Bring Jim Tressel to Wisconsin
UPDATE - 12/4/12
Since launching our Tressel for Wisconsin Campaign it has been announced the current Wisconsin Badgers coach, Bret Bielema, has accepted the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas.
At this time I would like to take a moment to highlight a couple of interesting thoughts. Over the past two years, following two consecutive Big 10 titles and two Rose Bowl appearances, the Wisconsin football program has experienced an usually high amount of turnover in their coaching staff. While some will say turnover is a part of success, I hold an alternative point of view in this case. Many of the assistant coaches Bielema has had are, in fact, very good coaches. However, it is my belief that they had doubts about their head coach and decided to leave at a time that would present them with the best opportunity; during a time of success. If they had faith in their head coach, many would have opted to remain with Wisconsin.
Now we learn Bielema is leaving for Arkansas. This is a rather curious time to be leaving a program that has won three Big 10 titles in as many years and is on their way to a third consecutive Rose Bowl appearance. However, it is my belief that Bret Bielema never expected to win the Big 10 championship game against the University of Nebraska. Instead, he was planning his exit strategy realizing he had worn out his welcome with Wisconsin fans. With a track record of failing to win big games, and many questioning his ability to game plan, manage the game, and manage the clock, he saw the writing on the wall and understood his time at Wisconsin was coming to an end. Instead of forcing Barry Alverez to make the decision for him, he went out and pursued an opportunity to leave on his own terms.
Lastly, let’s consider motivation. When you are with a major FBS program, your ultimate goal as a coach is to win a National Championship. I will argue that Bret Bielema was in a better position to win a National Championship as coach at Wisconsin than he does at the University of Arkansas. Arkansas is in the SEC; currently the most dominate conference in college football. A conference that includes the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Georgia, just to name a few. The SEC also includes many of the best coaches in college football that have a proven track record of recruiting top talent and winning big games. In college football today, a team must go undefeated, or have one loss at worst, to have a shot of playing in a National Championship game. I will argue that under current conditions in college football, Bret Bielema had a much better chance of running the tables at Wisconsin, and making it to a National Championship game, than he does as coach of Arkansas.
So again I ask, what is his motivation? It is my belief that Bielema chose the job at Arkansas for two reasons. First, the money. Becoming coach at the University of Arkansas will surely allow Bielema to cash in on the deal. However, this is an opportunity for him to start over with a clean slate. In other words, it was an opportunity for him to save face. Much like his assistant coaches that went running for greener pastures, Bielema doubted him ability to lead the University of Wisconsin football program. Rather than circle the wagons, he looked for an opportunity to abandoned ship. Sure he can say it was an opportunity to coach in the SEC, but given all the facts surrounding his decision, we all know better. So, to the University of Arkansas, I say to you…good luck Razorbacks.
The Wisconsin Badgers have enjoyed a proud history on the football field dating back to 1889. In 1896 the Big 10 Conference was created and that year Wisconsin became the first-ever conference champion with a 7–1–1 record. From 1896 to 1906 the Badgers won or shared the conference title three more times in 1897, 1901, and 1906. They also recorded their first undefeated season, going 9–0–0 in 1901. In 1912 the Badgers celebrated their second undefeated season and also earned their fifth Big Ten title. Over the next three decades the Badgers experienced hard times and failed to earn another Big 10 title until 1942. The Badgers once climbed back on top during the 1950s finishing in the AP Top 25 eight times in ten years. In 1952, the team received its first #1 ranking by the Associated Press while claiming the Big Ten title. The 1952 team was the first in school history to go to the Rose Bowl, which they would lose to USC. It would take the Badgers seven years to return to the Rose Bowl as Big Ten Champions in 1959, but they fell to the Washington Huskies, 44-8. Three years later in 1962 the Badgers got another chance at USC, in the Rose Bowl, but would once again fall short as they lost 42-37. Following 1962 the Badgers experienced another drought for three more decades. In 1990 Barry Alverez became the coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Barry not only turned the Wisconsin program around, he also lead the Badgers to THREE Rose Bowl titles. As both a recruiter and a coach, he was able to accomplish feats that were unprecedented in Badgers history. He made power football, and the ground game, one of the best in the nation which helped produce Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dane and make Wisconsin a top producer of NFL linemen. In 2005, Barry Alverez made the decision to step down as coach to assume the position as athletic director for the University of Wisconsin. When he left, he left behind a great talent pool for an incoming coach, which happened to be Bret Bielema.
