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Need to Know

Meyer For Tressel… in 2012?

A brief blog post from the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi has been receiving plenty of attention from around the college sports world, not merely thanks to Bianchi’s confidence that Jim Tressel is not long for this coaching world but due to his assertion that Urban Meyer will be his immediate successor. Bianchi’s not only confident that Tressel will be replaced – he’s confident that a change is just around the corner: “I believe Urban will be coaching Ohio State when the 2012 season commences,” says Bianchi.

If anyone does know Meyer’s future intentions, it’s likely Bianchi, who covered Meyer’s tenure at Florida from its glorious start to its uneven finish. On the other hand, Bianchi is in the page-view business, to a degree, and a post tearing down Tressel – “Let’s face it, Tressel has lost all credibility and could face massive sanctions once the NCAA is done investigating his role in covering up violations by his players” – while insinuating that Meyer’s return will be sooner rather than later is sure to drum up the type of attention it has received.

Here’s the main issue with Bianchi’s argument, even if it’s not as unfounded as some might believe it to be when taken on face value. Yes, Meyer’s departure from Florida was poorly timed, but that does not mean the two-time B.C.S. title winner does not desire a future return to the sidelines.

And from where we’re currently standing, only one college job might be able to thrust Meyer out of retirement – where he’s done wonderfully as an ESPN analyst – and back into coaching: Ohio State. Where he earned his coaching stripes, the place where some had suggested his heart lies, where he can continue upon the success first built by his coaching hero, Woody Hayes, and continued by Tressel over the last decade.

So if Meyer is going anywhere by 2012, it’s Ohio State. Yeah, maybe he’d take a shot at the N.F.L. if that league comes calling; though it bears mentioning that an N.F.L. job, with a lockout in place, might come available at the same time as the spot in Columbus.

But there’s one issue with the step Bianchi takes in his argument: that Tressel will be gone by 2012. It can certainly happen; Tressel’s put himself in a sore spot with his current actions, and if he does feel under fire upon his return on Oct. 8 he might opt to retire rather than continue to face the music.

At the same time, if his Buckeyes struggle early without him in place and then scuffle upon his return there is the chance that he loses the backing of the university. Here’s the thing: I don’t see the first part, early struggles, coming to pass; I see Ohio State turning it on from Oct. 8 on; and I don’t see Gene Smith or Gordon Gee turning their backs on Tressel, not now, not after having his back all the way through these recent developments.

Does Bianchi have a valid point, even if it was made in an effort to create a conversation? Yes, he does. Is it a stretch to predict that Meyer will be back in Columbus for good in 2012? Without a question. Now, there’s no doubt that Meyer is next in line when Tressel does decide to hang up his whistle.

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  1. Brennan says:

    Correction: Urban Meyer is NOT an Ohio State alumni. He played at Cincinnati.

    Paul: Of course. Thanks for that. Fixed it above. Now reads: “Where he earned his coaching stripes” — Meyer spent his first two years in college coaching in Columbus.

  2. olorcain says:

    Bianchi doesn’t know squat. If you follow him closely you know he’s just a mouth, likes to ruffle feathers for page hits, doesn’t have any real sources, and when he’s right it’s due more to luck rather than any real information. He’s a UF alum that goes out of his way to criticize the program, just to get a rise out of the fan base, but says its out of “objectivity.”

  3. Gotham Gator says:

    The previous poster has it about right.

    Look, Meyer at Ohio State is an interesting possibility, and it leads to a lot of fun conjecture and discussion. But that’s all it is at this point. That Bianchi would make a bold prediction rather than discuss this as the curiosity it is only adds to the evidence that he’s more interested in controversy and page views than real analysis. This is too bad because Mike Bianchi can be a heck of a writer when he focuses on his craft and not how many ripples he can make by throwing stones in a pond.

    And Bianchi certainly has no particular insight into this situation. He covers the Gators, yes, but so do a lot of writers. Meyer ran a notoriously tight ship, and there are only a couple of writers who really had (or have) his ear. Bianchi is not among them.

  4. Gotham Gator says:

    Bianchi aside (and he’s not the first guy to have thought of this), Meyer at a place like Ohio State is certainly possible. It’s hard to imagine someone with that engine and love of competition remaining on the sideline indefinitely. But, the Ohio State job is not open, and it’s not clear that Meyer would want to return as early as 2012 (or at all). Also, Urban was badly burned out by the end of his time in Gainesville. Would a program like Ohio State want to take a chance on him going forward?

    Urban Meyer has always spoken very admiringly of Ohio State. It’s one of a handful of programs that you could tell hold a special place for him (Notre Dame being another). These types of places are the ones that you could imagine would pull him out of retirement, but we are a long way from that point.

  5. Ballum says:

    Don’t forget about Bo Pelini at Nebraska as a likely replacement….Bo IS an OSU alum and former team captain, is from Youngstown, and has family and prestigious life-time friends in Ohio. He bleeds OSU blood and State of Ohio blood. He would certainly get a hard look, if not harder, than Meyer.

  6. VAHuskerFan says:

    Ballum is right as he touches on what was my 1st thought when this all came to light.
    Stay away from my Bo!

  7. Huskerfan says:

    Glad to hear this rumor and I hope it is true. Really worried that the only place Bo would leave for is Ohio State. Please take Urban and leave Bo with us!

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