Allow me to preface the following by stating I am no hater of Urban Meyer.
I have no ill will built towards Florida’s former leader, who recently traded in his orange and blue Nike pullover for one of the scarlet and gray variety.
However, I could not help but chuckle heartily upon reading a recent Orlando Sentinel column suggesting that Urban and his Buckeyes pose the biggest threat to the Southeastern Conference.
Talk about jumping the gun.
I guess now would be an appropriate time to throw out a disclaimer that I fully expect the Buckeyes to actually make the national championship this year and/or next. I mean goodness, did you see the Big Ten last season?
But since when did beating only a handful of teams with barely any semblance of a pulse correlate into a budding dynasty on the national level?
Going 12-0 is certainly nice. No matter the conference, in this day and age of collegiate football, an unblemished record is something to be cherished.
But for the Buckeyes to already be trumpeted as college football’s heir to the throne with consecutive top-5 recruiting classes and the fortune of an unbelievably manageable schedule to show for it is borderline ridiculous.
According to the article, Meyer is on pace to knock his old conference off its lofty perch mainly due to his ability to bring in players which fit his “SEC system” — a system built on speed and athleticism.
Personally, I was unaware there was such a specific system in place, as I naïvely believed every coach in America was aiming to bring in recruits who were fast and athletically inclined.
Perhaps I was wrong.
But even if such archaic stragglers exist in college football, the truth is, the Leaders and Legends have tried to implement the “SEC system” for quite some time.
One look at Wisconsin’s roster shows almost a dozen players from the state of Florida. During Rich Rodriguez’s star-crossed tenure at Michigan, he made waves when he implemented his own version of the spread, handpicking Florida-bred quarterback Denard Robinson to run the offense.
Meyer hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel in Big Ten country.
The hoopla surrounding the OSU program is easy to understand if the predictions are based on the Buckeyes simply being far better off than their conference cohorts.
But it’s too soon to say that Ohio State or anyone from the Big Ten is capable of beating the SEC’s best should they meet up in the national championship.
The article’s suggestion that the Big Ten is a conference known for “bulk and brawn” was not incorrect. That has long been the stigma associated with the assemblage of midwestern universities.
But the conference’s schtick soon became an object of ridicule following a series of bowl disappointments highlighted by ironically, Florida’s 41-14 thrashing of OSU in the 2007 BCS National Championship game.
Ohio State is certainly the conference’s best hope at anything resembling a championship this year and the years to come. However, the Buckeyes still have glaring holes, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
OSU has the luxury of another impending weak schedule, but if they talk about your schedule more than your team, is your team really that good?
Meyer’s prowess on the recruiting trail coupled with his knowledge of the fertile recruiting base that is the south is undoubtedly a huge asset to his own program. And the Buckeyes will surely be in a prime position to ravage a weak Big Ten conference for many years to come.
But let’s put the national championship talk to the side for now. The Buckeyes may have the easiest path of anyone to get to the game, but winning it is a completely different deal.
Meyer recently challenged his fellow conference-mates to up their own recruiting game, after National Signing Day revealed only three Big Ten schools in the top 25, while the SEC landed 11 on the same list.
Of Meyer’s challenge, the Sentinel article said: “ … the Big Ten must change or risk being left behind and Meyer knows it.”
However, change is not likely to come quickly, and Meyer’s team along with the conference will lag behind the SEC in the meantime.
For now, Meyer and his team will be the big bully on the block who will venture into the real world, unaware of how woefully unprepared they are for what awaits them (sorry Notre Dame fans).
If the country’s hopes on killing college football’s conference kingpin rest on the Buckeyes’ shoulders … it could be waiting for a while.