I find it pretty absurd that Tressel now has an angry mob on his hands for losing to USC at home, by 3, on a last-second drive. You may remember a certain other coach did exactly this in 2005 and was promptly rewarded with a 10-year contract. But the fallout from this latest loss raises a larger point: what does it mean if you are not able beat USC?
Answer: it means you are a college football team other than USC.
Let's put one particular stat to rest, or at least in perspective--any team or conference's recent record against USC.USC OOC - 2003-2009
Here is how USC has fared against out-of-conference opponents in recent years.2003 (5-0)
Auburn - BYU - Hawaii - Notre Dame - Michigan2004 (5-0)
V. Tech - Colorado St. - BYU - Notre Dame - Oklahoma2005 (4-1)
Hawaii - Arkansas - Notre Dame - Fresno State
--LOSS Texas2006 (4-0)
Arkansas - Nebraska - Notre Dame - Michigan2007 (4-0)
Idaho - Nebraska - Notre Dame - Illinois2008 (4-0)
Virginia - Ohio State - Notre Dame - Penn State2009 (2-0)
San Jose State - Ohio StateOverall record: 28-1Conference records
Big Ten: 0-6
Big 12: 1-3
ACC: 0-2Lessons to be drawn from a 3.6% winning percentage
The Big Ten (and ND) is the worst. The reason? We have played them more. If some other team or conference was taking every other game--or even one in three--from USC, then maybe I would do some soul searching upon losing to them. But other than the game of Vince Young's life, they have not lost to any team from another conference since 2002.
As much as Michigan fans may enjoy hearing some loud, overly-decisive talking head blather about how USC owns Ohio State or Notre Dame, remember that the same is true for us. And further, for everyone. So I think we should hold off on declaring OSU less-than-stellar, Pryor a bust, etc. The pundits, as always, are over-punditing. Losing to USC does not mean OSU is not very good, or that the Big 10 is weak. It means they played USC during Pete Carrol's reign of NCAA terror.