As soon as news broke that Jim Tressel would step down as Ohio State's football coach, the college football world turned to one name: Urban Meyer.
Though Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets volleyball star Nicki Meyer had already shot down rampant speculation of her father, a fella named Urban Meyer, taking over for Jim Tressel as Ohio St. Buckeyes head coach, those rumors are only going to keep getting bigger now that Tressel has stepped down from tOSU.
Should Meyer be considered a potential candidate, though, or is this all just matchmaking? If it's just about lining up biographical points, it's about a strong a match as you'll find. Meyer's first coaching jobs were at Ohio State. He was born in Toledo and played at Cincinnati. He didn't take a job outside the midwest until 1990, returning in 1996 to coach at Notre Dame and then land his first head coaching opportunity at Ohio's Bowling Green.
Whether he'd want the Buckeyes job is secondary to whether he wants to return to the grind, though. Especially with another couple of games against the Georgia Bulldogs on the horiz- OK, let's just move on.
It was widely assumed when Meyer stepped down from the Florida Gators that he'd return to coach college football again. He popped up as an ESPN analyst shortly after it really sunk in that he'd left the sidelines. Yes, with his ties to the region, he should be considered target No. 1 for the Buckeyes, as Spencer Hall writes. Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors lists Meyer's name first among those likely to be rumored candidates, and he of course showed up several times in the initial discussion hosted by SB Nation's Along The Olentangy. USA Today's Campus Rivalry blog was among the national outlets also naming Meyer first, after interim Luke Fickell of course.
Even Vegas agrees with Meyer as the front-runner.
Only Meyer knows what really motivates Meyer. He's vaulted his way through coaching ranks, turning every team he's led into a success. He's also twice stepped down as Florida's coach. He's cited his health, his family and his time, while insisting part of his heart still remains in the Swamp, even offering to help Will Muschamp with the 2011 recruiting class. Yet Ohio State was among a trio of programs his Florida contract allowed him to leave Gainesville for. See what you can make of all that surface-scratching.
He's never appeared happier than after his
final most recent game on the sidelines, a bowl victory over Joe Paterno's Penn State. Meyer and Paterno call each other friends, so there's another tie to the Big Ten, but, as was noted by everyone with a keyboard, have had opposite coaching careers. Paterno is the exception that proves very, very few men can last long enough in one coaching job to become a decades-strong institution, especially at the highest level. Ohio State and Texas offer the nation's only positions that come with as much pressure as the top three or four SEC gigs, one of which Meyer has, as we've said, already left twice.
Would a man who literally almost gave his life to college football accept a job that could be even more demanding than the one he left at Florida? Especially once the NCAA gets done with Ohio State for its multiple ongoing scandals. We saw what the governing body left of USC -- wouldn't everybody prefer to see Lane Kiffin have to clean up the mess in Columbus?