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Michigan head coach Urban Meyer? ‘No, that’s not going to happen’

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It has become pretty easy for the national narrative to shift toward the pressure ramping up for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor after another notable loss on his overall record last weekend against Wisconsin. Although there appears to be no real reason to suggest Michigan is about to make any drastic changes with the head coaching position, it won’t stop some from pondering “What if” the Wolverines do make a change. Could Michigan land a national championship head coach… like Urban Meyer?

In a radio interview in Columbus this week, Meyer was asked about the possibility of being the next head coach for that team up north. The question was in jest, but it put Meyer on the record. As you might expect, Meyer says don’t count on it.

“No, that’s not going to happen,” Meyer replied while being interviewed on WBNS on Wednesday (per Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com).

Meyer is currently a studio analyst with FOX for the college football season after his resignation from Ohio State at the end of the 2018 season. Because Meyer has previously spent a year in front of TV cameras after a resignation, there are some who expect Meyer will not stay off the sidelines for too long. USC has been the more trendy name associated with Meyer, although Clay Helton having USC off to a 3-1 start may have silenced some of that fun speculation for some.

Meyer may have his faults and slips as a head coach over the course of his career, but multiple national championship rings and the kind of recruiting he has been capable of doing is enough to keep his name in the mix as the coaching carousel gets rolling. But Michigan? Don’t count on that. Harbaugh isn’t going to be going anywhere unless he has some change of heart and decides he wants out. Michigan is not going to pull the cord on Harbaugh.

But what a world that would be to see Meyer as the head coach of the Wolverines after his dominance over the program during his time at Ohio State.

The last time the Ohio State Buckeyes won the national championship…

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Two weeks into the 2014 season, some declared the Big Ten officially eliminated from the College Football Playoff in the first year of the new format’s existence. a little more than three months later, Ohio State made all of those early-season critics look completely silly.

The days of the BCS were officially done and a new four-team playoff format was being introduced in the 2014 season. With a focus on results on the field to impress the selection committee now the emphasis for determining what merits a shot at a national championship, Ohio State took the biggest loss of the playoff format in Week 2 of the college football season. Fresh off a 17-point victory over Navy in Baltimore to open the season, Urban Meyer and the No. 8 Buckeyes were handed one of the more surprising losses when unranked Virginia Tech left Columbus with a 35-21 victory. To complicate things more, Ohio State lost starting quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending injury, forcing Ohio State to go with backup quarterback J.T. Barrett. On the same day that saw other potential Big Ten playoff candidates go down (Michigan lost to Notre Dame, Michigan State lost to Oregon), the Big Ten became an easy target for many.

The playoff era was brand new and we had some ideas of how it should work, but nobody two weeks into the regular season should have been taking the plunge off the short plank suggesting the entire conference was ruled out of the playoff race with more than two months of games still to play. So Ohio State kept playing.

A 66-0 victory over Kent State the following week was enough to regain some confidence against a weak opponent, but Virginia Tech jumping up to No. 17 in the polls and then immediately losing at home to East Carolina didn’t do much to change anyone’s opinion. Ohio State may be the best team in the Big Ten, but they are still not good enough for a playoff hunt, some suggested. But the Buckeyes rolled on with blowouts of Cincinnati, new Big Ten members Maryland and Rutgers before heading to Happy Valley for a matchup with the Nittany Lions. Ohio State took an early 7-0 lead on a 10-=yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott and extended the lead to 17-0 going to halftime, but the Whiteout crowd at Penn State kept the energy up as the underdog Nittany Lions drew even at 17-17 in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime. After Penn State took the lead in the first overtime, J.T. Barrett forced a second overtime with a five-yard touchdown run and gave the Buckeyes the lead with another four-yard run in the second overtime. Joey Bosa sealed the win for Ohio State by pushing a helpless Penn State running back backward and into quarterback Christian Hackenberg for a game-clinching sack. Meyer would later credit the double-overtime victory in Beaver Stadium as the catalyst for Ohio State’s championship push.

Ohio State took care of business against Illinois and won a high-scoring matchup at No. 7 Michigan State to drive right back into control of the Big Ten race. Victories over Indiana and Michigan to close the regular season moved Ohio State to 11-1, but an injury to Barrett in the win over the Wolverines left Ohio State to rely on third-string quarterback Cardale Jones. That wasn’t a problem in a 59-0 Big Ten championship game victory over No. 11 Wisconsin, which helped cement Ohio State as the fourth team in the inaugural College Football Playoff, critics be damned.

Now that Ohio State got one foot in the playoff door, it was time to prove they deserved to be there. Taking down No. 1 Alabama, the prohibitive favorite in the 2014 season, in the Sugar Bowl was all too perfect for the Buckeyes to make some noise. Elliott’s long touchdown run against the Tide will forever be the signature moment of Ohio State’s championship drive.

But much like when Team USA took down the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics, the mission was not yet complete until Ohio State won one more game. After Alabama, Ohio State had to go up against Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariotta and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the national championship game in Arlington, Texas. But as the final score would indicate (42-20), that was hardly a problem. Ohio State gave up an early touchdown to Mariotta and the Ducks but answered with a long touchdown run by Elliott and a Jones touchdown pass. Ohio State took a 21-7 lead and scored the game’s final 21 points to pull away. Elliott scored on the ground each of those three times.

