Urban Meyer….urban meyer…..URBAN MEYER….uRbAn MeYeR…..
No matter how it’s spelled out it still sounds the same to me: like that of nails across a chalkboard; the screech of my alarm clock; Jim Carrey’s “most annoying sound in the world” from Dumb & Dumber. Or maybe it’s more like the less intense, but equally-aggravating sound of my dog loudly lapping water out of his dish, or the click-click-click I’ve heard when trying to start a car with a dead battery. Let’s just say it’s something like any of the above.
It hasn’t been easy growing up in Ohio while being anti-Ohio State. Just when I thought things were looking up, URBAN MEYER enters the scene.
The worst part about it is that I can’t get away from it. The television, the radio, passers-by in the grocery store, and FACEBOOK. Facebook is the worst! I’m not going to go count, but there have easily been hundreds of posts by my friends in the past few days about this man. Of course that includes a couple multiple offenders with 10+ posts about him (calm down, please). Even a relaxing trip to the dry sauna after a recent workout was interrupted by Urb’ Talk. I can’t even sweat in peace!
I know, I know. I live in OHIO…. COLUMBUS, OHIO…. what do I expect, right? Well, let me tell you… I’ve recently come to the conclusion that all the rain we’ve had here in Columbus the past few days is not rainwater. It’s actually the Urban Meyer-induced saliva of the collective Buckeye Nation pouring down upon us all… and it’s disgusting. I did not expect this.
Now to all of you Buckeyes fans whom I’ve offended and are now muttering,”she’s just jealous” to yourselves, I say this: Darn right, I’m jealous! I wanted Urban Meyer for Notre Dame back in the 2005 when the Irish kicked Ty Willingham to the curb! Meyer is fantastic. He’s a winner, and a heck of a recruiter. Meyer was recruiting talent in Florida long before he actually coached there. He’ll be drawing that Floridian talent to Ohio faster than his hiring made Buckeyes fans forget they just lost to Michigan. Meyer’s resume speaks volumes about what he can do to a program. Let alone a program like Ohio State’s that is typically top-ten anyway.
That being said, I’m curious about how long all my neighbors here in the cap city will be able to enjoy the fruits of Urban’s labor. While his résumé definitely has the goods in terms of wins, it also shows that Meyer might be a bit fickle. Not to be confused with Luke Fickell, who has invested over 14 years in the OSU program, yet most fans couldn’t care less about.
Urban Meyer’s first head coaching position was at Bowling Green State University (my alma mater!). Meyer, who is also known as “Urban Legend” around Bowling Green, went 17-6 for the Falcons. After assuring BG fans he wasn’t going anywhere, he was off to Utah. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Bigger school, more money, another rung higher on the coaching ladder. Still, don’t say something and go back on your word (not to be salty or anything ;)). However, back to Utah. Meyer posted a 22-2 record over two seasons for the Utes. Yet, even with the perfect 12-0 tally he posted in his second season there, he didn’t have a shot at a national championship. That’s probably why there was a clause placed in his contract extension with Utah after his first season. The clause allowed Meyer to leave Utah without penalty if he were hired at either Michigan, Ohio State, or Notre Dame. Well, he went to Florida anyway. At UF, Meyer won two Southeastern Conference championships and two national championships. Following a dismal 8 -5 2010 season with the Gators, Meyer resigned citing health concerns and the desire to spend more time with his family.
This season Meyer took on a role at ESPN as a college football analyst. As with most things he does, Urban did a great job. In a statement released early in November, Meyer said, “I am very happy with my role at ESPN. I have no plans to return to coaching at this time.” He followed that up with a statement late last week in which he insisted, ”I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further.”
I know coaches lie. Not just to the media, but to fans, players, recruits, and pretty much just about everyone else at that level. One would think, however, that if Ohio State was trying to restore its image in college football it might go with a coach with a little more credibility behind his words. I’m sure Meyer’s speech after he accepted the position and his reference to Ohio State being his “dream job” gave Buckeyes fans warm fuzzies and a sense of security. Unfortunately, this is not the only destination he’s referred to with that term. In 2008, Urban told a Florida radio show that Notre Dame is “still my dream job; that hasn’t changed.” He’s said that of Notre Dame multiple times. All I’m saying is that I don’t want to see any tears or melt downs due to disbelief if Meyer scoots out of Columbus before you all expect him to. Expecting him to stay here and be that storied coach of the next decade or so that you all are imagining is about as logical as expecting Kim Kardashian’s next marriage to last just as long. Especially when you know that he’s already mentioned other dream destinations.
Now about all those pesky Buckeyes making headlines for breaking laws and violating NCAA rules. Will Urban Meyer fix that scene too? According to The Orlando Sentinel, 25 of Meyer’s players were arrested a total of 31 times during his six years with the Gators. You be the judge.
Of course, if this relationship is short-lived, I know Ohio State fans will be okay. These fans have shown they have a short memory; or selective, rather. “What loss to Michigan?” one might ask. I forgot, only the seven Buckeye victories before this season actually count, right? Nevermind the fact that in this rivalry it is Michigan that owns the longest win streak (9), or that Michigan also holds the largest margin of victory (86-0), and Michigan also leads the series by 15 victories.
Remember that Jim Tressel guy? Wonder where he is these days, not that anyone cares. I bet the people of Columbus could make a record-breaking donation to a second-hand sweatervest store, if one existed. It’s not like anyone would be caught dead in one of those here. They are SO 2002.
Oh wait, I have an even better one! Remember Maurice Clarett? If I had a dollar for every time an Ohio State fan gloated about Clarett in 2002… I would have a lot of dollars! Urban Meyer is clearly on a completely different plane than Clarett, but Buckeyes fans, learn a lesson from this one. Don’t become that fan that buys into a figure so much you’d sell your grandma if you knew it meant keeping him around. Chances are he wouldn’t do the same for you, or your school.
Now that Negative Nancy and Jealous Janet have said what they needed to say, I will be the bigger person here ;). Team loyalties aside and simply as a football fan, I’m excited for this. The addition of Meyer to the Big Ten is exactly what it needed. He’s raising the bar higher for the conference. He raises the bar for coaches in college football, period. But let’s be honest, I’m not the only one tired of the SEC running the show!
As far as the NCAA violations and players in trouble are concerned, again, as a football fan, I HOPE that Urban puts an end to it. College football has been muddied by scandals and drama, especially this season. It takes away from the sport and it takes the attention away from the players and coaches who deserve it. I’m also tired of hearing “we didn’t have so-and-so” as an excuse for losing. If you recruit a stud you get all the things that come with him. If you recruit a thug you get everything that comes with him too. Own it both ways.
Soon enough, we will all see what kind of players Urban Meyer brings to Columbus. I’m as interested as the next person. Intrigued, even. Good job, Ohio State. You certainly have our attention.
For the rest of us football fans outside the Ohio State bubble, we must remember, a little competition never hurt anybody! After all, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.
In closing, I’d like to give a shout out to some scarlet and gray Bucks whom I will ALWAYS cheer for (just to clarify, these Bucks are the kind with antlers). My high school, Buckeye Central, will play for a state championship this weekend!! GO GET ‘EM BOYS!! 🙂