Is Ohio State's Jim Tressel the Arch-Nemesis of Iowa's Kirk Ferentz?

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Is Ohio State's Jim Tressel the Arch-Nemesis of Iowa's Kirk Ferentz?
Harry How/Getty Images

In comic books, the superhero usually has an arch-nemesis.

Batman has The Joker. Superman has Lex Luther. 

The idea of the arch-nemesis carries over into video games and television sitcoms, as well.

Bowser terrorizes Super Mario. Newman agitates Seinfeld. 

College football coaches are all too familiar with the arch-rival concept.  

Bo Schembechler battled Woody Hayes. Joe Paterno brawled with Bobby Bowden.  

Most coaches have at least one rival thorn in their side. Even Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz has an arch-nemesis. 

Captain Kirk's nemesis wears scarlet and gray, and goes by the name "The Vest."  

If the cheesy nicknames weren't obvious, The Vest is none other than Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Over the years, Tressel seems to have figured out what Ferentz's kryptonite is, and he hasn't been afraid to use it.

Ferentz might win the battle off the field, having won three Coach of the Year awards to Tressel's zero, but on the field the Ohio State coach has dominated.

Tressel has compiled a 5-1 record against the Iowa coach, including a 1990 victory over Ferentz's Maine team while coaching at Youngstown State. He has won six Big Ten championships to Ferentz's two.

The Buckeyes have won the last three meetings against the Hawkeyes with Tressel at the helm, including last year's 27-24 overtime thriller in Columbus that decided the 2009 Big Ten Championship.

When the two coaches have faced each other in Big Ten play, both schools have been ranked in the top 25 four out of the five times. Tressel's team has been ranked higher than Ferentz's in each head-to-head match-up.

The only year a team wasn't ranked was 2004, when the unranked Hawkeyes defeated No. 23 Ohio State by the largest margin of victory ever for an Iowa team against OSU (26 points).

Aside from that game, The Vest's Tressel Ball has been very successful at out-flanking Captain Kirk's Bend-Don't-Break style. And it's possible he is using a little psychological warfare to gain the upper hand.

Last year, during Iowa's Friday afternoon pre-game walk-through of Ohio Stadium, Ferentz found a present in the middle of the 'O' at the 50-yard line.

Someone left a rose at mid-field to act as a reminder that the two teams were about to face off for a chance to represent the Big Ten Conference in the Rose Bowl.  It was intended to play a mind game.   

This year, Tressel brings Ohio State into Iowa City to battle the Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. The late November game might very well decide the Big Ten championship again this year.

The two coaches are 1-1 against each other on the battlefield of Kinnick Stadium. If Ferentz wants to turn the odds in his favor, he might have to develop a psychological attack beyond Iowa's infamous pink visitor locker room. 

Can Ferentz conquer his arch-nemesis Tressel for a Big Ten title in 2010?

Can Captain Kirk finally save Hawkeye Nation from the brink of catastrophic defeat by hand of The Vest?

Find out this fall...same Hawkeye time, same Hawkeye channel.

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