It was bound to happen. Someone, somewhere was going to take this whole Aaron Hernandez thing and find a way to link Urban Meyer to it. That should have been a given, once everyone who Googled Hernandez in the last few weeks remembered he went to Florida in the late 2000s. And to what I hope is no one's shock, that troll is Mike Bianchi.
Bianchi has been the subject of critique 'round these parts before, and for good reason. He's a Troll that evokes the unforgettable odor of Skip Bayless. Thankfully, Bianchi doesn't get the same platform from which to spew his opinions as Bayless, but he does write for the Orlando Paper of Record, so there's some clout (if not Klout) in having a byline there.
Until you do something like try to take a guy like Aaron Hernandez, who (allegedly) gangland-style executed an "acquaintance" and use him to tear down another guy like Urban Meyer, who "jilted" your favorite team and beat to come up to the wonderful confines of Ohio State. This is so classic a Bianchi move, I'm surprised this article wasn't published the second the indictment was read in open court.
So let's have some fun with our buddy Mike. TO THE FJM MACHINE!
Coach Urban Meyer was asked by a reporter the other day about former University of Florida player Aaron Hernandez being arrested and charged with murder.
Conveniently missing from this setup is the fact that the questions were asked at a kids football camp.
Meyer, the coach at Ohio State, offered a six-word response:
"I'm not gonna talk about that."
Of course he's not.
And right there, before we even get to the meat and potatoes of the column, Bianchi hits all of his favorites – mentioning Meyer, Ohio State and a negative opinion, while truncating a rather important part of the story. Classic.
Funny, how you can't get Meyer to shut up about coaching Tim Tebow at UF, but now he won't say a word about his experience coaching Hernandez at UF. Meyer commented the other day about Tebow perhaps playing tight end for the Patriots, but he won't comment on Hernandez being accused of murder while playing tight end for the Patriots.
...while he was at a coaching camp for children. This is an important omission because it all but exculpates Meyer from what Bianchi is trying to accuse. And, I mean, I'm willing to concede that this was likely at a standalone media session away from the campers and what not but – really?
Maybe it's because Hernandez -- just as much as Tebow -- is becoming the handcuffed, perp-walking symbol of what UF football represented during the Meyer era. Tebow and Hernandez both helped Meyer's Gators win national championships, but they have gone on to become divergently emblematic of his program.
Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, Aaron Hernandez. Put those in an article, and watch the pageviews soar.
Tebow was the wholesome choirboy; Hernandez the thuggish tough guy. Tebow is recognized as one of the sports world's greatest role models and ambassadors; Hernandez is now an accused murderer and the national poster boy for the NFL's dark, discreditable criminal underside.
This is actually a fairly true statement about both men. If Bianchi had added that Tebow couldn't hit water with a football if he was throwing out of a boat, it would be even truer.
Here's all you need to know: According to a Gainesville police report acquired by the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, when Hernandez first signed with UF as a 17-year-old freshman, he got into a bar fight and sucker punched the bouncer so hard that it busted the poor guy's ear drum. Guess who was at the bar/restaurant trying to break up the fight? That's right, none other than Tebow himself.
Wait, you're saying that college football players do bad things that are crimes? And at Florida?!? Does this happen at other schools, one wonders?
The police report did not specify whether Tebow laid hands on the bouncer's damaged ear to restore his hearing.
HURRRRRR Tebow iz Jesus jokez lulz.
The point is this: Tebow was the great deodorizer for a Meyer program that often reeked from the stench of players running afoul of the law.
That's not really true, is it? I, for one, and I'm sure the rest of my replica-jersey-and-backwards-fitted-wearing brethren all breathed hot fire on Florida for their legal troubles. Tebow was the one who didn't do it, but he was far from a "great deodorizer".
If I've written it once, I've written it a million times:
And, herein, the Mike Bianchi Method to Journalism. It'll be a class at Syracuse by 2015.
Whenever one of Urban's outlaws would get arrested for running up charges on a dead woman's credit card; or would steal a $1,500 laptop computer and then throw it out the window when police arrived; or would get shot with a Taser while trying to elude the cops; or would open up the trunk of his car and pull out an AK-47 and begin firing it into the air, the Gators could always point to Tebow bringing a smile to a dying kid's face at a cancer ward; or preaching to inmates at the local prison; or providing food and medical supplies to orphan children in the Philippines.
Tim Tebow being Tim Tebow might have helped UF's reputation in Florida, but that didn't happen anywhere else, Mike.
Make no mistake about it, Timmy Terrific wasn't just a magical quarterback who could pull out miraculous victories; he was the magic eraser who could miraculously make felonious stains disappear.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming Meyer for Hernandez being arrested for murder. That would be as asinine as blaming John McKay and Southern Cal for O.J. Simpson's ride in the back of the white Bronco. Hernandez is a grown man and responsible for his own actions.
And that's where the column should end, right?
But there is also an old saying: "If you sleep with dogs, eventually you're gonna get fleas." And, by the time Meyer left UF, his program was like a fleabag motel, infected from the shady characters he recruited and the discipline he failed to instill. The fact is, Meyer gave his players so much rope that you just knew they would eventually construct a noose and choke the life out of what he built at UF.
Look, Mike, you're not allowed to say that Meyer isn't responsible for Hernandez and then claim that he's all but responsible for the other 25+ players that were arrested while he was in Gainesville. You can't have it both ways. This is trolling at its finest, and utter bullshit in its truest form – Bianchi won't go as far as to say "Urban basically gave Hernandez the gun" but he will imply the hell out of it so that idiots like myself give him pageviews by tearing his column apart.
I got a first-hand look at Meyer's discipline the year Will Muschamp succeeded him at UF and kicked star cornerback Janoris Jenkins off the team after two marijuana arrests in a matter of weeks. Jenkins transferred to Division II North Alabama, where I went up and interviewed him a few months later.
I wonder if Jenkins' response will have any bias...
"No doubt, if Coach Meyer were still coaching, I'd still be playing for the Gators," Jenkins said. "Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win."
So, too, does Will Muschamp. All Florida did was go 11-2 last year and play in a BCS bowl without Meyer.
At Florida, Meyer was the best in the business at winning.
At all costs.
Sadly, though, Aaron Hernandez now stands alongside Tim Tebow as a symbol of his UF program.
And Mike Bianchi stands as a symbol of filling column inches with single sentence paragraphs.
At Florida, Tebow was not only a great Gator.
He was Urban Meyer's greatest fumi-Gator.
First, awful pun. Second, Mike Bianchi seriuosly needs to stop huffing the fumes from Lake Okeechobee and get out of Florida once in awhile. And not just to interview dismissed, upset former Gators. No one in the country was a bigger enemy of the Florida program than Buckeye fans in the late 2000s, and we didn't buy "Timmy Terrific" as anything that masked more than an iota of what was wrong with Florida back then.
This column is supposed to be about Aaron Hernandez casting a dismal shadow on the Florida football program. But Mike Bianchi did what he too often does, and turned it into 800 words on how heartbroken he is that Urban Meyer is no longer the coach of the team he covers. This isn't journalism, it's hackery in its purest form. And just like Meyer is going to keep winning games, Bianchi will always leave
no every stone uncovered in his attempt to take Meyer down a notch.
Of course success is the best revenge. A second consecutive undefeated Ohio State season would probably just about push Bianchi over the edge. So as if you need any more reason to go all in on "The Chase" this year, you may have just gotten it.