I am 23 years old and have lived in Columbus, Ohio, for almost my entire life. Between having 10 players being ruled ineligible by the NCAA due to multiple scandals, the firing of a Hall-of-Fame-caliber coach, a 6-6 record and a loss to Michigan, I can honestly say that this is the worst calendar year of Ohio State football that I can remember.
And yet it still began with a win in a BCS bowl game and it will end with OSU hiring a 47-year-old coach with two national titles under his belt in Urban Meyer.
So what can we determine from knowing that the worst calendar year in almost a quarter century of OSU football included both a win in a major bowl game and the hiring of arguably one of the greatest college football coaches alive? It’s that OSU is simply too big to fail.
And that’s something that a lot of schools can’t say. Michigan, who endured three underwhelming and two bowl-game-less years under Rich Rodriguez, certainly can’t say that, and as we’ll learn in the coming years, neither can Penn State.
The reasons behind OSU’s inevitable success are tied to two factors: the state’s rich football history and the football program’s history of winning.
Even if Meyer had chosen to stay retired and away from OSU, this point would’ve been proven by whoever had taken over Columbus. From Bob Stoops at Oklahoma to Nick Saban at Alabama to Pete Carroll in the NFL, there is no plethora of coaches who happen to have both stellar resumes and ties to the Buckeye state.
Prior to this season, OSU had won a share of each of the past six Big Ten titles, regardless of what the NCAA record books tell you. The school has won 35 Big Ten conference titles and seven national titles, thanks to a lineage of Hall-of-Fame-caliber coaches in Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper and Jim Tressel.
And now Meyer, OSU’s first choice to join the fraternity of Buckeye coaches, has accepted the school’s offer. Unlike Michigan, who was passed on by Les Miles — a Michigan alum — twice in the past four years, OSU got its man and never even had to consider a plan B.
Meyer’s idol, Woody Hayes once said, “We hate to lose, but when we do, rest assured we’ll be back, and someone will pay the price.”
With the way the Buckeyes bounced back from the season they’ve had since winning the Sugar Bowl in January, Hayes would be proud. Because the Buckeyes are back, and it’s time for lesser programs to start paying.