Jim Tressel Resigns: Odds on Who Will Be Next Ohio State Football Coach
According to a story broken earlier by the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel has resigned and interim coach Luke Fickell will coach the entire 2011 season.
At the the end of the season, OSU will conduct a search for a new coach "which is expected to include external and internal candidates."
The following are the five likeliest to have the job at job come fall 2012.
Former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden, 32:1
I really don't see this one happening at all, but there's a chance OSU at least shows some interest in Gruden. He does have some Ohio football connections, having played at Muskingum College and the University of Dayton.
Gruden is also on record saying he thinks Terrelle Pryor can be an NFL quarterback.
Having said all that, it seems as if Gruden is waiting for the Notre Dame job to open up (not going to happen) or the right NFL job. He has a great job working for ESPN and Monday Night Football. He doesn't seem to be in a rush.
I just can't see OSU seeing him as a viable candidate.
Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio, 16:1
The former OSU defensive coordinator has made quite a mark at MSU. Last season, he led the Spartans to a school-record 11 wins and a share of their first Big Ten title since 1990. He's 33-19 in four years in East Lansing.
Interestingly, before his three years as OSU's defensive coordinator, Dantonio also spent five years under Tressel at Youngstown State. He spent six years in East Lansing as an assistant coach before moving on to Columbus, where in 2002 his defense was largely responsible for OSU's national championship run.
Dantonio seems extremely comfortable in East Lansing. He captivated that fanbase with last season's run, especially after the heart attack he suffered last September. It seems unlikely he would move.
Kent State University Coach Darrell Hazell, 8:1
Before he took the head coaching position at Kent State University last December, Darrell Hazell, along with the No. 1 man on this list, were considered to be on equal footing as heir apparents to Tressel.
Hazell coached OSU wide receivers from 2004-10 and also served as assistant head coach from 2005-10. He coached current NFL wideouts such as Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline.
If OSU came calling, it's pretty certain Hazell would leave KSU for OSU, no matter how successful his first season as a head coach goes.
Former Florida Coach Urban Meyer, 4:1
OSU just had their troubled football coach resign, thus it's unlikely a coach who had 30 players arrested or charged while he was at the University of Florida would be the University's first choice.
Having said that, Meyer's ties to OSU are undeniable. He was born in Toledo and was a graduate assistant for two years in Columbus. He's even been a head coach in Ohio, having coached at Bowling Green State University for two seasons.
If the No. 1 man on this list falters, Meyer will be the one running the sidelines in 2012.
Interim OSU Coach Luke Fickell, 2:1
If Fickell can get through the 2011 without succumbing to disaster, beat Michigan and reach a New Year's Day bowl game (not necessarily a BCS bowl), he'll get the job.
Last month, I wrote how Tressel's suspension was giving Fickell the chance of a lifetime. Thanks to Tressel's resignation, that chance is now ensured.
Right now, barring any resignations, it seems as if the staff will be retained for the 2011 season, which will make Fickell's life a bit easier.