Ohio State Football: Why Urban Meyer Will Struggle to Reach Nick Saban's Level

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IMarch 1, 2013

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 06:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide congratulates head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators after the Gators 31-20 win in the SEC Championship on December 6, 2008 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are arguably the two best college football coaches of the 21st century, though Saban has been on another level as of late. It will take time for Meyer to reach that level at Ohio State.

Meyer took a year after resigning from Florida before moving north to Ohio State, where he quickly took the Buckeyes to a 12-0 season in 2012.

Saban won his third national championship in four years with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2012, his first coming after beating Meyer and the Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship Game.

Saban got the better of Meyer the last two times their respective teams met, and the former has gone on to rule the college football world by a convincing margin.

Meyer, on the other hand, has been trying to lay the groundwork to do at Ohio State what Saban has accomplished at Alabama. It's going well so far as OSU's 12-0 season demonstrated.

The craziest part to comprehend about the Buckeyes' perfect season in 2012 is that the team will only get better if Meyer continues to recruit at the same level he did at Florida before he resigned.

He's got a ways to go, though, because Saban has been recruiting at a level that even Pete Carroll couldn't match in the mid-2000s. But Meyer is getting there, based on the grade of the prospects he has brought in so far.

It'll take some time for those players to develop and flourish at the college level, which means it'll still be awhile before we truly know how good a recruiting job he did.

The Buckeyes are a young team with plenty of questions on its roster, especially on the defensive side of the football.

They haven't had the experience through their two-deep in postseason play quite like the Tide have, mostly because OSU was banned from last year's postseason.

Those things will be fixed in time, and the Buckeyes are in an excellent situation to become the next Alabama. They're in a weak Big Ten conference with only a small amount of legitimate challengers that can derail a great season, and Ohio has an outstanding base of natural football talent.

The elements are all there for a Saban-esque run for Meyer in Columbus. All that it needs, like a forest or field of crops, is some time to grow.

While the two teams are among the favorites to play for a national title next January in Pasadena, it's pretty obvious that, at this moment, the Crimson Tide are the powerhouse in football. The Buckeyes are one of the teams like Oregon and Texas A&M that are knocking on the door.

But Meyer is the only coach among them that has the proven track record to challenge Saban's Tide and possibly knock them off their throne. He's just not there yet.


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