[UPDATE: Jim Tressel resigned this weekend, so we’re bringing back this post.]
He Won’t Survive This: Tressel has the best winning percentage in modern Big Ten history. He’s the most iconic Ohio State coach since Woody Hayes. Ohio State fired Woody Hayes. Evidence is clarifying Tressel’s act was a deliberate coverup not confusion. The charges’ tenor suggests the NCAA views Tressel as personally culpable. Past precedent (USC, Dez Bryant) indicates the NCAA considers misleading investigators to be “kind of a big deal.” Expect his personal penalty to be severe enough to make his position untenable, if his dishonesty had not it made it so already.
Timeline for Change: Ohio State has 90 days to respond to the charges. The NCAA hearing will take place sometime in August. An “expedited” ruling should happen sometime around October. Tressel may leave by mutual agreement sometime this summer. He could be dismissed or resign once the sanctions come down. Regardless his staff should stay in place through the end of the 2011 season.
Urban Meyer in 2012: Meyer is the ideal candidate. He’s young, he has won two national titles and taken Utah to the BCS. He’s high-profile and well regarded enough to be granted a clean slate. His system does not require radical adjustment. He’s also from Ohio and began his coaching career at Ohio State.
Consensus says Meyer wants to coach again, and that he’d prefer to coach at OSU or Notre Dame. He may have been plotting his next move to be Ohio State, but he would not have expected that job to come open this soon. Meyer may have to choose between taking the OSU job before he has fully recovered from burnout or other physical problems or foregoing it altogether.
If Not Meyer, who? Ohio State avoided “failure to monitor” charges, implying that, barring new evidence, they were unwitting victims of Tressel’s dishonesty. They should avoid postseason bans or scholarship reductions. Ohio State does not need rebuilding and has the stable recruiting base to field a national title contender every season. It’s a top five job. If Meyer turns them down, here are a few plausible alternatives.
Dan Mullen: He’s one of the best young coaches in college football. He’s the A- version of Meyer. He’s familiar with the Midwest from his time at Notre Dame and he just eviscerated Michigan in a bowl game. He’s ambitious. The romance with Starkville will fade. .
Bo Pelini: He has a great track record as a coach and a defensive coordinator. He’s only 43. He’s an Ohio native and played for the Buckeyes. Pelini’s name being bandied about last winter was no coincidence. Nebraska did give him a raise, but his alma mater could pay him more and offer him a better competitive opportunity.
Mike Stoops: He’s an Iowa man, but another Youngstown native. He built Arizona into a consistent winner, but has hit a ceiling the past couple seasons. If he wants a new challenge, next year is the time to move. Ohio State would offer him a step up and more than double his salary.
Mark Dantonio: He’s not the sexiest choice, but would offer continuity. He was a GA at Ohio State and served as a defensive coordinator for Tressel at both Youngstown St. and Ohio State when they won a national title. He’s a Saban disciple. He recruits well. He won eleven games with Michigan State. Most importantly, he knows the secret handshakes, he can dot an “i” and he can find his way around CBus without a GPS. Oh wait, wrong school…
[Photo via Getty]