Jim Tressel Resigns: Is Nebraska Now in the Big Ten Football Driver's Seat?

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Jim Tressel Resigns: Is Nebraska Now in the Big Ten Football Driver's Seat?
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
May 30, 2011: Jim Tressel addresses the mad public in Columbus. Ohio State University officials accepted his resignation.

Doing it big is in the Nebraska football program’s DNA, but will former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel’s recent resignation mean it’ll do it much bigger? Read on, faithful readers. 

I’ll let you know if the revolting situation in Ohio means Big Red is in the Big Ten’s pole position. Start me up, ladies.    

Gentlemen, check me out. I’ll provide the answers to all of your biggest questions surrounding the Big Ten season—in due time. For now, let’s deal with the matter at hand.

I'm still getting over the backhanded slap from the shock of Tressel’s swift downfall at Ohio State. Rumors are swirling about Urban Meyer being brought in, but those are just rumors.

After one of the conference's top coaches not-so-suddenly quit his job, what are the rumors and ramifications for the Big Ten—Big Red in specific?

Coming up in October, Big Red joins the Big Ten on the field. After playing their first conference game on October 1 in Madison, Wisconsin, the Huskers will bump heads with the Buckeyes on a crisp-hitting Saturday afternoon in Lincoln.

The October 8 clash of epic proportions will be NU’s first home Big Ten Conference game. ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 are scheduled to broadcast it.

The game now takes on extra intrigue. Word on the streets is Husker Nation has to be quietly encouraged. No one got murdered. It could, however, very well be the death of the Ohio State University football program—at least for the Nebraska game.

Eric Francis/Getty Images
October 30, 2010: Pelini leads his team to the gridirion in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Buckeyes will be in town on October 8, 2011.

It'll be Bo Pelini's revamped coaching staff against Tressel's replacement. This is a favorable matchup for the Huskers no matter how I slice it, spin it, smack it up or flip it down.

The suddenly smacked-down Tressel was suspended for five games by Ohio State University officials, but he would have been back to coach against the Cornhuskers. He won't be there now, unless he buys a ticket or joins Pelini's staff as an assistant, scout or spy.

This situation could be the Huskers' ticket to an easy victory over the Buckeyes. It could give Nebraska the jump on winning the conference in its first season. It certainly doesn't hurt.

The Huskers could not only do the damned thing, they could do it big. Tressel's resignation virtually guarantees a plethora of distractions all season for the troubled Ohio State football program.

To be sure, the circus would have been bigger with Tressel at the helm this year, but the show must go on. It'll still most likely be the Barnum, Bailey and Buckeyes traveling media circus.

The football program had been generating negative publicity under Tressel—highlighted by the incredibly tragic saga of star running back Maurice Clarett.

Tressel always managed to move the program forward and won the school's first national championship in 34 years. With him gone, the negative publicity will stop at some point, but will the winning go away too? It will against the Cornhuskers—if NU doesn't lay an egg.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Nov. 6, 1993: Fickell rushes the quarterback in Madison, Wisconsin. He'll face a rush of media types all season long.

In place of Tressel—somewhat of a legend—some guy named Luke Fickell will take the emergency head coaching position at one of the top 15 most storied college football programs in the nation. While Tressel was under suspension, Fickell was the school’s stopgap head coach.

He doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but he was a Buckeyes nose guard under former Ohio State coach John Cooper. Scrutiny could come against Fickell because he played under Cooper. During Cooper's tenure, the Buckeyes experienced their share of controversy and negativity surrounding players getting in trouble off the field.

Fickell had a cup of cappuccino with New Orleans in the NFL and came back to help Cooper coach the Buckeyes. The newest and one of the youngest head coaches in the Big Ten will need the saints to go marching in with him at Memorial Stadium in the fall.

Buckeyes fans may fall and turn fickle on Luke, but the force could be with him. Obi-Wan Kenobi (senior quarterback Terrelle Pryor), however, won’t be walking through that door through half of the regular season. He could play in the Nebraska game, though.

Pryor is scheduled to be back for the game against the Huskers, but it’ll be Ohio State’s seventh game of the season. What the makeup and chemistry of their team will be like then is a suspense thriller.

Fickell, 37, was thrilled to already be the interim head coach at Ohio State while Tressel was serving the five-game suspension. He’s now the man for the whole season.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Oct. 31, 1998: Tom Osborne salutes the faithful in Lincoln. He showed faith in Bo Pelini, and it could pay off.

I saw Ohio State under Jim Tressel as the major obstacle in the way of the Cornhuskers taking the conference in 2011. With so much talent, the Buckeyes will probably still be competitive and are capable of pulling off a shocker against the Huskers. They’ve won in the past with less capable quarterbacks than Pryor.

The violations were a revolting situation for Buckeye Nation and could open the door for Nebraska to walk away with the Big Ten during the football program’s inaugural campaign in the legendary conference.

I respect Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State. The Huskers will face them all except Illinois and Purdue this season.

Under Tom Osborne and coming from both the powerhouse, old-school Big Eight and the Big 12—now the Big Ten—the Huskers fear no program in the nation. Programs fear Big Red.

With the positivity, experience and talent surrounding the returning players and the influx of outstanding freshmen, NU's improved coaching staff looks good. Tressel's resignation bumps Ohio State's coaching staff down and puts Nebraska in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten.

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