Saturday, September 12, 2009


COLUMBUS — After losing to No. 3 USC on Saturday night, it has become apparent why Ohio State has finished on the short end of the stick in big games against the elite teams, and it can be summed up in just two words — Jim Tressel.

Tressel's conservative style once again bit the Buckeyes in the tail on Saturday night, as basic play calling and the lack of imagination enabled the Trojans to go on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to take the victory, 18-15.

The Buckeyes defense was stellar all game long, holding the Trojans to just 227 yards and 10 points before the final drive. In fact, the only touchdown the Trojans scored was on a 2-yard drive — which took four plays — following a Terrelle Pryor interception on the opening series of the game. After that, the Buckeyes defense surrendered just three points until the final series of the night.

The Buckeyes offense scored following USC's first touchdown, when Pryor led the Buckeyes down the field on a six-play, 72 yard touchdown drive, which was capped off by a Dan Herron 2-yard TD run to tie it at 7-7.

Ohio State controlled the game, that is, until Tressel decided to pass on a fourth and goal at the 1-yard line and kick the field goal to go ahead 10-7, instead of taking a chance and using his 6-6, 240-pound quarterback to go on a sneak.

You could see that Pryor was upset that Tressel didn't show any faith in he or the offense — and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

We can sit back and point to this and point to that, but the loss — and more than that, all of the big game losses since Florida in 2006 — can be laid at the feet of Tressel.

Tressel's philosophy isn't "let's play to win" — it's more like "let's play not to lose."

Show me a champion and I'll show you a gambler — a guy or gal that takes chances.

Well, Tressel didn't — and doesn't — take chances.

Now, the 'chances' of the Buckeyes getting to the mountain top is about as good as JT going for a fourth and inches at the one — zero 'chance.'