Ryan Day. Quickly he’s become college football’s biggest lightning rod when it comes to actual football. It’s apropos that discussion over Day’s future comes after just losing to Michigan, where Jim Harbaugh is the biggest lightning rod for issues other than football.
Now in his fifth season at the helm of Ohio State there are questions whether Day is the correct man to move the Buckeyes forward. Despite going 56-7 in his tenure, he’s also only 2-3 in Bowl Games and seems to falter when the lights are the brightest.
Is this loss to Michigan indicative of deep-rooted issues that can only be corrected with a coaching change, or is this correcting a problem that no longest exists? Today on the football court docket: Case 23-08567, “Should Ryan Day be fired as head coach of Ohio State?”
The Ryan Day Era at Ohio State should be over — by JP Acosta
Let’s go back to Saturday in Ann Arbor. Second drive of the game, and it’s fourth down and one at the Ohio State 46. You have all-world wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. on the roster, as well as stars such as running back Treyveon Henderson and wide receivers Emecka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Carnell Tate. Also, it’s THE GAME. Every decision matters and every margin that can be widened should be approached as such.
And Ryan Day punted.
That’s been the story of Ohio State’s Ryan Day in his tenure at Ohio State, or at least the one fans will remember. Who cares about the 41-3 record? Beating Michigan State and Rutgers don’t carry the same weight as getting one over on Michigan, and that’s where Day has struggled. Day is 1-3 vs. Michigan, and in all those games he’s been outclassed as a head coach. Which is where the problem lies for Ohio State. As a schemer and designer of offense he’s one of the best in college football, but he simply can’t manage a game or make the correct decisions in crucial times. When talent is close to equal on both sides, it’s up to coaching to win in the margins, and Day hasn’t proven that he can make that move just yet. Michigan went 3/3 on 4th downs and acting head coach Sherrone Moore coached The Game like it mattered. Day punted on fourth down, and at the end of the half he let the clock run down to attempt a 52 yard field goal with a college kicker.
The kicker missed and Ohio State went into halftime down four, in a game they lost by six.
It’s clear that Day doesn’t have the head coaching quality of making the aggressive decisions when it comes time to make them, and in order to beat Michigan, you have to want to win in the margins. It’s where Day has struggled the most, and for the last three years it’s been where Michigan has lapped the Buckeyes. Michigan treats their on-field program like an NFL franchise; hiring the best in all three phases of the game. They’ve sent a special teamer to the NFL and had them be a contributor to teams in their rookie years. Ohio State has some of the worst special teams for a top five program I’ve ever seen. You might think that’s small potatoes, and you’d be right when Ohio State is playing Maryland. Not against Michigan.
Day doesn’t care enough about The Game, and for that reason he has to go.
Firing Day would be a panic move — by Mark Schofield
I get it, I get it.
When you are the head football coach at Ohio State, the number-one item on the to-do list is this.
Everything else is secondary, I get that. But here is the thing:
The world is changing.
Yes, Day has struggled to beat Michigan in recent years, and his record against “That Team Up North” is not where Buckeyes fans want it to be. But a sad, understated theme of this year’s installment of The Game is this: It is going to lose its luster a bit over the next few years.
Why? Because the Big Ten, as it welcomes USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon, is moving to a division-less format. So while Michigan-Ohio State has been a de facto playoff game in recent years, with the loser relegated to watching the winner in the Big Ten Championship while the winner represents the Big Ten East in that title contest, that changes next season.
Which is when Day’s record against non-Michigan opponents will come into play.
So too will Day’s results on the recruiting trail. Ohio State signed a Top-Five class for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024, according to 247Sports.
Sure, the supporters for both schools will continue to point to this game as THE GAME, and the rivalry will always be there. But in a changing college football landscape, the results of this game are going to matter less and less going forward. Under the 12-team format for the College Football Playoff that will be in place this year Ohio State, even with their loss on Saturday, is in the dance.
Firing Day right now addresses his failures against Michigan.
They also address a world that will not exist next season.
The ruling — by James Dator
I’d like to thank both Counselor Acosta and Counselor Schofield for their compelling arguments today. As I ponder today’s ruling I’m left ruminating on the immortal words of J. Wellington Wimpy in Popeye.
“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
The eternal grift of a hungry man. One desirous of burgers, sure, but also getting one over on the system. While Counselor Schofield is certainly correct to note that the Michigan-Ohio State calculus will change beginning in 2024, coaching an institution like The Ohio State University isn’t one to be earned by default.
Schofield, you are correct in noting that the world is changing — but I’m inclined to also take note of how Counselor Acosta is explaining how the football landscape is changing. The reason Michigan has had Ryan Day’s number isn’t simply play on the field, but their approach to football as a whole, making it more professional, more intense, demanding nothing short of excellence. It’s unclear if Day has the killer instinct required to take the Buckeyes from the realm of “great” and take them to “champions.”
Recruiting, scheming, planning — all take a back seat if you’re unable to put an entire program on your shoulders during THE GAME. Day does not have that quality, and Ohio State need someone who can.
I rule in favor of JP Acosta, the Buckeyes should fire Ryan Day