Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jim Tressel - a.k.a Bracing for Your Anger

Saturday, The University of Michigan was soundly defeated for the ninth unfortunate time this season. This one stings a little differently than the rest (I don't know if I would say "worse" - we did lose to Toledo) because of the larger rivalry implications with Ohio State University. The game was characteristically ugly and, yet again, Michigan was beaten soundly by a clearly superior football product. There is little/nothing positive to find in the game and...on top of that, there are not many reasons to expect any sort of different outcome for the season next year. With all of the other painful things going on right now, Michigan football would be a great outlet and place into which we can funnel our pride until there is something else on which we can hang our hats. As I have stated before, I went to Michigan for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, and I went to every home game (except maybe a couple) between 2000 and 2007. I would say that I place myself in the "big fan" category when it comes to Michigan football. Having said all that, I would like to think that I have a historical and contemporary perspective of the Michigan/OSU rivalry and I feel the appropriate amount of contempt toward Ohio State in this regard.

The one thing that I have never entirely been able to understand since 2001, when Jim Tressel was hired to replace John Cooper at Ohio State, is the extreme contempt and hatred that Michigan fans feel for Jimbo. The only reason I could mostly understand is that Jim Tressel has had great success in the NCAA as a whole, but particularly against UM, and therefore, people hate that he has dominated us so consistently since his hiring. Other people may hate his sweater vest/tie combo, but I think a coach should be recognized when he values the necessary fashion requirements of a college football sideline.

I know I risk a tiny mutiny when I say this, but I have no problem with Jim Tressel. In fact, there is a chance I kind of like him as a person. Over the last couple of years when OSU has really taken it to UM, he has been nothing but complimentary and polite in his words when referring to both the less-talented Michigan squad and the rivalry itself. Even though OSU stuck it to Michigan this weekend quite badly, the first thing Jim said in his on-the-field interview was that Michigan played hard, did not give up, and the game was much more difficult than the final score might indicate. Most coaches would say the politically correct things in this situation as he did, but in this level of historical rivalry, almost no one would fault him if he decided to send a small zinger toward Michigan to build momentum toward next year's game: he just crushed them and they had a ridiculously terrible season with no bowl game of which to speak. As far as I can remember, I can't remember a single negative thing I have heard him say or read about him.

It is entirely possible that I am overlooking an old story about him being an evil person or some terrible thing he has said about Michigan, and if this is the case, please send the link my way. I don't want to like the man, but I can't seem to find a reason to dislike him. Any other reasons I'm missing? It is your job, world, to convince me that Jim Tressel is the worst thing since unsliced bread.


Dan A. said...

Maybe when it's all said and done MI fans will admit differently. When Llyod Carr I immediately stepped back and realized what an upstanding person he was and it showed in his teams.

A-ro said...

I commend you for giving Tressel his props. If UT plays OSU my song will be different, but unfortunately UM got outplayed. Most who were at the stadium were underwhelmed with the victory and said OSU beating Michigan this year was like kicking a dead dog. If you can acknowledge that it was done with grace and humility, then hats off to you.