For the first time since he exited Ohio State in disgrace and under a cloud of controversy, the Sweatervest has returned to Ohio Stadium.
Between the first and second quarters of The Game between Ohio State and Michigan, the Buckeyes honored the 10-year anniversary of their 2002 BcS title team. The coach of that team, Jim Tressel, had been rumored to be hesitant to take part in the ceremony due to the circumstances surrounding his departure, although several ex-players had been privately and publicly urging their former coach to take part.
The urging apparently had an impact.
As dozens of players from that team locked arms ahead of the between-quarters ceremony, Tressel was front and center in the group. Taking the field to thunderous applause and cheers, Tressel was then raised atop his former players’ shoulders, further strengthening the din inside the Horseshoe.
If there was any doubt how the fans of the flagship football program feel about the deposed coach, the moment erased it.
It’s ironic, though, that this season happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of the program’s last BcS championship and affords Tressel the opportunity to make a ceremonious and triumphant return. While Ohio State is 11-0 heading into the rivalry game, they are ineligible for the postseason thanks in large part to the lies and cover-up perpetrated by Tressel.
Yes, the man almost solely responsible for denying OSU the opportunity to match that ’02 team’s feat is honored in Ohio Stadium. Ironic indeed.