Jim Tressel doesn't mind if you point out Ohio State's recent BCS failures. Just be accurate about them.
"I get more weary when they talk about what we have done and pat us on the back than I do anyone saying something that we haven't done because it's the truth," Tressel said during Ohio State's Rose Bowl media session Monday in Columbus. "No, I don't get tired of hearing it. If someone said something that wasn't true, I suppose you would be tired of hearing it.
"If they said, 'Hey, you've lost nine straight bowl games, you probably want to correct them on that.' It's only been three, or four, I don't know. Three?"
Yes, three. Two blowout losses to SEC teams in the BCS title game and a 24-21 loss to Texas in the final minute of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in January.
Get used to hearing about them, Tress.
Until Ohio State steps on the field Jan. 1 against Oregon for the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi (ABC, 4:30 p.m. ET), Tressel and his players will be bombarded with questions about their recent struggles in the big bowls. No factor shapes the Big Ten's national repuation more than Ohio State's bowl performances, simply because the Buckeyes are clearly the league's flagship program.
Once again, Ohio State will carry the Big Ten banner, this time in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997. And the Buckeyes are ready for the challenge, especially after hearing all about their shortcomings.
"They know we haven't won a bowl game the last three tries and they've known we've played three very good teams," Tressel said. "They know Oregon is as good a team as any team in the nation. So they know the challenge and I think they also feel or know the responsibility to represent their conference because guys want to have a 6-1 bowl record rather than a 1-6."
Ohio State's seniors are still searching for their first bowl victory.
"We talked about that at the beginning of the year, back during the summer when we were working out," senior safety Anderson Russell said. "We have a chance to go out as one of the winningest classes in Ohio State history, so we definitely want to do that. And what better opponent to do that against than Oregon."
A few Buckeye nuggets:
The team's health looks good heading into the Rose Bowl. Kicker Aaron Pettrey (knee) is a few weeks ahead of schedule and should be fine for the game. Safety Jermale Hines (leg) and defensive tackle Dexter Larimore (knee) also are healed. Tressel said Terrelle Pryor's ankle was an issue early in November, but the quarterback was at 100 percent before the regular-season finale at Michigan. The first-team offensive line is all practicing this week.
Tressel sent in paperwork for 10 juniors to NFL Draft Advisory Board. The coach declined to identify the players but said all were starters. Defensive linemen Cameron Heyward and Thaddeus Gibson are the likeliest candidates to leave early.