Rittenberg claims OSU is "too big to fail"

Submitted by winterblue75 on May 2nd, 2012 at 11:23 AM


The list of college football brand names enduring downturns has swelled: Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida, Washington, Nebraska, Michigan and, most recently, USC, to name a few. The reasons vary -- NCAA violations and penalties, coaching changes, poor coaching hires, poor recruiting, poor performance, greater parity in the sport -- but the fundamental theme is that anyone can be brought down. Programs had plummeted because of a lot less than what had transpired at Ohio State.

Isn't a 6-7 season failing? Isn't a reduction in scholarships failing? Isn't a one year ban on a conference championship possibility and a bowl berth failing? Isn't being the lead story on ESPN for a month due to your transgresions failing? Isn't your head coach "resigning" in disgrace failing? What an article of pure garbage



May 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 AM ^

Public opinion is a funny thing, as it never seems to be consistent or rooted in fact.  Everyone thinks OSU is still the cream of the crop, and I can't even speculate as to why.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^


 I'm going to speculate that it's because of a few different reasons.   First, the talent is still there.  They've had a great class last year to follow up years of great classes.   Second, I think a lot of people are just writing off last season because of the turmoil that happened, the suspensions, and the sudden coaching change.   And third they brought in a coach that has a very solid history.  


 Add those three things together and it's not that difficult to see why many think OSU are still going to be a powerhouse.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

True, but USC has always had talent and they are seen as being in a slump.    I think a hive mind exists out there where a few well placed stories snowball into public perception.  (See Exhibit 1a - Rodriguez)

Somewhere, a few people decided that OSU was not on the ropes.  It seems that opinions are taught these days, not formulated.  The media doesn't question the original stories and instead just rehashes their details.  That's how 90% of college football fans don't know that OSU went 6-7 last year... 

Space Coyote

May 2nd, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

They are essentially favored to make it to the MNC game and are pretty well thought of.

I think some of you are really missing the point of the article.  He isn't saying that they can't have missteps.  He says as much about Michigan, they had a few missteps but they won't fail.  They won't be down for long.  They will be back.

He is simply stating that any program can hit a rough patch, due to a variety of reasons, and some programs have suffered due to less than what OSU has been hit with.  It happens, but they have either come back or are on their way back.  These programs, with the amount of money, talent, coaching, history, prestige, etc. won't stay gone forever, and thus, will not fail.  A couple seasons may be deemed "failures", but the program itself won't fail.  I would put OSU in that category.  They have too much in their favor to fail, too good of talent, too good of coaching, too good of a history.  Their program will not fail and they should be really good in the next couple seasons.


May 2nd, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

To be fair, I based my argument on the OP and not the article, which I didn't read.  The crux of my argument is that USC was perceived to have been hurt by their scandal more than OSU was perceived to be hurt by tatgate.  It seems almost arbitrary as to which events trigger backlash.  Things like Auburn and Miami are forgotten about while the Reggie Bush scandal and the Fab Five debacle will always be a black mark.


May 2nd, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

Whoever thinks USC is in a slump is silly.  They were 12-1 in 2008, 9-4 in 2009, 8-5 in 2010, and 10-2 in 2011.  They're also one of the big favorites to win the championship this season. 2009 and 2010 were still decent seasons but comparing every USC season to the Carroll era is ridiculous.  I mean the guy only finished outside the top 4 twice (his first and last seasons) and won every bowl game except two (his first season and the loss to Texas).  Not even Nick Saban has a track record like that in terms of that early of success with teams finishing that high.


May 2nd, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

then how does this Ohio State team go 6-7 this past season? That's the excuse from Buckeye fans I hear a lot: they didn't have the talent last year....then how is it going to magically appear and help the Buckeyes next season?


May 2nd, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^


 I honestly haven't heard too many OSU fans use the excuse that they didn't have the talent last year.   But just because some of their fans may say that doesn't in-turn mean it's accurate or true.

They go 6-7 because their coach was suddenly fired/resigned, had multiple suspensions, and being more or less forced to start a true freshman QB.  Playing uninspired almost lazy football.   Not to mention Luke Fickell may not have been the greatest coach in the world.

 Take a gander at their roster and their incoming recruits and decide for yourself if you really think that the talent needs to magically appear or not.   


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

1) Ohio is confident.
1A) Gene Smith is a pretentious douche.

2) ESPN has a lot of Ohio readership, writes flattering article implying hope for 2012.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:36 AM ^

I don't think he realizes that a business leader only describes his/her company as "too big to fail" as a last-ditch effort when the sh*t is hitting the fan.  I don't think Lehman Brothers' motto was "We may be a bunch of idiots, but we're too big to fail!" 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

He also doesn't seem to realize that the quote usually originates from a political/public policy figure attempting to rationalize their decision to bail a failed company out from bankruptcy, not the CEO's and whatnot from those companies.

On top of that, he doesn't seem to understand that the phrase is generally not liked in American society (for several different reasons, actually).


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

"Too big to fail" is used to describe a financial institution the government believes it needs to bail out to keep the economy from crashing. (No politics, that's just what the original meaning of the phrase was). 


