The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes fell to the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines 30-24 in a thriller of a rivalry game on Saturday. The Buckeyes were driving with a chance to win in the final minute before a Kyle McCord pass was picked off by Rod Moore to seal it.
This marked Ohio State’s third straight loss to “That Team Up North”, the first time this has happened since the mid-1990’s. With the rivalry now firmly in Michigan’s control and the the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes effectively over, one has to wonder if Ryan Day’s days as the head coach in Columbus are numbered.
From the outside looking in, the idea of Ohio State firing Day would be preposterous. Since 2018, Day has compiled a 56-7 record as the acting head coach of the Buckeyes and has claimed three College Football Playoff appearances. two Big Ten Championships, and a Rose Bowl victory along with producing numerous first-round NFL Draft picks. 99% of college football programs would take those results in a heartbeat, but the Buckeyes aren’t part of that 99%.
Ohio State is expected to beat down the Indiana’s, the Maryland’s, and the Purdue’s on its schedule every single year. So for Buckeye fans, it comes down to how you perform against Michigan, as well as the other elite team’s you’ll come across in the postseason. Ohio State enjoyed a near two-decade run of dominance over Michigan during the Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer eras, but are now getting consistently punked by their most hated enemy. Along with that, they have consistently fallen to the other 1-percenters of the sport, losing to Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia in each of Day’s playoff appearances. They will still go to a New Year’s Six bowl game this postseason, but that’s a consolation prize considering the lofty standards in Columbus.
The reality is that Day most likely won’t be fired this offseason considering his overall record and the fact that he has the full support of current athletic director Gene Smith. However, Smith is set to retire next summer and Ohio State will have a new AD running the department when the Buckeyes kick off the 2024 season next summer. That new AD will then be faced with the decision of what to do with Day should he and the Buckeyes fall yet again to the Wolverines in November.