How 2013 Big Ten Championship Loss Impacts Urban Meyer's Legacy

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How 2013 Big Ten Championship Loss Impacts Urban Meyer's Legacy
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Urban Meyer is a winner, plain and simple. He's won two national championships, four conference crowns, five division titles and is 7-1 in bowl games as a head coach.

However, after Ohio State's 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game Saturday, Meyer has lost two straight conference championship games.

Could it be that Meyer has lost his championship touch?

Meyer's coaching record stands at 128-24, and he's never had a season below .500 in his career.

It's not as if Meyer doesn't know how to win football games, but one can quickly turn a stellar reputation into a questionable future by losing big games.

The Buckeyes program brought Meyer in to win something that's eluded them since 2002—a national championship.

His 2013 Ohio State team was just one quarter away from reaching the national title game, but it couldn't close the deal.

That's unlike Meyer, and it weighed on him in his address to the media following the loss to Michigan State.

"You know, it's going to haunt all of us I imagine for a little while, but that's part of the game," said Meyer.

What will be really telling is how this team bounces back from losing for the first time since a defeat to Florida on January 2, 2012.

It's something even the players recognize as important to the future.

“I mean, our character is going to show," said Ohio State offensive lineman Corey Linsley. "Personally, I think we’re going to do all right. Our only option left is to have a lot of fun working our butts off to win whatever game we get. It will show our true character."

Speaking of character, Urban Meyer has been accused of being about winning football games at all costs—off-field issues and discipline be damned.

That narrative came back this week when Meyer and the athletic department didn't officially suspend offensive lineman Marcus Hall after his double middle finger salute on his way out of the Big House last weekend.

However, Hall did not see the field for a single play on Saturday despite not being "officially" suspended. 

"Disappointed with his actions," said Meyer in explaining why Hall didn't end up playing. "The good thing is, that's not who he is at all. Repeat offender, done some stupid things in the past, he hasn't.

"I just felt it wasn't right to play him." 

Urban Meyer's legacy won't swing one way or the other based on just one game or doing the right thing one time, but a pattern is emerging, and winning Ohio State's likely BCS bowl game would certainly quiet the critics for a bit.

It could also serve as a catalyst to lift this team to even greater heights in the future.

Ultimately, anything short of getting to a national title game—and winning—will be seen as a failure for Meyer and the Buckeyes under his watch.

 

*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. You can follow Andy on Twitter: @ andycoppens. 

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