The storyline for the Big Ten title game Saturday might be as simple as this: Jim Tressel’s successor vs. Jim Tressel, the sequel.
Urban Meyer is the man charged with erasing the sting of Tressel’s departure from Ohio State. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio is the man who learned his trade as a Tressel assistant, and is keeping his mentor’s game plan alive in East Lansing.
Meyer is the coach who traded “Win the surest way,” for, “We’re paid to score touchdowns.” Dantonio wants to rely on suffocating defense and superior special teams, so being mistake free and opportunistic on offense is often more than enough.
Meyer hired offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Dantonio? He has Jim Bollman on his staff. Yes, Jim Bollman.
Meyer takes your unwritten rule book, sends it through the metaphysical shredder, and then sets it alight with imaginary matches. Dantonio frowns on your violations of gentleman’s agreements.
Meyer eschewed the circular, purposefully understated speech pattern of Tressel for an occasionally hyperbolic, truth-spitting style of straight talk. Dantonio maybe isn’t as polished or political as the man known as “The Senator,” but he could easily qualify as the “Junior Senator from Michigan.”
At least they agree on their hatred of Michigan.
Page 2: The Defense