Once all the smoke clears and Ohio State knows its punishment, it is clear that it will be looking for a new coach. It will parade its administration up front to let the media know that this coaching search will be open to all candidates and that Ohio State will be taking its time to find the right coach to lead Ohio State football.
Does anyone believe this? Neither do I.
The name at the top of the Buckeyes' list, and rightfully so, is Urban Meyer. In a matter of one decade, Meyer has catapulted himself into the debate about greatest college football coaches of this generation.
He went from a relatively unknown first-year head coach at Bowling Green to the express lane to Utah and then eventually Florida, culminating in two national championships in six years at the Gators' helm. There are fantastic head coaches (Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops) who have yet to win their second national championship in their coaching careers.
It makes sense that Ohio State hires Urban Meyer, and Meyer should take the job. The following list outlines why it is in Meyer's best interest to take the OSU job once it is offered, because we know it will be offered.
Meyer and his wife, Shelley
One of the reasons Meyer stepped away from the Florida position is that it took too much time away from his family. Any coach's wife will tell you that there are long hours involved when married to a Division I football coach. Remember, Meyer briefly stepped away two years ago as Florida's coach.
However, Meyer has now made a name for himself across the country with recruits. The long days recruiting and being away from home would not be as necessary for Meyer. He was still trying to prove himself in his early days at Florida. It is amazing what a couple of national championships will do for a coach's reputation.
Meyer can allow his assistants to tirelessly recruit and scour the country for the best possible athletes, and then at the appropriate time Meyer can visit and "seal the deal." This pattern worked extremely well for Bobby Bowden at Florida State his last 10 years there. Meyer will be able to rely on good assistants to put in the hours while he stays closer to home in the fertile recruiting areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Flash back to the national championship in January of 2007. Most analysts felt that Ohio State had too much talent for Florida to compete with it. Many predicted the second BCS championship for Jim Tressel and Oho State.
Once Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, most fans figured this would be the beginning of an onslaught of Big Ten football versus SEC football.
Then something happened. Florida turned its players loose, and Ohio State did not have an answer. It was clear that night that, aside from the opening kickoff, Florida was faster than Ohio State. While the Gators spent much of the night running free in space, Ohio State was exhausting itself trying to keep up.
One of Meyer's greatest strengths as a coach is exploiting mismatches and getting the ball in the hands of the dynamic players. Meyer can change the culture of football in the Big Ten once he has the players he needs to run the spread offense. However, if he does not have the players, he will still find a way to win football games. There is no reason that the 2006 Florida team should have gone 13-1 with the players it had, but Meyer found a way to win.
The Big Ten will realize that it needs to change the way the game is played if Meyer continues the success he has had with the spread offense.
Urban Meyer is from Ohio. He played football at Cincinnati, which is in Ohio. He began his coaching career at Ohio State. He knows everything there is to know about the state as it relates to football.
When you have coached in the SEC, you understand the rigors and demands necessary to maintain a high level of success. None of this would scare Meyer away from being at Ohio State, which has been at the top of the Big Ten for the better part of 10 years.
In his book Urban's Way a few years ago, Meyer said that the Ohio State job would be his decision and that his wife does not have "veto power" over that job. That says something when you hold a school that close that you would make the final decision on taking the job without allowing your family to suggest otherwise. Meyer loves Ohio State, and soon, Ohio State will love Meyer.
There was something missing from the 2010 Florida Gators. Some critics would say that Meyer's decision months earlier to step down and take a leave of absence but then come back hurt the continuity of the program. Others said that the offense performed far below expectations.
Regardless of the problems, Meyer knows that the 2010 team was not a reflection of him, and he wants to coach again to distance himself from that memory. Meyer, his coaches and the team never seemed to be in sync all year, and it resulted in a season that most Gators fans would rather forget.
This is a great way for Meyer to start rebuilding his coaching legacy and be one of the few coaches to have extended success at two different schools.
Running the gauntlet in the SEC takes its toll on SEC coaches. Meyer acknowledged how difficult the SEC schedule is week in and week out. There is a reason why most fans and analysts generally agree that the SEC is the best football conference in the country.
Looking at the slate of Big Ten teams, Meyer can continue to pad his legacy. Northwestern, Minnesota and Illinois do not strike fear in coaches like Alabama, LSU or Florida. The demands on his time, both personal and professional, would be a lot less, and Meyer would be able to give more of himself to all parties involved. A rejuvenated Meyer means a rejuvenated Ohio State.
Meyer can help Ohio State through this turmoil while continuing to win the big games and secure his spot as one of the all-time great coaches in college football history.