“I assure you that you will be proud of our young people in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the football field.”
Those words, spoken in front of a packed audience of Buckeye fans who'd suffered through an abysmal record against Michigan under the previous head coach, marked the turning point in the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Jim Tressel made a promise on that day, all-but guaranteeing a win over the bitter rivals to the north before he'd even coached a single practice. And he delivered – not just 310 days later with that single 26-20 victory, but in all the years that followed.
Tressel's inaugural address changed the tone of the rivalry. In Columbus, it became the only game that matters. And it shows.
Tressel rattled off a 9-1 record in The Game in his 10 years at Ohio State before passing the torch to Urban Meyer, who went a perfect 7-0 in his seven years. Ryan Day has been at the helm for just one season, but through one game, he's 1-0.
Through 19 seasons after Tressel made his promise, Ohio State is 17-2 after a 2-10-1 record under John Cooper.
That speech flipped the rivalry. Now it's up to Day to keep it that way.