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Is Notre Dame Becoming a Distraction For Urban Meyer?

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators checks the scoreboard against the Florida International University Golden Panthers, November 21, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  Florida won 62 - 3. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
James WalkerAnalyst IINovember 22, 2009

Notre Dame's loss this week against Connecticut has cranked the heat up on talks of the inevitable demise of Charlie Weis. So what else is new you may ask?

I say one thing about this situation is for certain; it is becoming a distraction for Urban Meyer.

Now that FIU has been shown the door, the Florida Gators must focus on the last game of the regular season against Florida State. It will also be the last home game of the season, and surely emotions will be in high gear as the Gator Nation says goodbye to Tim Tebow.

After FSU, there will be two games left for Urban Meyer; the SEC Championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 5 and possibly the National Championship in Pasadena come Jan, 7.

However, in order to focus in on those two extremely important games, Coach Meyer and his staff must be able to concentrate on the task at hand. With the constant talk of the Notre Dame job soon becoming available and Meyer being at the top of the list of potential replacements, it is easy to see how this could become a very huge distraction.

Or is it?

I too am a Notre Dame fan. I am Irish, Catholic, and was born in Chicago. Every kid I can remember was a Notre Dame fan before my family and I moved to South Florida. But that was the early 1970s. 

Now that we are in the 21st century, I'm not sure if Notre Dame is still the most prestigious head coaching job in college football. Yes, Notre Dame brings mystique, grandeur, history, and many fans, but is it even possible that Notre Dame is capable of being led back to the top of the college football world?

Until last season, when Notre Dame beat Hawaii and ended its bowl skid in the Hawaii Bowl, the last bowl game Notre Dame had won was against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl in 1994.

Only Coach Meyer could answer the question, but would he be interested in attempting to bring Notre Dame out of this huge abyss? He has already brought Florida back into the national spotlight after the Ron Zook fiasco, and may possibly lead the Gators to their third national championship in four years. However, the Zook experiment only lasted a few years, and he did manage to recruit very well. 

Meyer was able to leverage the talent Zook brought to Florida, and once Chris Leak graduated was he able to fully employ the spread offense. The speed necessary to run such an offense was in place; all he needed was the right QB to lead and run it.

Now let's assume that Coach Meyer took the Notre Dame gig seriously. First, would he have the athletes available to run a spread offense?

Yes, Jimmy Clausen is an excellent quarterback, but he is a traditional passing QB, and he does not have the speed or running ability to lead such an offense.  Would it become another Michigan-type scenario?

How long would it take Coach Meyer to recruit the right personnel to get his offense productive at Notre Dame?  Again, Notre Dame does not have the respect they once had with today's high school football players, and Coach Meyer knows that Florida is a more attractive option for football players in today's world. 

Just like he has done at Florida and his other prior schools, he would need players with speed to commit to Notre Dame.

Moreover, Coach Meyer would have to deal with the academic standards of Notre Dame. It is a double-edged sword for college football coaches; a necessary evil they use to please parents, but at the end of the day it can be a deal-breaker for some world-class athletes.

Finally, how would Coach Meyer handle the spotlight of Notre Dame? How would he deal with the scrutiny that comes with that job?  Sure, if he was immediately successful he would do just fine, but it is highly unlikely that Coach Meyer would be able to get Notre Dame back into the BCS in the first year or two, or even ever. 

During that period of time, would Coach Meyer tolerate the constant analysis that the fans, alumni, and press would bring every week? Would he even want to deal with it?

Until he comes out and announces his intentions, he will have to continue dealing with the Notre Dame question while preparing the Florida Gators for the next three games.  He will also have to deal with the realization that he only has Tim Tebow in his camp for three more games regardless of where he coaches.

I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I would give odds on Meyer remaining at Florida. Is it wishful thinking or daily praying on my part? 

Perhaps a little of both, but regardless, Urban Meyer knows that he is the current king of the college football world, and his kingdom resides in Gainesville.

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