ESPN — Urban Meyer’s employer for the last few months — is reporting today that the ex-Florida coach has indeed been hired as head coach at Ohio State. Forget the talk of family and health, Meyer is heading back to the sideline and he’s going to do so at a program that’s about to be bombed by the NCAA. (OSU has already sacrificed 5 scholarships over the next three years as a self-induced, “please don’t hit us anymore” penalty. It’s likely the NCAA will take away several more scholarships.)
We finally went with the “done deal” view on Meyer-to-OSU when The Columbus Dispatch reported the matter closed last week. The reason: Yours truly once worked for The Dispatch Broadcast Group and having lived in Columbus, I know there are three mega-boosters of the Buckeye program: the Wexners, the McConnells, and the Wolfes. The Wolfes own The Columbus Dispatch. If the Dispatch reported Meyer was all but hired by OSU, then you can bet the paper’s source was one of three folks in Columbus who knew for sure. Thus, we bought that paper’s story immediately.
Meyer had denied a deal with OSU for more than a week. But anyone familiar with coaching searches knew that the coach’s claims that no deal was in place and that he hadn’t interviewed were likely a matter of semantics only. Is a lunch an interview or just a lunch? Depends on the person telling the story.
At 6-6 following a loss to Michigan, OSU is expected to fall no lower than the Gator Bowl in the Big Ten’s bowl pecking order this holiday season. Guess who’s expected to land in the Gator Bowl from the SEC’s side of things? Yep, Florida.
WKMG-TV in Orlando reported last week that Meyer was planning to take UF’s current linebacker coach DJ Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marrotti to Columbus with him in new roles. So the love in Gainesville for Meyer already might be dimming just a bit. If the ex-Gator coach takes over OSU and coaches against Florida in a bowl game, you can bet Meyer’s popularity in the Sunshine State will take another hit.
Will Muschamp — the man who led Florida to a 6-6 record with Meyer’s leftovers this year — said, “It’s good for college football” that the ex-coach is dropping the “ex.” “If it’s what Urban wants, I’m happy for him.”
And if Meyer and OSU whip Muschamp and Florida in the Gator Bowl, just how happy do you think he and Gator Nation will be?