Big Ten Breakdown 2012: Ohio State Buckeyes, Part 1, Overview

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Big Ten Breakdown 2012: Ohio State Buckeyes, Part 1, Overview
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Team Overview

Between 2001-2009—Jim Tressel's tenure at Ohio State, minus the forfeited 2010 season—the Buckeyes went 94-21.

That marks the most successful nine-year stretch of the fifth-winningest (FBS) college football program in history.

Then Tatoo-gate happened (via The Toledo Free Press), Jim Tressel was forced to step down, the Buckeyes faced a number of sanctions—some self-imposed, some imposed by the NCAA—and the team topped it off with their worst season since 1999.

This year, the Buckeyes will continue to face the NCAA's sanctions—including a bowl ban—but they have a new coach in Urban Meyer.

Given Meyer's track record, as detailed below, two questions come to mind. Firstly, how successful will the Bucks be under Meyer, and secondly, how long will Meyer stick around Columbus?

At this point, both questions are impossible to answer. Nonetheless, if one considers former Buckeye quarterback and current ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit's opinions worthwhile (via deadspin.com), "Ohio State hits the ground running with the talent they already have and then with the coaches they have coming in."

Needless to say, it will take a lot to come close to Jim Tressel's accomplishments, and if anybody can do it, it is Urban Meyer.

 

Team Breakdown

***Ohio State forfeited the 12-1 2010 season due to NCAA sanctions. Hence, "last five seasons" below refers to 2007-2009 and 2011***

2011 Record: 6-7

2011 Conference Record: 3-5

2011 Home/Away/Neutral Record: 5-2/1-4/0-1

2011 Record vs. Ranked Teams: 1-3

Record Last Five Seasons: 38-14 (15th-winningest FBS program over that period of time)

Conference Record Last Five Seasons: 24-8

Home/Away/Neutral Record Last Five Seasons: 23-5/13-6/2-3

Record vs. Ranked Teams Last Five Seasons: 8-9

Best Record Last Five Seasons: 11-2 (2007 and 2009)

Worst Record Last Five Seasons: 6-7 (2011)

Number of Coaches Last 10 Seasons: Three (includes one interim coach)

 

Coach Overview

Urban Meyer was born in Toledo, Ohio.

He played defensive back at the University of Cincinnati, after which he became the defensive backs coach at St. Xavier High School in Ohio.

Between 1986-2000, he worked at a series of collegiate assistant coaching jobs, including tight ends and wide receivers at Ohio State, outside linebackers and then quarterbacks and wide receivers at Illinois State, wide receivers at Colorado State and wide receivers at Notre Dame.

During that time, he worked under Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Bob Davie and Sonny Lubick, among others.

In 2001, he became the head coach of the Bowling Green Falcons, a program that had posted five straight losing seasons.

In his first season, Meyer went 8-3, followed by 9-3 in 2002.

In 2003, he moved on to the University of Utah.

The Utes, while moderately successful as a football program, took a decided backseat to BYU within the Beehive State. In the program's 111-year history, it had only one double-digit win season—1994.

However, in Meyer's two years in Salt Lake City, his Utes went 22-2, becoming the first non-AQ team to receive an invitation to a BCS bowl game. Utah won the Fiesta Bowl over the Pittsburgh Panthers.

After that, he went to Florida. In six seasons, he won two BCS National Championships, three SEC East titles and went to three BCS bowls.

In 2009, following the SEC Championship Game, Meyer announced he had a heart condition that would force him to step down as the Gator head coach (via ESPN).

Four days later, his retirement turned into a leave of absence (per ESPN), and he returned to the team at the beginning of 2010 spring practices (via Sports Illustrated).

His return, however, was short-lived, as he again "retired" at the end of an 8-5 2010 campaign—record-wise, the worst campaign of his head-coaching career.

Originally, per The Gainesville Sun, Meyer cited "'focus on family and my other interests away from the sidelines,'" as his reason for stepping down. However, later reports, via NBCSports.com, indicated that health concerns were his primary issue.

Less than 365 days later, ESPN reported that Meyer had taken the head coaching job at Ohio State.

It is unclear as to whether he got tired of spending time with his "family and other interests," a miracle cure was invented for his heart issue or he decided to throw caution to the wind, and, as the incomparable Iron Maiden once said, if he was gonna die, he was gonna die with his boots on.

Either way, this resulted in a lot of upset Florida fans—such as Greg Stoda of The Palm Beach Post—and a lot of excited Ohio State fans.

With 10 years as a head coach in his back pocket, Meyer has been at the helm of three teams (3.33 years/per program), compiled a 104-23 record, qualified for 10 bowls (including four BCS bowls) and won four conference championships (two Mountain West championships and two SEC championships).

It is impossible to say how long Meyer will stay in Columbus, as a gastrointestinal ailment or Easter egg hunt may pop up any day, but while he is there, it is highly likely he will bring home more than a few winners.

 

Coming next Wednesday, an overview and breakdown of Ohio State's offense.

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