Ohio State should turn to TOB
Despite the occasional pleasure I get in watching his tired act in Raleigh, this is a serious post. I think Tom O'Brien might be the perfect guy to help Ohio State rebuild their program and reclaim their reputation. Aside from TOB's age (he would turn 64 in during the 2012 season) everything else makes sense.
Ohio State will have a tough time hiring an A list coach
The general assumption seems to be that Ohio State will get an A list head coach. Primary speculation focused on Urban Meyer. I think getting a top guy will be easier said than done. Meyer's health is still in question. This is also a guy who railed on about the corruption of college football on his way out the door at Florida. Does this fit the profile of a guy willing to step into a powder keg? I also don't think any other top guy with a job will take on Ohio State without knowing the full impact of potential sanctions. Given the timing of the USC case, it is unlikely all the sanctions will be known by December 2011 (which is when Ohio State's search will begin).
TOB has the profile that will sell to recruits, most Ohio State fans and the NCAA
He's an Ohio guy. He's a disciplinarian (with less hypocrisy than most college football coaches). He'll recruit Ohio hard. He'll beat Michigan. He'll leave the program in better shape than he found it. He has no association with Tressel nor any of the other boosters. He has a history of following rules.
When USC replaced Carroll with Kiffin, it was a slap in the face to the NCAA. They replaced the rule breaker with one of his lieutenants and a guy who was earning his own sordid reputation in Tennessee. Hence the punishment under Kiffin was severe. With TOB, Ohio State would be making a clean break and hiring TOB for his reputation.
TOB would take the job
Many (myself included) assume this will be TOB's last season. But the like all football coaches, the old Marine does have a healthy ego. He also feels like he has never been given enough credit for what he's done. If he "rebuilt" Ohio State it would solidify his career legacy and give him one final, big pay day. Plus this is the situation TOB seems to love -- low expectations and high upside. It fits his MO and his experience.
Whoever Ohio State hires will be a transitional coach through the sanctions and rebuilding. If that path is inevitable, the school might as well go with the squeaky clean Marine, endure the five years of boredom and come out smelling like a rose for the next young hot name.