Let's look at the positives: if there is one clarion benefit for the college-football-fan-at-large not invested in Ohio State's well-being, it is that you will never have to watch a down of grinding, hamfisted Tresselball ever, ever again. No more playing for a 52 yard field goal after an 18 play drive, no more sawing off at the legs of players like Terrelle Pryor, no more of those offensive gameplans that made the most diehard Buckeye fan want to rub drain cleaner on their eyes to blot out the horror.
That's over now, or at least is in its decline for the moment in Columbus. There's still horrors a-plenty in Chapel Hill as long as John Shoop coaches offense, and in Alabama it creeps in the minute the lead grows to two TDs and Saban shuts down the passing game. Though we think Tressel's firing is surrounded by several rich layers of bullshit, there is a momentary relief in this, something we were thinking about watching Barcelona level Manchester United in the Champions' League final.
Plus, Barça’s style is a risky one: it makes you vulnerable to counter-attacks in several ways, and soccer managers are notoriously risk-averse — as are all coaches in professional sports, really. As Gregg Easterbrook has been pointing out for some time, American football coaches punt way more than they should, but they keep doing it because they’re not going to get fired for punting too much, whereas they may well get fired for taking too many chances. I can tell managers that they ought to try playing aggressive and imaginative soccer, but they’ll just tell me that Ian Holloway tried that at Blackpool and it got him relegated.
We guess that's the one thing we're relieved about in Tressel leaving: we don't have to watch his brand of conservative football anymore, and that makes for a richer viewing experience on the whole. It's a suicidal bid to attempt to play interesting college football, but the relative bravery of college football coaches is one of the sport's more appealing facets. That's what makes Barca so fun to watch in a sport filled with conservative and often cowardly play, and what we continue to hope for against hope in college football.
Chip Kelly, continue to be yourself. You are our only hope, especially with the SEC retrenching towards conservative Saban-ish play. No wonder we universally love the Les Miles and Steve Spurriers of this world: every time their fourth-down calls and Benny Hill play-calling trumps "the book," a spastic ADD angel gets its wings. You might lose, but better to go with a knife in the enemy's eye than a perfectly clean blade sitting unused in the scabbard.