Friday, February 8, 2013
Urban Meyer is just what the Big Ten needs
When Urban Meyer was hired to be the head coach of the Ohio State football program, we all knew things were going to change in the Big Ten.
Meyer was bringing his brand of football, one that led to multiple national titles and SEC championships, to the B1G. What that meant was a cut-throat style of recruiting and a take-no-prisoners attitude on the football field. It also meant that the conference was getting a guy that was going to shoot from the hip and push his agenda when he saw fit.
This week, Meyer felt it was necessary to hold the other Big Ten coaches accountable for their lackluster recruiting.
Here is what Meyer had to say following National Signing Day on Wednesday (from Yahoo! Sports):
“We do need to as a conference need to keep pushing that envelope to be better,” Meyer said to 97.1 The Fan, via Larry Brown Sports. “Our whole conversation [at the Big Ten coaches meeting] needs to be about ‘how do we recruit?’ When you see 11 of the SEC teams are in the top 25 that’s something that we need to improve.”
According to Rivals.com, Ohio State had the second-best recruiting class in the nation, with Michigan coming in fifth. The Big Ten had just three teams (Nebraska the third) in the top 25 while the SEC had six in the top 10 and all 14 members in the top 39. Michigan State came in at 38th nationally, which put them fourth in the B1G.
It’s easy for Meyer to point the finger at the other teams in the conference, especially when he isn’t afraid to go after recruits that have already verbally committed to other Big Ten teams. Meyer has the recruiting budget that many other teams in this conference don’t and he also has the success on the field that many don’t.
Make no mistake, Meyer is a bully. He is a loud-mouth, narcissistic bully. But, he is just what this conference needs.
Meyer, in just one year as coach of Ohio State, has become the identity of the conference. Meyer is the lone coach in this conference that knows what it takes to win a national title and what it is going to take for the conference to gain national respect.
It would be easy for Meyer to not say anything about the lackluster recruiting for the Big Ten. He could continue to recruit well and pick apart the conference most years, earning BCS bowl bid after BCS bowl bid.
Instead, he knows that to truly contend for a national title, he needs the Big Ten to be competitive and play at a high level. Meyer needs his team to be challenged by some of the best in the country during the regular season to know he can compete on the field with the best the SEC has to offer.
A stronger Big Ten from top to bottom means a stronger Ohio State.
Meyer is going to force the rest of the conference to play up to his level, like it or not. If teams aren’t able to keep pace with him, they are going to drown. Those that can keep pace will be much better for it and play at a higher level than they have in recent years. I’m looking at you Michigan.
I think we all can admit that the Big Ten has been down in football in recent years. That’s not meant to be an insult at Michigan State or Wisconsin, but it’s the truth. Neither team could truly lineup with the national champion that year and put up a fight.
Meyer wants that to change and is willing to do what it takes to make sure Ohio State is better than anything the Big Ten has recently produced. It appears that Brady Hoke feels the same, but time will tell if he can truly accomplish great things on the national stage.
Love him or hate him, Urban Meyer is the best thing going for the Big Ten, and he knows it.
*NOTE: Speaking of recruiting, I saw this tweet the other day from MSU 2014 verbal, Drake Harris (@drizzygetbusy01): Got the chance to talk to coach Meyer at Ohio state, coach hoke at Michigan, coach jones at Tennessee, and coach muschamp at Florida today!
It can’t make Mark Dantonio, or the Spartan fans, too excited to see Harris getting all this attention from some of the biggest programs in the nation. It will take a lot of work to keep this kid’s commitment.