“Iowa, on both sides of the ball, knew exactly who the Buckeyes were and how to stop them. The Buckeyes had no idea who there (sic) were. So let's get to it. Has Mayer (sic) lost his edge?”
-Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com
As blasphemous as it might seem when looking at the totality of Meyer’s time in Columbus, this blazing hot take has been scorching up the interwebs since Ohio State’s historic, embarrassing 55-24 drubbing by the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.
However, before you chug your Skip Bayless Haterade™, remember that Meyer is less than three seasons removed from winning a national title, and that his overall record as the Buckeye head man is still 68-8 (.895%).
There is no doubt that things are a little rocky right now for the Buckeyes, and that the team hasn’t consistently looked the same since the dream 2014 season, but to say that Meyer is degrading as a coach because he is now “a 53-year-old grandfather,” and that he is moving to the hands-off, CEO model of coaching is antithetical to what is actually going on, and to the thesis of Lesmerises’ article as a whole.
In his piece, Lesmerises says that Meyer is a “culture coach,” and that he mostly leaves the Xs and Os to his assistants. But, that isn’t something that is new, Meyer has always been the big picture guy who was great at getting the most out of his players. Therefore, how does that lead to the softening of his “edge”?
If the problem is with the coaches who are directly working with the players, perhaps you could say that Meyer missed on some coaching hires, but again, given the individual coaches’ resumes, that seems like a stretch (although, Lesmerises did expand on this idea in another article, specifically pointing a finger at former NFL defensive coordinator and OSU’s new linebacker coach Bill Davis).
Could it be that it has taken longer for the program’s new coaches and players to gel than was originally anticipated? Absolutely. But, to say that this is somehow indicative of Meyer losing his edge, even temporarily, is extremely short-sighted and solely of the moment.
In fact, in addition to the admitted truth that the coaching staff still has not found its footing as a cohesive unit, I would argue that Meyer’s “edge” might actually be the thing that is leading to the recent rash of disappointing results for the Buckeyes.
As Lesmerises says, Meyer can just about get any recruit that he wants to come to Columbus, meaning that it is incumbent upon him to go and get the best players for his team, whether they be from Pickerington, Miami, Dallas, or San Diego. The down side to getting the best talent from around the country is that they don’t have the inherent buy-in to the distinct, Ohio State culture and tradition that most of the team’s fans do. Eventually that can have an impact, especially on a team that is lacking in experience.
And that is where the other side of Meyer’s dangerous success comes into play. The Buckeyes have had 19 players drafted into the NFL in the last two seasons alone, not to mention a handful of other players signed as undrafted free agents, many of them leaving before exhausting their collegiate eligibility. At some point, competing with an inexperienced, albeit talented, roster is going to lead to some roadbumps, but I think most people would prefer those roadbumps to the ones suffered by teams who are excited to have one or two players drafted every year.
The point is that the Ohio State football team is nowhere near functioning at its max potential right now, and laying that at the feet of the head coach is perfectly acceptable, given that the buck stops at the top. But, to question if Urban Meyer, a man who has won nearly 90% of his games in Columbus, has all of a sudden lost his ability to coach, or even manage, his team is ludicrous, even in this age of click-bait sports commentary.
“Momentum is building in Ohio for a college basketball event similar to Indiana’s Crossroads Classic.”
-David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News
For years under Thad Matta, and long before, it was the stance of the Ohio State men’s basketball team to avoid scheduling games against other in-state, DI programs. As the state’s flagship school, and the only one in a major college conference, that was certainly in OSU’s prerogative.
The thought was that no matter the result of the game, there was no upside for the Buckeyes. If they beat Dayton, or Xavier, or Cincinnati, then it was expected for the big dog to dominate. However, if say Dayton was to beat OSU 60-59, like in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, it would be seen as a black eye for the Buckeyes, letting one of their “little brothers” beat them up.
However, it appears that those concerns are now all but being ignored as new Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has openly discussed the idea of putting together an Ohio version of the Crossroads Classic held in Indiana every year. Remember that Holtmann comes to Columbus from Indiana’s fourth(?) biggest basketball program in Butler.
According to Jablonski’s article, discussions have already begun. Ohio State previously announced that they will open up each of the next two seasons with a home-and-home against the Bearcats. While it likely won’t happen any time in the next few seasons, these are promising developments in a state whose basketball prowess shouldn’t have to take a backseat to anyone.
“The upsets in the Big Ten East were the biggest playoff plotlines from Week 10, as the stock of the entire conference dropped as a result.”
-Heather Dinich, ESPN.com
I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know, but things ain’t looking good for the Big Ten to get a team into the College Football Playoff. With both Ohio State and Penn State losing their second games of the season this past weekend, unless all holy-hell breaks loose, they aren’t getting in. Meaning that the B1G’s best option might be the still undefeated Wisconsin Badgers, who, as of the first playoff rankings, were sitting at ninth.
Now, certainly, they will move up a spot or two with their conference brethren taking a tumble, but there is also the potential for an undefeated No. 10 Miami to jump the Badgers after a decisive win against No. 13 Virginia Tech.
So, even if Wisconsin moves up to No. 8 this week, they still would have two SEC teams, two Big XII teams, two ACC teams (assuming Miami move up), and independent Notre Dame ahead of them. Because there is a likelihood that the conference foes will eventually meet up, if they do, only one is likely to drop out of contention with a loss, leaving at least three teams and the Irish ahead of Wisconsin, who still has no guarantee to remain undefeated.
So, if you are banking on the B1G continuing its streak of playoff participants, you might want to start rooting for 2007 levels of chaos.
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