When Jim Tressel was forced to resign as head football coach at Ohio State University earlier this year amid a bevy of allegations, the coaching carousel rumor mill immediately started turning.
Ohio State is one of the premier programs in the nation, and whoever replaced Tressel was going to inherit a roster loaded with NFL talent (even with the departure of Terrell Pryor).
Enter, Luke Fickell.
Fickell has been a member of the Buckeye staff off and on since he was hired by former Ohio State head man Jon Cooper as a graduate assistant in 1999, reaching the level of defensive coordinator in 2005.
While Fickell provides the program with stability and a familiar face during an otherwise tumultuous time, he isn’t the big-name, ultra-successful super coach that many in Buckeye Nation had hoped for.
Before Tressel could even finish cleaning out his office at Buckeye Stadium, the calls from Columbus for Urban Meyer could be heard nationwide.
Star power notwithstanding, is Meyer the best choice to lead the Buckeyes through the post-sweater vest era?
Tressel’s replacement, Fickell, has been solid early on.
The Buckeyes haven’t blown Akron or Toledo out of the water on their way to a 2-0 start, but nobody would have been surprised to see the Scarlet and Grey slip up after what they went through this offseason.
Does Luke Fickell deserve a legitimate shot at Ohio State?
If coach Fickell is just temporary filler for the Buckeyes, are there better options than the greatest Gators coach since Steve Spurrier?
In the Big Ten alone, some would argue that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald or Wisconsin field general Bret Bielema would be better suited to lead Ohio State.
Both are young, up-and-coming coaches with track records of success in environments that are much tougher to recruit in than the paradise that is Gainesville.
And what about Bob Stoops, Nick Saban, Les Miles and Pete Carroll?
While it’s doubtful that any of them would leave their current posts, all four have been more successful than Meyer when looking at their entire bodies of work, and Urban isn’t likely to immediately bolt the broadcast booth for Columbus, either.
After a solid career at Bowling Green and Utah, Meyer had a few great years with Florida, and he was blessed with one of the greatest college football players of all time in Tim Tebow.
However, three or four great seasons with a talent-laden roster does not make a legend.
Fickell, with his background, age and philosophy is as good a choice as any for Ohio State, and he deserves a chance to return the Buckeyes to glory.