Today, begins what will likely be, the most suspenseful November in Buckeye memory.
It's not the "gales of November" and a floundering Edmund Fitzgerald. Ill winds are blowing, however.
Maybe, another maritime analogy is more fitting. The Indianapolis comes to mind. That ship was torpedoed. It sank. And the sharks circled - then feasted - on its crew.
How ironic it is that this ship's namesake - Indianapolis, Indiana - is the site of the final act in Ohio State's almost yearlong drama, in which its football program has been torpedoed and the sharks have circled...and feasted.
Shore: Indianapolis, Indiana is the site of the first, Big Ten Championship Game.
Sharks: Indianapolis, Indiana is headquarters to the NCAA.
Torpedo: Indianapolis, Indiana is home to the Colts, the NFL team employing Jim Tressel, presently.
Beyond want, lies consideration. More and more Buckeye fans are saying they want Jim Tressel to be on the sidelines, for the 2012 football season.
But, what will it take to put him there?
Let's consider the following:
1.) "Show-cause": The press has distilled the NCAA's judgment of Jim Tressel down to two words: show-cause. This is legal terminology and not exclusive to the NCAA. But, all we've heard is, if the NCAA issues a show-cause penalty against Jim Tressel, his career as a college football coach is over. That may - or may not - be true;
2.) Public perception and the usurping of the NCAA: Ohio State can rehire Jim Tressel, despite a show-cause ruling against him. However, this would be unprecedented and would equate open defiance of the NCAA, a governing body supported by the 1,281 academic institutions participating in intercollegiate athletics. To do this, Ohio State would have to consult the leadership of these other institutions. Wouldn't such bold action require their unanimous support? Would Ohio State risk the public scorn of its peers, by acting unilaterally? Hasn't Ohio State endured enough scorn, over the past ten months?
3.) Money: Private and public benefactors may regard the re-hiring of Jim Tressel as, untenable;
4.) Luke Fickell: What if Luke Fickell leads the Buckeyes to a perfect November and a B1G Championship? Do you expect him to give way to Jim Tressel...willingly and happily?
5.) Jim Tressel: What's going on in Indy? What's the nature of his employment with the Colts? Do the Colts have big plans involving Jim Caldwell, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and...Jim Tressel? What is Jim Tressel thinking and feeling? Are we sure he would return to Ohio State - if invited? Would honor allow Jim Tressel to accept the invitation, in light of what he told Luke Fickell:
Fickell said that he and Tressel had had conversations about how Fickell could one day take over the Buckeyes, perhaps in three or four years. Ohio State’s president, E. Gordon Gee, indicated the same, saying there had been preliminary talks about grooming Fickell for the job.
When Ohio State announced Tressel’s departure on May 30, the football staff went to Tressel’s house as a show of respect. Fickell waited until everyone left and met with Tressel.
They have spoken only once since, at Ohio State’s N.C.A.A. hearing, but Fickell said Tressel instilled confidence in him, telling him this was part of a plan they had talked about, only that it had happened a few years earlier than they expected.
“Other than that, really, he said: ‘You don’t need me. Go do it. That’s what best for you. That’s what’s best for the program. That’s what you need,’ ” Fickell said. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/sports/ncaafootball/luke-fickell-ohio-states-football-coach-is-used-to-taking-on-a-challenge.html)
Jim Tressel put us here - here - in the lofty place of National Champion, National Championship contender, Seven-Time Big Ten Champion and Nine-Time Vanquisher of Michigan…ALL in one magnificent decade.
And Jim Tressel put us here - now - in the water with sharks, where we have struggled for months, to survive.
Shore is in sight. We may reach it.
Do we want Jim Tressel, waiting there?