Tressel Among 2002 Champions Honored During ‘The Game'
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In what may be one of the more surreal and irony-filled moments of the 2012 football season, Jim Tressel was welcomed back to Ohio Stadium Saturday, on the same day Urban Meyer made his coaching debut in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
It was designed to be a chance for Ohio State fans to honor the 10-year anniversary of their 2002 BCS National Championship, but the moment took on a different feel entirely when two players hoisted the team’s head coach, Jim Tressel, onto their shoulders.
That would be the same Jim Tressel who led the Buckeyes to a national championship in just his second season in Columbus, and the same Jim Tressel who was forced to resign as head coach last May under a cloud of scrutiny from the NCAA.
Ultimately, it is because of those actions – and those of Tressel’s players – that today’s game against Michigan will be the last game of the season for Meyer’s 2012 Buckeyes. There will be no Big Ten championship game, even though they earned, and no bowl game either.
This team won’t have the chance to do what Tressel and that 2002 Ohio State team did 10 years ago, even if they come away with a victory today against Michigan in almost identical weather conditions to the game back in ’02.
That would mean an undefeated 12-0 regular season for Meyer in his first go-around as the longterm replacement for Tressel, but none of that seems to have changed the way Ohio State fans feel about their former coach.
The man who won seven Big Ten championships and nine Michigan games in 10 seasons was cheered wildly as he waved to the crowd from the north end zone of the Horseshoe. They continued cheering their coach as he walked slowly up the ramp and out of the stadium, perhaps for the final time in what could be a long time.
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