Once the news broke the other week that Ohio State head football Coach Jim Tressel decided to resign in the midst of all the allegations of covering up numerous NCAA infractions by some of his players, the football odds makers wasted little time in setting the lines on his successor.
The school has already quickly announced that Luke Fickell, the team’s offensive coordinator, would act as the interim coach this season. It is extremely doubtful he would be given the position on a long-term basis unless he has a highly successful year, as this storied program will most likely need a high-profile figure from the outside to help put this entire mess behind itself.
The odds-on-favorite to get the job at 3/2 according to Bodog.com is former Florida head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer recently retired from that job in order to spend more time with his family, but did not rule out a return to coaching at some point down the line. He has already gone on record as saying “I am committed to ESPN and will not pursue any coaching opportunities this fall.” The key phrase here is “this fall” as it implies that things may be subject to change by this time next year. Meyer was born and raised in Ohio and was a graduate assistant at Ohio State under Earle Bruce as well as the head coach at Bowling Green.
The second favorite is up-and-coming Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, the brother of Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops. He is a native of Youngstown, Ohio and a Big Ten alumni having played his college ball at Iowa. He has played a huge part in the Seminoles return to prominence over the past few seasons, and would really elevate his standings if Florida State turns in another strong performance this year.
Jon Gruden has been out of coaching since getting fired from the top spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2008 season, but is the third favorite to land this job at 3/1. He has never been a head coach at the collegiate level, but his name seems to pop-up every time a position opens up at a major university. His name is also near the top of this list because of his ties to the area as a native of Sandusky, Ohio and having played his college ball at the University of Dayton. It is expected that if Gruden decides to return to coaching it would be in the NFL, so the odds on him taking over the Buckeyes’ head coaching spot seem a bit optimistic at 3/1.
The fourth name on the list at 10/1 is Bo Pelini, who is currently the head coach at the Big Ten’s newest member, Nebraska. He is linked to the job primarily because of his ties to the Buckeye state. Pelini is an Ohio native and played safety for Ohio State. His trading place as a Cornhusker to become a Buckeye would be seen as a lateral move and an unlikely choice given that his current team is now in the same conference.
Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio is the last name on the short list at 12/1. Once again, his name has surfaced because of past ties with the area. He was an assistant at Youngstown State in the late 80’s and worked for Tressell at Ohio State as an assistant from 2001 to 2003. The job would be a step up in class, but still a somewhat lateral move within the Big Ten. The fact that Dantonio is associated with Tressell may also work against him.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.