#B1GCoachRank: No. 1 Urban Meyer
Ranking coaches in the B1G can be a pretty easy task. It’s easy to place a number beside a guy, failing to give any reasoning behind his placement on a “power rankings,” list.
At Saturday Tradition, though, we don’t want to just give you the rankings. We want to provide you with a detailed description of each head coach and why he’s ranked in his selected spot.
This was a practice that was kicked up from the ground last year and, since there’s still several months until football season gets underway, it’s worth revisiting. So, let’s finish our 2017 #B1GCoachRank:
Coach: No. 1 Urban Meyer (Ohio State)
Record: 104-23 (Bowling Green, Utah, Florida), 61-6 (Ohio State) 39-2 (B1G)
Record vs. top 25: 15-4 (Ohio State)
Where team was when he was hired: It’s hard to believe that earlier this decade Ohio State was coming off Tattoogate, had just finished a 6-7 year and which included a 3-5 mark in B1G play. The athletes were there, but the program was somewhat in disarray.
Meyer’s arrival changed all of that. And instantly. Despite serving a postseason ban in 2012, the Buckeyes finished 12-0 in Meyer’s first season in Columbus. Even the most optimistic of Ohio State supporters were surprised of the impact the new coaching staff had in just a matter of months.
Five years later, Meyer has proved that his first year with the scarlet and grey was no fluke. He was the perfect choice to take over such an historic program and elevate the level of play in the conference. Though Jim Tressel was one heck of a football coach, his departure from the program because of his involvement with Tattoogate may have actually been a blessing in disguise.
Biggest win: College Football Playoff National Championship: Jan. 12, 2015 vs. Oregon
Ohio State claimed its eighth national title just three years into Meyer’s tenure. Despite an early-season loss to Virginia Tech at home, the Buckeyes rallied and pulled off several impressive victories to get a bid in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Many tabbed Ohio State as “one year away” or “too young” to handle the pressure of a national title run. The Buckeyes looked well-ahead of the curve in the championship game, though, beating Oregon 42-20 and claiming the program’s first championship since 2002 and the third of Meyer’s career.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns and Cardale Jones threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in the victory. And while the offense was certainly great in the most important game of the year, it was the defense that posted the phenomenal performance.
Heading into the final game, the Ducks averaged 47.2 points per game and hadn’t been held below 24 points all year long. But Ohio State eliminated Oregon’s rushing attack and held Marcus Mariota and the lightning-fast offense to its lowest point total of the year. It was truly one of the most remarkable national title performances in recent memory.
And don’t forget, Ohio State made that crazy postseason run without Braxton Miller or J.T. Barrett.
Most embarrassing loss: College Football Playoff Semifinal, Fiesta Bowl: Dec. 31, 2016 vs. Clemson
Ohio State was shutout for the first time since 1993. It was the first time Meyer had been shutout as a head coach. Is that enough to tell you how bad the Fiesta Bowl was?
Clemson obliterated the Buckeyes 31-0 in the semifinal showdown and it was by far the most disappointing outcome of Meyer’s five-year run with the Buckeyes. Sure, the 2014 loss against Virginia Tech was humiliating. The collapse at the end of the Penn State game in Happy Valley was less-than-ideal. But Ohio State was coming off such a strong finish, it looked like it could actually compete for its second national title in three years.
Not so much.
J.T. Barrett had just 127 yards on 19-of-33 passing. He didn’t threw two interceptions in the contest. The Buckeyes couldn’t run the ball, either. They had just 88 yards on 23 attempts as they played catch-up all evening. Meanwhile, the Clemson offense was able to rack up 470 yards and converted eight-of-17 third downs in the game.
As it turns out, that Clemson team was pretty darn good. The Tigers took down Alabama in the championship game and finished the year 14-1. Still, with such high expectations for Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, it was an extremely embarrassing outcome.
Best recruiting class: 2013
You can put 2017 here and you’d get no argument from me. Meyer’s most recent class is one of his best, signing 19 players with a four-star or five-star rating. This class certainly has a great opportunity to leave its mark on the college football landscape.
But the 2013 class is already proven. Remember those Buckeyes that were “too young” to win a national championship? Much of the top talent from that roster hailed from the 2013 class.
Ever heard of Vonn Bell, Joey Bosa or Eli Apple? How about Ezekiel Elliott, J.T. Barret or Jalin Marshall? All six of those players were members of Meyer’s first full class at Ohio State. Per 247Sports, it was rated as the second-best class in the country and was the top in the B1G. That group backed it up with a conference title and a national championship.
Meyer set a high bar with his 2013 class and has continued his dominance on the recruiting trail. The 2017 class really might be Meyer’s top class, but the accomplishments of that group from 2013 are just too significant to ignore. We can reevaluate in a few years, though.
What could get him fired: The man has lost just six games in five years. He’s lost just two (TWO!) B1G games in that stretch. It’s going to take a pretty big scandal to get Meyer out of Columbus.
Why he’s at No. 1: Who else can you put here? In five short years, he’s had an undefeated season (2012), a B1G title (2014) and a national championship (2014). He’s a remarkable 61-6 and 39-2 in regular season conference matchups. It’s hard to find anyone in college football with a better five-year stretch.
Meyer is a coaching expert and a recruiting mastermind. Even when the Buckeyes are expected to have a “down” year, they find a way to win. Meyer’s teams have won at least 11 in each of his five seasons. When Ohio State is “rebuilding” it’s actually just “reloading.” In this era of college football, it’s extremely difficult to have that kind of sustained success, even over a five-year period.
There’s nobody in the B1G that rivals Meyer’s success or his brilliance as a head coach. At least not at the moment. His accomplishments have been nothing short of impressive, especially for taking over a program coming off a losing season.
It’s going to take quite a run for anyone to remove Meyer from the throne of the B1G’s top coach.
No. 1 Urban Meyer (Ohio State)