Ohio State fans at least now have some closure on the "will he play, won't he play?" soap opera of the last two weeks.
Coach Jim Tressel announced to the media after Friday's walkthrough at the Coliseum that Chris "Beanie" Wells will not play against the USC Trojans on Saturday at 8 p.m., in perhaps the most hyped regular season game in years.
"I'm not sure he'll ever speak to me again, [but] I think it's the right thing to do," Tressel said.
Tressel said the decision not play Wells was his decision alone. After talking with the Ohio State medical staff, the coach was concerned that letting Wells play may expose him to further risk of injury.
The coach went on to say, "If looks could kill, he would have fought me."
Wells was injured in Ohio State's opening game against Youngstown State, and he did not play in last week's win over Ohio.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he was "shocked by the announcement." Herbstreit, who watched Ohio State's walkthrough, said he "saw Beanie smiling and laughing, tossing a ball around" with other Ohio State players on the sidelines.
Herbstreit also said, "I'm still not convinced he won't play, by the way."
Why would Tressel choose to announce it to the media the night before the game? Why not just wait until game day? Why not wait until the the first offensive possession to let USC know whether or not Wells was going to play?
If this is a bit of gamesmanship on Tressel's part, it would be the first time the coach has used such drastic tactics. Tressel is remarkably old-school and it doesn't seem the sort of thing he would do.
On the other hand, this is possibly the most important game in the Jim Tressel era for the Buckeyes to win. After two consecutive BCS national championship game losses, the Buckeyes have lost all credibility with the national public. If there ever was a must-win game for the Buckeyes, this is it.
And Tressel knows that.
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