While the meaning Rittenberg is using is different (Ohio failing certainly wouldn't be disastrous for the college football system we are used to, although things would certainly change...he uses it more like "they are so big they will bounce back quickly" than "their demise could cripple college football forever") I think the original meaning sort of actually applies in terms of the actions of the governing body. All the usual caveats here of course, but I think many of us would agree that the NCAA punishment for last year's transgressions was a little bit light. If OSU wasn't "too big to fail" in the Lehman brothers sense, why didn't the NCAA come down harder? If they were a smaller school would the punishment have been harsher? Interesting to think about.


May 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

That is precisely the reason why I think the NCAA needs to take a tougher stance on the elite programs.  The rationale being that if the NCAA will punish the money makers, the rest have no chance.  Part of being elite is that you play within the rules.  Cheating is not elite in my books.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

It's the offseason...Also, as much as I hate to use them to make a point, USC's low point was 8-5 in 2010, not 6-7 as OSU was last year.  I mention this b/c Rittenberg says that USC, unlike OSU, was "down."  Again, though, I say meh.  


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

You are blinded by your sports affiliation, looking at the article through Maize tinted glasses. I would say that they’ve been remarkably resilient, and I expect them to be very good very fast. He’s right. Other programs have been completely gutted for less than what happened at OSU.

And I think you’re being a tad bit over dramatic with some of your verbiage…

Buzz Your Girlfriend

May 2nd, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

Hit the nail on the head. Hoke thinks our team failed last year even though almost all of us thought it was a pretty successful season. A bunch of posters think Ohio failed last year, Rittenberg might think "fail" means to have a program go into the dark ages.

As I said yesterday, the ESPN B1G Blog is LITERALLY (Chris Traeger voice) the worst. Lazy.


May 2nd, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

I see TBTF as a term describing an unwillingness to allow an organization to reap the consequences of their actions, and to do so not because of their own merits but rather because of the fear that their failure will have negative consequences on other organizations.  In that sense, that is probably a good description of the OHIO situation.  The NCAA doesn't want to see one of the top programs of the last decade go down in flames.  There is too much money to be made in the status quo.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:48 AM ^

As I said above, though, he cites USC has having an extended downturn.  That extended downturn involved going 8-5 and 10-2.  OSU has some catching up to do if they want to go 18-7 over two years.  I'm not saying this to bash OSU.  I'm saying this to criticize Rittenberg and, most importantly, to avoid what I'm supposed to be working on. 

EDIT:  USC went 9-4 in 2009, so their downturn was to go 17-9 over two years.  OSU can't catch that this year, as they would have to go 11-2, and they can't play 13 games. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

Folks like a comeback story, let's not get presumptious. 

Getting Urb and the early recruiting success does portend success. However, success for OSU is beating Michigan and unfortunetely for them we have very good coaches and are matching them step-for-step on the recruiting trail. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

"It's not a program that's been devastated by the challenges we have. When you can attract a good leader like Urban on a platform like The Ohio State University ... we weren't going to spiral."

If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure Urbs hasn't won a game at OSU yet.  How does anyone know if what he will bring to the Big Ten and OSU be successful?  Not saying he won't be, but there are a lot of unknowns, in my opinion. 

I think he will be sucessful ultimately, but as successful as JT? Doubtful.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

And the recent slap on the wrist.  Unfortunately I would have to agree.

If they would have received a multiple year bowl ban, combined with Hoke's recruiting success.  Then there's a chance they could have gone down the tubes.  Penalties like that could lead to the wrong coaching hire, which leads to poor recruiting, which equals prolonged mediocrity.

But they were assured a slap on the wrist, they got Urb because of it, recruiting didn't suffer (aside from what Hoke has been able to do) and I just can't see them being down for long.

I'm just glad we have Brady Hoke on the sideline.


May 2nd, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

What was the NCAA supposed to do?  Ban them from hiring a coach with a winning record? 

Ultimately, it's not the NCAA that can tank a program.  It's up to the school itself.  If it makes the right hiring decision, it will survive the probation and move forward. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

They shouldn't have banned them from hiring a good coach, but they could have given them the kind of penalty (more scholarships taken, longer bowl ban) that would have made coaches and top players shy away from them for a couple of years.  They still would have come back eventually, but they would have had to feel some pain for their transgressions.

Section 1

May 2nd, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

The issue with the NCAA is like penalties, for like offenses.

The player violations at Ohio State were sort of trivial; jerseys for tattoos, favors around town, walking around money to show up at golf outings, etc.  The NCAA investigated more serious wrongdoing (if Pryor's cars count as more serious wrongdoing) and didn't come up with much.

The much more serious wrongdoing was with Tressel's lack of disclosure and gentle stonewalling.  And for that, Tressel has been kicked out of Ohio State football for a lifetime.

There were a number of ineligible players used in a bowl game; for that they get a bowl ban.  (It could have been two, under the "2x punishment standard", but one is not a "slap on the wrist.")  They lost six scholarships; that number could have been higher, but six is not a "slap on the wrist."

What OSU got in sanctions was harsh, given what the players did; it was not harsh given the way that Tressel tried to sweep it under the rug.  I am just sorry for Tressel, in that he didn't get any tattoos, and he didn't trade jerseys for weed or anything like that.  But he fell down in his duty to report his kids to OSU Compliance.