From almost the moment Urban F. Meyer was introduced as the head coach in Columbus, OSU fans have had dreams of multiple B1G and National Championships running through their head.
The reaction has been, at least for me, almost comical. It's not that I don't think Meyer was a fantastic hire, nor do I think he'll fail as the head coach. I think he'll be very successful.
But what will be the definition of successful for Urban Meyer at OSU?
If it's recruiting, he's already an unqualified success. From 2002-2010, Jim Tressel's recruiting was very good, averaging 11th in the country using the Scout.com rankings, to include the #1 overall class in 2009. His lowest was 25th. Meyer, a recruiting legend, pulled OSU's 2011 recruiting class from the mid 20's into the top 5 in just around three months on the job, and early 2013 ranking have him pulling in another top 4 class.
Both were/are very good, but their methods couldn't be different. Tressel was a believer in locking down Ohio's top prospects, and then seeing what else he might be out there. With a recruiting base like Ohio, that was a good strategy, as we've already seen.
Meyer is a lot different. He wants the best players at each position, regardless of where they might live, and if the best player in Ohio isn't the best player at that particular position of need, it's no longer a given he will get an offer from OSU.
Under Tressel, if a kid didn't really express an interest in the Buckeyes, Tressel and the staff would wish him well and move along. Under Meyer, he'll MAKE a kid take an interest in OSU, and keep at it until he persuades him to go to OSU or he signs an LOI with another school.
So I'd say Meyer has met, if not exceeded Tressel, at least early on in the recruiting game. And that's all well and good, but he still has yet to coach a game.
So what will the measure of success be? 9-1 in The Game? More than one national title? 6 or more B1G titles? 8 BCS games?
What if Meyer falls short? Of all the accomplishments in Tressel's on-field resume, to me the most impressive one was the 9-1 record against Michigan, and I think that will be the toughest to duplicate. And without that record against Michigan, it will be impossible to get to BCS and national title games.
Tressel hit The Game at just the right time. Lloyd Carr seemed to grow tired as the Michigan coach, and in other than the 2001 game, OSU had the better team every year. He was given a gift with the RichRod years, and was able to beat Michigan with one hand tied behind his back. He was able to take advantage of favorable circumstances against the arch rival and parlay that into 5-3 record in BCS games, three national title appearances, and one memorable BCS National Championship.
Meyer doesn't have that set of circumstances. Brady Hoke has assembled a very good coaching staff, and has been every bit the recruiter Meyer has so far. He turned around a terrible Michigan defense and has them playing near the top of where they have historically been.
Now, do I think Meyer is a better coach than Hoke? Yes. Do I think Meyer will win more games than against Hoke? Yes. But to think he can match 9-1 just seems far fetched.
And without the 9-1, the BCS games don't follow, because a loss to Michigan will likely knock OSU out of the BCS...or whatever the hell this convoluted playoff abomination is going to be. Knocked out of the BCS/playoiffs means that there's no chance to get to a championship, and no championship means fans in C-bus might start to grumble.
Okay, that's the worst case scenario.
What's the best case?
Well, it's one not even Jim Tressel could've thought to strive for when he became coach, because the format didn't even exist. Because when Tressel was the coach, there were no divisions, and there was no conference championship game. But now that there is, Meyer will have an opportunity to not only knock off Michigan...but to do it in consecutive weeks.
Tell me that wouldn't be the best thing in the history of the goddamn world.
Imagine going to Ann Arbor and beating Michigan, who had already clinched the Legends Division and punched their ticket to Indianapolis...or Minneapolis, because the Minnesota Vikings are getting a new stadium, woo hoo!
Ahem, sorry. I'll try very hard to not cross blog streams. Still riding high on that, though.
So, imagine beating them like a drum one week, then thumping them the next week in the Conference Championship game. They punch a ticket to the playoffs, Michigan goes to the Gator Bowl, and we drink the bitter tears of Michigan fan.
Now, could that scenario happen to us at the hands of...them?
It's gonna be great either way, isn't it?