I took a quick scan of my neighborhood here in Columbus and I have yet to see any cars on fire or flags at half mast, but rest assured it's a sad, angry day in Buckeye Nation as the news of Jim Tressel's resignation was reported this morning.
The rumor mill is already churning in high gear to toss out names for Tressel's replacement. The popular choice is Florida's recently retired Urban Meyer, but Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com has already floated another name: Jon Gruden. That's right, the same Jon Gruden who coached the Tampa Bay Bucs to a Super Bowl win, is the big bro of new Bengals offensive coordinator Jay, had a positive assessment of Andy Dalton, and may or may not have been working with the current Bengals quarterbacks.
This is clearly just gossip right now, and Freeman points out that Gruden's name is often linked to coaching vacancies,
[b]ut over the past few months, and before Tressel was kicked out on his ass, Gruden told more than a few people he was antsy and desired a return to coaching. One assistant told me Gruden hasn't been shy about it, either. Indeed, Gruden and Ohio State would be a perfect fit (though Urban Meyer might even be more perfect). Expect the usual Gruden denial to the Ohio State speculation but don't believe it for a second. Repeat: don't believe it. He'd listen and take it if offered. And Gruden coaching at Ohio State in 2012 would be perfect timing.
What makes Freeman so confident? Who knows, really, but I'm excited about the notion. Tressel was a classy dude (is? was?), but Gruden in the Shoe would be crazy awesome, and only a short ride up I-71 from Jay and the Bengals....Imagine the kind of scouting insights and shared ideas between these teams, the kind of energy that could be generated between two brothers -- one a wily Arena League coach revamping and re-establishing the credibility of an NFL offense, the other a tough-as-nails former NFL coach re-establishing the respectability of a powerhouse college program. Two geniuses plying their craft in such close proximity, working together in a free exchange of thought and spirit -- my conservative projection: it will usher in an extended era of mid-southern Ohio football dominance! (that's my way of excluding the Browns). People will come, Ray, to watch such masterful teams. Tourism to the state will explode, bringing an exponential spike in revenue. The staggering Ohio economy will rebound well beyond its most prosperous level in history, which will enable the state legislature to offer free health care to all Ohio citizens. Life expectancy will skyrocket. Health and financial security will effectively eradicate crime. Ohio will become the fulfillment of Utopian visions of the future!
Alright, I gotta go calm down.