June 17, 2024

Ohio State coach under pressure to end losing streak in The Game

Ohio State coach Ryan Day has the highest winning percentage among active coaches with at least 50 wins and is on the cusp of taking the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff for the fourth time in five seasons.

Knowing that, how could there possibly be any talk of a hot seat in Columbus? That is the power of The Game.

Is Ohio State's Ryan Day on the hot seat with a third straight loss to  Michigan?

“For two years, Michigan has been on the top hand,” Michigan Radio Network analyst Jon Jansen told Sporting News. “With Ryan Day, all of those storylines that go in it for him. He’s a terrific coach. He runs a terrific program. Yet those in Columbus don’t want to live through with what they did with John Cooper. What happens to him if they lose three in a row?”

It might sound ridiculous ahead of the matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan (12 p.m., Fox) on Saturday, but this is the legacy-defining game for coaches from both schools. With Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh suspended, there is an extra layer of pressure on the Buckeyes in the matchup between 11-0 teams.

Ryan Day record vs. Michigan

Day is 1-2 against Michigan, with losses each of the last two seasons heading into the 2023 matchup. Day was hired on at Ohio State under Meyer as a co-offensive coordinator in 2017. He took over as the head coach in 2019, and No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 10 Michigan 56-27 that season.

The teams did not play in 2020. Michigan canceled the game because of COVID-19, and Ohio State would have been heavily favored given their unbeaten record. The Buckeyes lost to Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game that season.

Michigan has won the last two meetings, however, which dropped Day to 1-2 in head-to-head matchups against Harbaugh. No. 6 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State 42-27 in 2022, and No. 3 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 last season.

That puts Ohio State in danger of a three-game losing streak against Michigan for the first time in more than a quarter century.

Ryan Day says moving Ohio State-Michigan to earlier in season worth  discussion

Who is last Ohio State coach to lose three in a row to Michigan?

John Cooper coached at Ohio State from 1988-2000. Cooper had a 111-43-4 record with the Buckeyes, but he struggled against the Wolverines.

Cooper was 2-10-1 against Michigan, and that included a three-game losing streak from 1995-97. That is the last time the Buckeyes have lost three straight games to Michigan.

Ohio State coaches Jim Tressel (9-1) and Urban Meyer (7-0) dominated the rivalry from 2002-18, with the Wolverines winning in 2011 against interim coach Luke Fickell. Ohio State is 16-5 against Michigan since 2000.

Ryan Day overall coaching record

Day is 55-6 as Ohio State’s head coach, which included a three-game stint as the acting head coach when Meyer was serving a suspension in 2018.

He led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff in 2019 and 2021 along with the CFP championship appearance in 2020. The Buckeyes are 38-2 in Big Ten play under Day, with the only two losses coming to Michigan.

Day is 10-5 against top-10 opponents, a record that is between Meyer (13-4) and Tressel (10-8) during their tenures at Ohio State. Day also is 2-4 against top-five opponents.

Could Ryan Day be on the hot seat at Ohio State?

A third consecutive loss to Michigan would no doubt increase the pressure on Day, but it would be highly unlikely that would Ohio State would move on to another head coach.

Of course, that is logic talking.

Harbaugh will not be on the sidelines, so Day will be up against Michigan acting coach Sherrone Moore, who is 2-0 in place of Harbaugh the last two weeks.

Last year’s loss was tempered when the Buckeyes advanced to the College Football Playoff and nearly upset No. 1 Georgia 42-41 in thriller. Day addressed controlling the emotions of The Game at a press conference Tuesday.

“You have to play with emotion,” Day said. “You can’t let emotion play with you. That’s important. You have to have your emotions in check which isn’t in easy with a game like this. We all know the magnitude of it all.”

It will be interesting to see how that statement holds should Michigan advance to the Big Ten championship game instead of Ohio State.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *