One person you should probably thank for the incredible run that Ohio State football is on under Urban Meyer? Dave Wannstedt.
As crazy as it sounds, Wannstedt played a key role in the series of events that ultimately led to Meyer at Ohio State, and him turning the Buckeyes back into a national powerhouse after Jim Tressel’s ugly exit before the 2011 season.
How, you ask? It all began in Morgantown, WV on December 1, 2007.
Wannstedt’s 4-7 Pitt Panthers entered the 100th Backyard Brawl against No. 2 West Virginia as 28 1⁄2 point underdogs, in a game that looked to be a coronation for Rich Rodriguez’s dominant Mountaineers squad on their way to the national championship game. Instead, Pitt shocked the world. The Panthers escaped Morgantown with a 13-9 win, kicking West Virginia out of the BCS title game, and setting off a chain of events that effected Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, and Texas, to name a few.
On this edition of The Hangout in the Holyland, LGHL and SB Nation’s own Matt Brown joined host Colton Denning to discuss his new book, ‘What if?: A closer look at college football’s great questions,’ the process of writing, some of the great ‘What if’s?’ from the book, and more.
The guys talked extensively about the chapter devoted to the 2007 Pitt-WVU game, and how a West Virginia win may have changed the course of Ohio State history, including:
- Why Terrelle Pryor’s recruitment would have been different.
- Tressel probably avoiding the tattoo scandal that led to his departure, and a possible 2nd national championship in 2007.
- Rich Rodriguez not taking the Michigan job (Hello, Les Miles!).
- No Urban Meyer era, and Luke Fickell coaching an 8-4 Ohio State team in 2016, instead.
- Tom Herman not ending up at Texas, and more!
We strongly recommend everyone purchase Matt’s new book, and learn not only about how different Ohio State history would be in this scenario, but also about some of the greatest ‘What If’s?’ in college football history!
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