All in all, the last 10 years have been a pretty sweet ride for Ohio State football fans. The team won a national championship, dominated the Big Ten, and repeatedly qualified for BCS bowl games. Sure, there were two national championship game beatdowns mixed in with the good stuff, but for the most part the Jim Tressel era was high-flying time for Buckeye Nation.
We all remember, however, that this Era of Good Feeling started abruptly. After years of gagging against Michigan and stumbling in bowl games under John Cooper, it seemed to take only one change — the hiring of Jim Tressel — to convert failure into glorious Buckeye success. Suddenly, the team that couldn’t beat the Wolverines or win a bowl game began to routinely thrash the Team Up North and win BCS games against the toughest competition.
Now, change has come again to the Ohio State football program. It is unwanted change. Coach Tressel is gone in the wake of an NCAA investigation, players are suspended, and a new, young, interim coach in the person of Luke Fickell is at the helm. In the meantime, change has come to the Michigan program, which also has a new head coach, and change has come to the Big Ten, which has added Nebraska and split into the pretentiously named Legends and Leaders divisions. These are the kinds of changes that mark the beginnings and ends of eras. Some pundits are predicting as much, by forecasting that the Ohio State Buckeyes will be mediocre this year, in the 7-5 or 8-4 range.
And so, Ohio State fans everywhere anxiously follow the news about the Buckeyes’ fall camp, and the competition to be the new starting quarterback, and the efforts to plug the other holes left by suspensions and graduations, and wonder: has the worm turned once again?