Why Urban will go to Ohio State — or not

Some people are absolutely convinced to this day that there is a Buckeye conspiracy underfoot, that the plan all along has been to spirit Urban Meyer away from the Florida Gators. That he has been stashed away in Columbus in hiding.

Which means that ESPN, Ohio State, Meyer and the evil forces in Columbus have all conspired to make this happen. These are the people who also believe that the mob set up Jim Tressel, or that he is about to be abducted by aliens.

Admittedly, there is almost a sci-fi flavor to this Greek tragedy that has befallen The Ohio State University, which has taken bizarre twists and turns lately. Turns out that the Senator has no clothes. It’s true that if Meyer ever wanted a crack at one of his three favorite jobs, it looks like he will.

That makes Urban a different kind of “coach in waiting.” The way things have transpired, the planets couldn’t have lined up any better for Meyer should he decide to become the next Buckeye coach in 2012.

Right off, some Gator fans would be ticked at Meyer should he return to coaching, simply because of what they heard him say about wanting to spend more time with his family, plus the health issues that caused him to resign the first time as Florida coach.

But should he? Would he? Could he?

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Five reasons why Urban Meyer won’t take the job at Ohio State:

1. The Buckeyes have a coach, Luke Fickell, interim though he may be, with about as much a chance to become full-time as Donald Trump does president. But the job isn’t open — yet.

2. Urban is 46 years old and if the Buckeyes get a USC-like penalty, he won’t have time to rebuild the program.

3. If key things about the position because an issue — such as the assistant coaches salaries, which in the Big Ten don’t match the level of the SEC.

4. Shelley hates cold weather.

5. What if Meyer loves TV and ESPN loves him?

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It appears that the Sports Illustrated story has blown the doors off of the Tressel scandal. Tat-Gate has become Tressel-Gate. And we don’t even know yet how far the tentacles reach — deeper, it seems, everyday. By the time the investigation ends and the NCAA sanctions come to roost in August, Ohio State could be USC of the Big Ten.

Notice the timing of the forced resignation: Just after the harsh penalties came down on Southern Cal following the NCAA’s decision to deny the Trojans’ appeal. It wasn’t so much USC’s ineligibility for post-season, which it began serving a year ago, as it was the loss of 30 scholarships over the next three seasons.

Yet the most compelling part of this Greek Tragedy is how so many people could have been so wrong about the ethical character of beloved Jim Tressel, whose soul is on trial here as well as his coaching legacy. He may get burned at the stake for reasons of his own doing — including perjury before the highest court of college athletics in the land.

Coaches don’t lie to the NCAA and live to tell about it.

* * *

There is still much ado about much in Columbus. And tons of questions:

— Has Ohio State done enough to be spared a dastardly fate by the NCAA ruling?

— Is appointing a member of Tressel’s staff as interim coach akin to leaving the fox to guard the hen house?

— How could Terrelle Pryor not leave now that he has thumbed his nose at the NCAA by driving up Monday night in a new car with dealer plates on it? Can you say NFL supplemental draft?

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Five reasons why Urban would take the Ohio State job if offered:

1. Coaches coach, just as writers write and teacher teach. He’s a coach who wants to coach again.

2. He’s got a photo of Woody Hayes hanging in his house and began his college coaching career there as a grad assistant.

3. He’s an Ohioan. He may have been bleeding orange and blue for the past six years, but originally he bled scarlet and gray.

4. Although Meyer is committed to ESPN for at least a year, why shouldn’t he pursue it if one of the best jobs in college football happens to pop open — at school where he began his college coaching career?

5. Timing is everything. Ohio State being one of the most coveted jobs in the business. It’s not going to be open two years from now.

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The people I’ve been talking to over the weekend have mixed emotions about Urban Meyer possibly going to Columbus. Some of them get downright mad talking about it.

I say the guy did his job here, stepped aside because he thought he had failing health, found out that his problem wasn’t life-threatening, came back to preserve his program and his coaching staff and never could get the team’s mojo working again. I say he did the job he was paid to do — and did it well.

In the end, do I think he’ll take it if Ohio State isn’t hit hard with sanctions?

In a single world: Yes.