Speaking at the 13th annual Champions Among Us fundraiser in Poland, Ohio, earlier this week, former Ohio State head coach and current Youngstown State president Jim Tressel said he hopes to live long enough to see the Buckeyes overtake Michigan in their all-time series.
“I hope I live long enough for that day when we’re over .500 (winning percentage),” the 68-year-old Tressel said. “Then I can go to sleep happy.”
The Wolverines held a 56-35-6 lead when Tressel took over ahead of the 2001 season, but Ohio State has closed the cap considerably in the years since by winning 16 of the last 18 meetings – not including the victory during the vacated 2010 season. Now at 58-51-6, this is the closest the rivalry has been since 1906, when Michigan held a 7-0-1 lead.
Tressel, who went 9-1 against the Wolverines, also recalled the famous “310 days” speech he gave when he was introduced at halftime of the Ohio State-Michigan basketball game on Jan. 18, 2001.
“I thought I was going to wave and get to work,” he said. “They handed me the microphone. I wanted the people to know we knew what was important to them. You set the bar high, and the University of Michigan is setting the bar high. I wanted our team to know. I wanted our fans to know. I just wanted the world to know that we were going to take that bar.”
The Buckeyes have won eight straight games in the series, and if they can double that streak, they would overtake the Wolverines in 2028. Assuming the game takes place in late November, as usual, Tressel would be just a few weeks shy of his 76th birthday.
As for the event, which also featured current head coach Ryan Day as a guest speaker, it raised $110,000 for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. There was a live auction for tickets on the 50-yard line to this year’s game between Ohio State and Penn State, which fetched $10,000.
“Being here with president Tressel and giving back to the United Way was very important,” Day said.
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