Ohio State Football: Blown Lead in 34-27 Loss to Nebraska Seals Fickell's Fate

Sean LansingContributor IOctober 9, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30:  Assistant Head Coach Luke Fickell speaks to the media during a press conference before the start of Spring practices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center at The Ohio State University on March 30, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Fickell will serve as the interim head coach during the 2011 season when head coach Jim Tressel serves a five game suspension.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Don't worry, Luke.  It's almost over.

You didn't wantonly cheat and hide damning emails, trade autographs and sports memorabilia for tattoos, or collect cash for no-show jobs—but you didn't win any meaningful football games, either.

The "we feel sorry for you because you were thrust into a terribly bad situation," post-Jim Tressel honeymoon is officially over, because nobody blows a 21-point lead on the way to a 3-3 start in Columbus and lives to tell about it. 

Unfortunately, poor Coach Fickell never stood a chance. 

It's debatable whether or not the 38-year-old defensive coordinator was ready to fill in for Tressel on an interim basis, let alone run the show full time. 

However, this is what happens when scandal strikes—programs and ultimately players, coaches and fans suffer. 

The kids on the Ohio State roster who did nothing wrong are forced to struggle through a mediocre season, wondering what could have been had the other pieces of the puzzle (Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Daniel Herron, etc.) been in place.

The coaches, like Fickell, are thrust into unfamiliar and uncomfortable roles that they have no chance to succeed in, and the fans are stuck paying for tickets to watch their team stink.

It's a vicious cycle because the fans grow restless, and the blame falls squarely on the new head coach (not the old one who put the team in such a precarious situation in the first place). 

Gordon Gee, Gene Smith and the Ohio State brass will likely be patient with Fickell because they know this is an awkward time of transition, but does it even matter?

The first-year Ohio State head coach has officially been relegated to placeholder status. His job now is to keep the position warm until some big name can come along and start fresh with the Tressel/scandal slate wiped clean.

Beware Urban Meyer and coaches nationwide chomping at the bit for the chance to replace Joe Paterno in Happy Valley.

In just six weeks, Fickell has proven that it's never easy replacing a legend, even one who coached for just a decade and left unceremoniously, shrouded in scandal. 

Filling the shoes of a guy who's roamed the sidelines for well over half a century comes with more pitfalls than anyone could possibly imagine.