A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for FOXSports.com about possible replacements for Charlie Weis if he resigned or was terminated from Notre Dame. Urban Meyer was at the top of my list—he had the best odds.
Gators fans ripped me and called me "clueless." Meyer would not leave Gainesville for South Bend. Florida is his dream job, so why would he ever leave sunshine for snow? Blah, blah, blah.
Flash forward to this week. On Wednesday, Meyer told a Florida radio show that Notre Dame is "still my dream job; that hasn't changed."
Uh, huh. I thought so.
Some things are so obvious, they will never change. Here comes the proverbial "I told you so." Gators fans are in complete denial about their coach.
When everything is said and done in 50 years, Meyer will not be remembered for what he has accomplished at Gainesville.
Like it or not, this is fact. Florida has only recently become a football force after a long hibernation from gridiron greatness. Quick, tell me who was the Notre Dame coach was in the 70s? Or Ohio State's in the 60s? Easy, huh?
Now tell me Florida's coach.
You cannot deny the obvious—some football programs have such a storied past, that their coaches are remembered 50 years later. They are immortalized. Notre Dame has that power. Michigan has that power. Oklahoma, USC, Nebraska, and Alabama have that power.
Florida does not. At least not yet.
Eight conference championships and two national championships—the first being in 1996, the second in 2006—do not a dynasty in college football make. It's trendy. The Gators are new to all of this. Ten years do not compare to 90 years. It's not even close, folks.
Notre Dame has won a national championship in every decade, except the 50s and 90s—1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, and 1988.
Winning a national championship at Notre Dame guarantees a coach eternal greatness and a probable throne behind the Pearly Gates. Notre Dame, whether you admit it or not, whether you're in denial or not, is the most powerful football program in the country.
Meyer knows that. NBC knows that. The bowls know that. God knows that.
So will he leave?
"Meyer is working on a second national title with a quarterback who is running a second Heisman Trophy campaign," according to the Orlando Sentinel. "Meyer said he was already 'in the 11th hour' with Florida when Notre Dame called."
Wait a minute: "when Notre Dame called?"
Did Notre Dame put out some "feelers" to Meyer after the Fighting Irish's loss to USC? (Note: This author believes they did, but Meyer didn't want to entertain them while prepping for the SEC Championship Game.) It reads that way. And it makes sense. That one-week period after the USC loss was quiet. Too quiet.
When Fighting Irish AD Jack Swarbrick finally confirmed that Weis would be the coach, everyone assumed it was over. "He, I, and the others involved in leading our football program are committed to doing everything necessary to ensure a successful 2009 season," Swarbrick said. "We are examining every aspect of the program and will make changes wherever we think they are needed."
OK...that's a little muddled, but it leaves an out—"make changes wherever we think they are needed."
But here's the thing—what if Meyer, after the Jan. 8 BCS championship game, decides he is done? If he wins the title, and Tebow bails, Meyer is going to have to start from scratch.
Notre Dame, however, is a different story: a roster filled with juniors and seniors and a perfect quarterback to run Meyer's beloved spread in incoming freshman Dayne Crist. Buh-bye, Jimmy Clausen. Hello, Dayne Crist.
Would this not be the perfect time for Meyer to take over the reigns? Wouldn't the timing be perfect?
Weis is running around recruiting while Meyer is getting ready for the Oklahoma Sooners. If no one says anything, then everything is status quo and no player goes mental with the prospect of losing their coach.
After the bowl games, Weis is let go, and Meyer takes over. It's perfect.
Meyer will have accomplished everything he could have ever wished for at Florida, and Notre Dame, his dream job, would be there plump full of recruits who are just dying to be coached-up.
Do you think Swarbrick would say "no" to Meyer if he called up and said, "I'm yours?"
Do you think he'll say "no" to a coach who is 2-0 in BCS Bowls (and has possibly two NCs by next month)?
Could it be that Meyer is dropping hints about where his deep love is? Dropping hints that this is it—after this BCS bowl, don't hate me if I bail because ND is my dream job?
Setup? Laying down the foundation? Avoiding a "Saban" by letting folks know that he will eventually want to coach at Notre Dame, so get used to the idea, Gator fans?
Count on it.
*Special thanks to the Orlando Sentinel's Dec. 12 article by Jeremy Fowler.