Since 2005 Bielema has lead the Badgers to six consecutive bowl games with a 2-4 record. In 2010, the Badgers won a share of the Big Ten Championship and earned seventh trip to the Rose Bowl in school history. They where defeated 21–19 by the #3 ranked TCU Horned Frogs. In 2011, the Badgers were once again crowned Big Ten Champs when they defeated Michigan State in the first-ever conference championship game. The victory sent Wisconsin back to the Rose Bowl for a second consecutive year with a chance at redemption for Bielema and the Badgers. However, they were defeated by the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks, 38–45. In 2012, the Badgers have limped along and performed well enough to make it back to the Big 10 Championship game with a chance to play in a third consecutive Rose Bowl thanks to both Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible to play in the post season. However, here is the problem. While Bret Bielema’s resume looks above average on paper, his coaching ability is average at best. When placed on a big stage, and given a chance to prove himself an elite coach, he has shown that he clearly is not. Through a combination of poor game plans, poor play calling, and poor clock management, the Badgers have lost games they should have won. He wears the stink of failure, which has lead many Wisconsin fans to wonder if the Badgers are entering into a time in which they will have to wait another three decades to return to glory.
The arrival of Urban Meyer, at Ohio State, and Brady Hoke, at Michigan, has set both schools up to be perennial powerhouses for years to come. We may be entering an era similar to the days of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. The rich history of Ohio State and Michigan, combined with great coaches such as Meyer and Hoke, will make both schools very attractive for the nation’s premier high school recruits. In order for Wisconsin to stay relevant in the Big 10, they need a coach that possesses the talent and ability to go toe to toe with the likes of Meyer and Hoke. This coach is out there and his name is JIM TRESSEL.
Some know of Jim Tressel because of NCAA rules violations under his watch at Ohio State. However, true sports fans know of a different Jim Tressel. Tressel finished his career at Ohio State with an official overall record of 94–22. He accounted for six Big Ten Conference championships, an 8–1 record against the archrival Michigan Wolverines, and a National Championship. However, Jim Tressel is more than just a great football coach. When you ask a former Buckeye about coach Tressel, they will tell you what a great man he is. They will tell you that he cared about them like a father cares about their son(s). They will tell you his desire to see his players succeed extended beyond the football field; he not only sought to make them great players, but also great men. I will personally argue it is this care and compassion for his players that lead to his own demise at Ohio State. What he did for his players was not unlike what many fathers; he tried to protect his boys. In doing so he understood the risks and eventually accepted the consequences. He walked away as gracefully as he could, given the situation, sparing his players and his school any additional drama.
If you ask me, Jim Tressel deserves a second chance. In the NFL, Bill Belichick has built his legacy by bringing talent to New England. Many times, that has meant bringing a player in with a tarnished image, allowing him to get that player for a heavy discount, while at the same time, helping them to restore their image. Jim Tressel, as coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, is a great fit. Bringing Tressel to the Badgers would remove the stink of failure, help Wisconsin recruit against conference rivals Ohio State and Michigan, while at the same time giving Tressel a chance to restore his legacy.
In full and fair disclosure, it should be known that any school hiring coach Tressel will incur a show-cause penalty nor can he coach a bowl game in his first year. Furthermore, the NCAA would need to approve the hiring of Tressel because he is still within 5 years from the date of the incident. However, I do believe it is in the best interest of the NCAA, and the Big 10, to allow Tressel to coach for Wisconsin. The Big 10 has struggled to keep pace with the SEC and PAC 12; and given the importance of the Big 10 in the BCS picture, allowing Tressel a chance to redeem himself at Wisconsin does make sense.
WHY DID I CREATE THIS PAGE?
I love the state of Wisconsin, I love my Wisconsin Badgers, and I strongly believe that Jim Tressel is good for Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Badgers, the Big 10, and NCAA football. I am hoping to use this webpage as a springboard to gain support in urging Mr. Alverez to pursue talks with coach Tressel. I am also accepting donations in order to buy an entire page in the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, promoting Jim Tressel as the next coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.
Please support the cause by making a contribution in any amount that you can afford. Please also link this page to your social media through Facebook, Twitter, and any personal Blogs.
Thank you for your support – GO BADGERS!!!
Please send questions to Brian@TresselforWisconsin.com