Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

Thought: Do Ohio State Fans Want Fickell?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 17, 2011


Harrison: Will the Buckeye fans want Luke Fickell to keep on winning?

CFN Analysis 

Week 7 Thoughts, Oct. 17 

Follow Us @CFBnews | Like Us facebook.com/CFBNews
 
Past Thoughts  2010 5 Thoughts | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 
- Week 5 | Week 6

- Cirminiello: How Good Is Sammy Watkins
- Mitchell: South Carolina's Really Bad Week
- Harrison: Do Ohio State Fans Want Fickell? 
- Sallee: SEC East. The Division No One Wants
- Johnson: Just How Good Is Washington?
- Zemek: The Rule Book Problem With Fumbles

By Phil Harrison

Harrison: Do Ohio State Do Fans Really Want Luke Fickell to Succeed?

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

Expectations. We all live by them, and they can often define success and failure in the eyes of those setting them. In the college football universe, there is a myriad of expectations set by fans depending on the historical and recent pedigree of good ‘ole state U.

Enter stage left--the Ohio State Buckeyes. The scarlet and grey mountain of expectations do not get any higher at any program in all of college football. One lone loss sends its fan-base into a rabid frenzy. Two losses, and shame on you. Lose more than two and the talk shows and newspapers are filled with more vitriol and second-guessing than a communist coup d’etat. Worse yet, lose to those ugly winged helmets (or in recent years an SEC team), and coaches and players have to give serious thought to disguising themselves through the winter.

It’s not like this is new territory for Luke Fickell. He’s been an assistant coach on the OSU sidelines long enough to understand the gravity of all of the perceptions and judgment that go along with being the main man pulling the strings in the football-crazed state of Ohio. He knows that even an “interim” season could define his legacy on the banks of the Olentangy. The former OSU nose guard is also keenly aware that too many losses could end his coaching tenure at the monster program. And so are the fans.

There is a weird feeling in and around the followers of the OSU program this year. One in which the radio shows, newspapers, and blogs have certainly not been very kind to Fickell, but also one in which the hate is not as earnest as in years past.

But Why?

Could it possibly be that fans don’t really want Fickell to succeed in the first place? Quite possibly. It’s not like the Buckeye mob is rooting against the team, it’s just that the same fan base that criticized Woody Hayes, literally helped usher out Earl Bruce, thumbed their noses at John Cooper, and even called for Tressel’s firing at times seems to be resigned to the fact that this season is the equivalent of college football purgatory in which penance is being paid.

Luke Fickell is a fine man, role-model, and has given his life to Ohio State, but he is the symbol of the confessional that the team sits in right now. There have been some curious uses of time outs, over-conservative game plans, and a QB controversy that seems now like it never should have been. There has also been a monumental collapse against Nebraska in the second half. No worries.

If the payment of these sins results in a silver bullet lining next year, then all will be right again in the O-H-I-O. The hope of what will become-the ushering in of a perceived big name coach. Yes, the pearly gates outside of the ‘Shoe are ready to open for the sake of an Urban development. The hiring of any big name coach, but most specifically Urban Meyer would undoubtedly get the college football factory back up and running fast, and maybe even more stylishly than, dare one say, the sweater vest era.

The excitement would be back, national perception renewed, and multiple BCS appearances to go along with a yearly quest for a national title would be in the offing. At least that’s a fan’s perception and undying hope. Bring the block-O party back to Columbus.

So, OSU fans are caught in the middle of a a somewhat bitter-sweet pickle. Root for Fickell to succeed and risk the chance that he shows enough promise to continue to be the coach at the Ohio State University, or kind of root with indifference for their team to show some warts and have a shot at catching a big fish that swims in Florida but that has roots in Ohio (anyone else notice the big Woody Hayes picture hanging in Urban Meyer’s basement?).

So what if Luke Fickell builds on the momentum of beating Illinois and rolls up some more victories? What if the end of the season culminates in a another win against Michigan and a bowl victory? That in itself would be a monumental achievement in a season that has had more twists and turns than a John Grisham suspense novel. What would the administration do? Is Urban Meyer even really interested? There are a lot of questions that will ultimately be answered, but this season has to finish first before anyone can begin to formulate some answers.

Ohio State fans will continue to pull for their team, but this year they will do so with one eye on the football field, and one eye fixed towards the future of the program. A future that they hope contains a decent year this year, but not one in which an interim coach gets another chance. Instead, the fans long for a shot at an Urban renewal.

Fans can be Fickell, right Luke?

Please follow Phil Harrison on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN.

- Cirminiello: How Good Is Sammy Watkins
- Mitchell: South Carolina's Really Bad Week
- Harrison: Do Ohio State Fans Want Fickell? 
- Sallee: SEC East. The Division No One Wants
- Johnson: Just How Good Is Washington?
- Zemek: The Rule Book Problem With Fumbles