At 68 years old, Jim Tressel should be with us for a long time. The former Ohio State head coach spoke at a charity event this week, and joked that there is one thing he wants to see before he does pass one day, though.
Ohio State vs. Michigan, perhaps the greatest rivalry in college football, has been extremely one-sided as of late. Urban Meyer and his successor Ryan Day have not lost to the Wolverines, building on the success that Tressel had in the series.
Even so, Ohio State is still playing catch-up. Because Michigan won 13 of the first 15 meetings between the two schools (with two ties), the Buckeyes have been behind the eight ball, and still trail the all-time series 58-51-6. That gap has closed rapidly since the start of Tressel’s tenure at the school decades ago. He wants to live to see Ohio State close it completely.
“I hope I live long enough for that day when we’re over .500,” Tressel told a crowd at a United Way charity event in Poland, Ohio, a small village outside Youngstown. “Then I can go to sleep happy.”
Jim Tressel on the Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry: “I hope I live long enough for that day when we’re over .500. Then I can go to sleep happy.” https://t.co/KCU2QkbUkA
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) June 3, 2021
Jim Tressel won his first two games against Michigan after landing the Buckeyes’ job in 2001, and finished 9-1 in the rivalry, though the Buckeyes’ 2010 win was invalidated following the tattoo scandal that ultimately cost him his job.
Michigan won in 2011, 40-34, with Luke Fickell serving as interim coach for the year. Urban Meyer took over the Buckeyes ahead of the 2012 season, and Michigan hasn’t won since. The series is now at 58-51-6. When Tressel took over at OSU, it was 56-35-6.
Odds are that Michigan will find a way to beat Ohio State some time this decade, but if the winning streak continues, Tressel could get his wish in a few years. If the Buckeyes keep winning The Game, they’ll tie UM in 2027 and pass them in 2028. Tressel will be 75, a week ahead of his 76th birthday, when that game is played.