in what seems like my lifetime. 

There’s a young wide receiver corps from which no go-to guy has really emerged yet. 

But I think worst of all is the fact that the stigma that is haunting this team is really starting to get to the players. Tressel would never say it and neither would any of his players, but I think this Ohio State team is really feeling like they’re in a make-or-break situation in terms of national perception. 

So maybe the best thing for this team would be to finish third in the Big Ten.  Maybe they should try their luck in a bowl game in which they don’t have to play a Top Five team, where there’s not a large national audience watching them, and try to build some momentum for next year. 

I feel like this year is starting to become comparable to 2004, an 8-4 year ending with a trip to the Alamo Bowl, but one that culminated with an offensive explosion against both Michigan and Oklahoma State (even without Troy Smith). 

What happened the year after that? A Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame. And the year after that? A trip (albeit a forgettable one) to the National Championship Game.

So maybe it takes a step-back year to provide real progress for the future.  Hell, it worked for the 2004-2006 teams. 

And knowing Tressel, he’s not going to let guys quit this year or any year in the near future when things look bleak. Eventually, he will find a way for this offense to truly click on all cylinders with the guys he has now, the guys he will get in the following years, and without those who are leaving. 

He’s done it before, but college football is a team game that can take a year or two to perfect with personnel.

Even I’ll admit that a loss to Purdue last weekend was unacceptable. 

But if it helps take this team to a more positive place with a more determined work effort, then it was a good loss.