Why Urban Meyer Was the Best College Football Hire of the Last Five Years

Carl StineCorrespondent IApril 30, 2013

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates with his players after beating the Michigan State Spartans 17-16 at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There are good decisions, such as buying a new car rather than used, betting on an SEC team to win the national title and recycling.

Then there are great decisions, such as the one Ohio State made when the program tabbed Urban Meyer as the Buckeye's 24th head football coach.

Good call, OSU.

Meyer, the coaching genius that led Florida to two national titles, was not only a great hire for the Buckeyes but also the best head coaching hire of the past half decade.

After two seasons at Utah, Meyer arrived at Florida just in time to lead the renaissance of SEC football and begin the current string of consecutive titles that conference has enjoyed.

He got the ball rolling in 2006, with the Gators destruction of Ohio State, 41-14 in the title game that season, and appears ready to continue that winning tradition with a perfect 12-0 season at Ohio State in 2012.

Chip Kelly, Brian Kelly, Kevin Sumlin and Brady Hoke could all be part of this discussion, but Meyer is clearly the best.

His winning percentage as a head coach is an absolutely unreal, .834. He's won two national titles, and in his first season at the helm of Ohio State, led the team to a season without a blemish.

The man has a proven record of winning, and winning the big game, and now has another elite college football program loaded with resources where he can work his magic.

While the current Florida staff are gracing us with wonderful artistic masterpieces such as this:

Meyer has moved on to Ohio State, where he demonstrated his acumen for utilizing on field talent throughout the course of the Buckeye's perfect 2012 season.

And it's not just Meyer's ability to draw up a great game plan that makes him the best, it's his seemingly innate ability to recruit at an alarming rate.

In 2005, his first season with the Gators, the team pulled in a class ranked 15th by Rivals. From 2006-2008, the Gators were top three in recruiting every season, and in 2009 he hauled in the 11th ranked class. 2010 saw the Gators back at the top of the recruiting rankings, bringing in the second ranked class in his final season with the program.

And it doesn't stop there.

Meyer left Florida following the 2011 season, and spent some time with ESPN until November of that same year, when Ohio State announced his hiring as the next head football coach.

Things immediately got interesting.

The Buckeyes pulled in the fourth rated recruiting class in 2012, and the number two class of 2013, according to Rivals.

After looking at his recruiting success, there is no other determination to come to than that Urban Meyer is one of the best in the nation at luring talent to wherever he may be.

He did it at Florida, he's done it for two years at Ohio State, and appears to be the only man who can come close to touching Nick Saban on the recruiting trail on a regular basis.

Which leads to the main reason he was not just an excellent hire by the Buckeyes, but the best—his ability to compete with the SEC.

As yet, the Buckeyes have not faced an SEC team, as Meyer's first season was spent under NCAA sanctions with no post season for the Buckeyes.

But it won't take long.

Meyer's excellent recruiting for the past two seasons, coupled with a mix of stud players such as quarterback Braxton Miller, who he inherited, are the beginnings of what Ohio State has got to hope is a program that can rival the best the south has to offer.

The years of SEC dominance are not lost on fans of the Big Ten in general, and Ohio State in particular. The opportunity to hire a man, who has stood toe-to-toe with the best the SEC has to offer and come out on top, was impossible deny.

Meyer has the recruiting chops, he's shown time and again, at Utah, Florida and Ohio State that he can prepare a team with the best coaches out there, and he's a winner.

The cycle of SEC dominance, while enjoyable for a time, is not going to last forever.

The hiring of Urban Meyer by Ohio State all but ensures that.

So while college football experts are quietly moving Ohio State up in their early pre-season polls, and pundits debate which SEC team Georgia, Alabama or Texas A&M will win the title next season, Ohio State is in possession of the one man who can shift the balance of power in college football.

Yes, the Buckeyes as a program have much to prove to be able to take their place back among college football's elite.

But the man who helped start this run of SEC dominance with a 41-14 Florida victory over Ohio State, now has the opportunity to lead the Buckeyes back to the top of the college football world, and end the cycle he initiated seven seasons ago.