Over the last year year or so, Jim Tressel covered up everything. He covered up lies and then he covered up the memorabilia scandal and then he covered up more lies. Once the NCAA — and then the media — began to move in on him, Tressel just flat covered up, trying to shield himself from the bad situation that he created.
But while Tressel spent the majority of the 2010 season trying to cover up Ohio State’s off-the-field problems, on the field, all his team did was win — win and cover the spread. The Buckeyes finished the season 10-2-1 ATS, capping it off with a 31-26 victory in the Sugar Bowl as 3-point favorites.
Not that this was anything new or unexpected.
Tressel’s teams, despite being favored in 86% of all games, always seemed to cover the spread. It didn’t matter if Ohio State was playing at home or on the road, in conference or out of conference, as a favorite or as an underdog. The Buckeyes covered everything under Tressel. Everything.
So that, more than anything else, is why I was sad to see Tressel announce his resignation today. Tressel is, in my opinion, the greatest spread-covering coach of the last decade.
He might even be the best of all time.
Tressel was 76-47 (61.8%) against the spread during his Ohio State tenure. He was 49-29 in Big 10 play. Tressel hasn’t had a losing ATS Big 10 record since 2003, when the Buckeyes went 3-4-1.
In 2009 and 2010, Ohio State covered 20 of its 26 games. The Buckeyes were 11-4-1 ATS in conference and 9-1 in everything else. They covered all three times they were dogs in ’09 and won two of those games outright.
That’s the thing about Tressel: He was incredible as a favorite but more than held his own as an underdog. He posted an 11-6 ATS record as a dog, including an upset victory in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl over Miami as 13-point dogs. (Speaking of bowls, Tressel was good in those, too. He went 7-3 ATS in bowl games.)
But now he’s gone, meaning the rest of the Big 10 can breathe again. For the first time in six years, a team other than Ohio State will probably win the conference title, which should be a wide open race.
I’ll be fading the Buckeyes all season long.
A look at Tressel’s ATS resume
|Year||Overall ATS||Big 10 ATS||As underdog|
|TOTAL||76-47 (61.8%)||49-29 (62.8%)||11-6 (64.7%)|