Well, it's official. The most sought-after unemployed coach in all the land is now the head man at Ohio State. Urban Meyer was officially introduced yesterday as the new head coach at OSU taking over a program that fell from grace faster than anything we've ever seen... until, you know, that thing in State College, PA happened.
I know, I know, we all felt so sorry for OSU. The scandal, the firing, a 6-6 record... THE HORROR!!!
But you can stop now because clearly things are going to be just fine at OSU.
So what does it all mean for the rest of us? And particularly, what does it mean for those of us who are trying to be built into a B1G contender? Let's explore, shall we?
B1G perspective: From a competitive standpoint, OSU had a down year, and that's probably all they are going to have. Meyer will have this team ready, and he's already got the kind of talent that is probably making him drool in a guy like Braxton Miller. I would expect OSU to be a factor in the B1G conference race immediately starting next year.
Gopher perspective: At this moment in time the Gophers are not scheduled to ever face the Buckeyes again... which will obviously change. For now, the B1G schedules are only complete through 2014, and the Gophers are not scheduled face the Buckeyes in 2012, 2013, or 2014. We'll get to watch the so-called "rebuilding process" from afar.
B1G perspective: Urban Meyer is a very good recruiter and an obvious reason is because he produces winning teams and NFL talent. These are two things that OSU is already accustomed to, but I think Meyer will bring the recruiting piece to a new level.
Because of his past, he's got recruiting inroads in the Southeast, which as we know is an area of the country that tends to produce a lot of speed. Opening up these inroads to OSU, by proxy, opens them up to some extent to the rest of the B1G. There is already some talent filtering into the B1G from the Southeast, but the conventional wisdom is that it's talent that is generally passed over by SEC schools. Urban Meyer could change that at OSU, and, we can hope, the rest of the B1G might benefit from this expoure.
Gopher perspective: I wouldn't expect a lot to change for the Gophers in this department. Minnesota is not exactly OSU at the moment, and it's going to take some time for us to get into the upper half of the B1G if Jerry Kill can take us there. Jerry Kill likes speed, and he's already keen on recruiting it like crazy, but the high end speed from the Southeast will likely stay in the major programs.
B1G perspective: For quite awhile it has been believed that the B1G was a second class citizen behind the SEC, and based on the fact that the SEC is about to win its sixth national championship in a row, it's hard to argue. But Urban Meyer won a couple of those national championships, and he knows what it takes. OSU will likely be taken more seriously in the national championship discussion because they have the pedigree, but also they now have a coach that has done it twice, and fairly recently.
This is a good thing for the B1G. It means that the conference as a whole will get more exposure because OSU will be playing other B1G teams 8 times/year (9 times starting in 2015). If Meyer can win a national championship (or any B1G team can win one for that matter) it gives the conference bragging rights, and something to build on.
Gopher perspective: This is an intangible area that could potentially help the Gophers in recruiting. If the mystique of the B1G can be restored, and if Urban Meyer builds a fast team that begins to change the way B1G teams have to compete against them, it could also change the perception that the B1G is a slow conference. If that happens, all bets are off, and the Gophers could benefit.
B1G perspective: Urban Meyer isn't great news for those in the Leaders division, because he is literally a game changer. PSU is going to be down. Purdue and Indiana are, well, Purdue and Indiana. Illinois is about to take on a new coach. So it's likely that this division will be a shoot-out between Wisconsin and OSU in the coming years.
From an overall conference perspective, OSU was the big dog on the block for most of the past decade, and that is likely to be the case again under Meyer. But this is a pretty big upgrade for OSU, and therefore, it's a big upgrade for the conference as well. There are going to be more eyes on the B1G because of this, and that's never a bad thing.
Gopher perspective: From a Gopher standpoint, we might get the best of both worlds in this situation, at least over the next 3 years. We will get to see how the OSU program does, without having to play them. We will get the advantages of additional exposure to the conference, and the possibility of an upgrade in recruiting regions.
Overall, Urban Meyer at Ohio State is a good thing for the B1G Conference. This is not the kind of coach that typically lands in the B1G. Will this open up the B1G for other coaches that have proven themselves at big-time programs? Maybe not. But as respected as Urban Meyer is in all circles of college football, his move to the B1G certainly can't hurt.