In each of the last two seasons, Ohio State and head coach Ryan Day have fallen short of their three ultimate goals: beat Michigan, win the Big Ten and claim the College Football Playoff national title.
In fact, the Buckeyes have failed to accomplish the first goal of the trio, falling to Michigan in painful fashion in each of the last two seasons. With Ohio State’s struggles against its rival to the north, a contingent of Buckeye fans has become disillusioned with Day’s lead of the program.
Despite the growing discontent to some in the Ohio State fanbase, former Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel — who led OSU to the 2002 national title — issued support for Day and his job to this point in his tenure.
“The people who matter, the logical people who actually have a brain and understand the sport, they love what Ryan Day has done,” Tressel told Dave Briggs of the Toledo Blade.
Day has registered a 45-6 record since taking over as head coach ahead of the 2019 season, including a 3-0 stint as an interim head coach in 2018 while then-skipper Urban Meyer served a suspension, while leading the Buckeyes to a pair of Big Ten titles in 2019 and 2020 and a trio of College Football Playoff appearances in 2019, 2020 and 2022.
However, the last two seasons spelled an end to the honeymoon phase in Day’s tenure. Although the Buckeyes reached the College Football Playoff in 2022, Ohio State has failed to claim the Big Ten title in each of the last two seasons due to devastating losses to Michigan at the end of the regular season. The Buckeyes saw their eight-game winning streak over the Wolverines snapped at the Big House in a 42-27 loss in 2021 before Michigan trekked to Columbus and dominated Ohio State in the second half to claim a 45-23 win.
Despite Ohio State’s shortcomings against Michigan in each of the last two seasons, Tressel emphasized his confidence in Day to turn the rivalry back around.
“I think the Buckeyes will make us proud in Ann Arbor,” Tressel said.