The first year of the College Football Playoff was historic, and it remains the last time a team from the Big Ten won a playoff game. It may not seem all that long ago, but a lot has happened since the last time the Buckeyes won it all.

Last National Championship: 2014 (4 years and counting)

Who was President?

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was in the White House at the time. It was the second year of his second term in the Oval Office.

Our current president, Donald J. Trump, wasn’t running for the presidency just yet, although some were trying to push him to run for the governor’s office in New York.

What was on TV?

2014 was a pretty significant year in the late-night television scene. Jay Leno stepped down as host of “The Tonight Show,” this time for good. As Leno stepped down, Jimmy Fallon was given the responsibility of hosting “The Tonight Show” on NBC. With Fallon being bumped into the first late-night time slot, Seth Meyers is made the new host of “Late Night.”

The NFL continued to dominate the ratings department, with NBC’s Sunday Night Football being the top-rated television program of 2014. “The Big Bang Theory” held a firm grip on the top spot when it came to sitcoms, and “Empire” and “Scandal” were among the top dramas in the game not part of the “NCIS” franchise.

What movies were hot?

2014 saw the superhero genre in a pretty good spot in 20124. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit of a surprise hit at the box office and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was on its way to being one of the top movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

X-Men: Days of Future Past turned out to be the last good X-Men film too. But this was also the year The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released, and that was anything but amazing.

But the top movies of 2014 at the box office were American Sniper and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. And The LEGO Movie made sure everything was awesome.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

Sadly, nobody.

The 2014 season was the first season that did not see a release in the NCAA Football video game franchise due to legal issues related to player likenesses. Despite the efforts from EA Sports to provide some form of compensation to players, the NCAA and FBS conferences started pulling their licenses from the game franchise and the game had no more legs to stand on for the 2014 season.

As it stands, the last player to appear on the game before Ohio State won a national championship remains former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

What else happened in 2014?

In addition to the Big Ten, SEc, and Pac-12 champions being in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the ACC landed a team in the mix as well with the defending national champions from Florida State joining the party. Jameis Winston and the Noles were 13-0 coming into the playoff but were eliminated from the playoff in a 59-20 setback against the Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

Other conference champions form 2014 included Baylor and TCU splitting the Big 12 title, which added fuel to the debate over whether Ohio State should have been in the playoff or if the Big 12 should have had one of its co-champs in the field. TCU’s Gary Patterson swept the major coach of the year awards.

UCF, Cincinnati and Memphis split the AAC championship, while Boise State won the Mountain West and Marshall took Conference USA. NIU won the MAC and Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt in their first season in the conference and as an FBS school.

Former USC head coach Pete Carroll and former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson lead the Seattle seahawks to a blowout victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.

The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA title since 1975 with Steph Curry leading the way past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first NBA Finals matchup. This marked the first of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances for the Warriors, including this past season’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The San Francisco Giants topped the Kansas City Royals in seven games to win the World Series, making Madison Bumgarner a playoff hero as the World Series MVP.

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in three years with a Stanley Cup Finals victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The wrestling community mourned the loss of James Hellwig, better known to many as The Ultimate Warrior. He died of a heart attack one day after appearing on WWE Raw.

Ohio State and the case of bad losses

Ohio State’s biggest hurdle to getting back to the College Football Playoff has typically been their inability to avoid a bad loss. The 2015 season saw Ohio State as the best team in the Big Ten, but a last-second loss on a field goal by Michigan State at home ended up being too much to overcome to get a crack at back-to-back national titles to begin the playoff era. The 12-1 Buckeyes ended their season ranked fourth in the final AP poll after blowing out No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Meanwhile, the Spartans reached the playoff and were shutout by Alabama, 38-0. Ohio State had been in the top two of the AP poll all season long until their defensive battle loss to Michigan State.

The losses would become a bit more ugly in the eyes of the committee in the coming years. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Penn State in 2016 took the Big Ten title race for a detour. No. 2 Ohio State slipped in the polls and lost out on a tiebreaker to the Nittany Lions for a chance to play for the Big Ten title. Despite Penn State eventually winning the Big Ten, Ohio State still managed to get invited to the playoff, where the Buckeyes were blanked by Clemson, 31-0.

Despite winning the Big Ten championship each of the past two seasons, the bad losses in the regular season proved to be too much to overcome. A 55-24 loss at Iowa a week after stunning No. 2 Penn State left the Buckeyes on the outside looking in on the playoff action in 2017. Last season, a 49-20 loss at unranked Purdue was enough of a landmine to keep Ohio State out in a year that saw undefeated Clemson, Alabama, and Notre Dame all in the playoff. The Buckeyes lost out on the final spot to Big 12 champion Oklahoma last season.

Entering 2019, Ohio State is undergoing some change with a new head coach in Ryan Day and a new starting quarterback in Justin Fields. One thing that remains consistent in spite of roster turnover on the starting lineup is the quality of talent to be found in Columbus. Player for player, Ohio State still boasts the most talented roster across the depth chart among Big Ten teams and should be a strong contender for the Big Ten title and a spot in the playoff this fall and in the years to come. If they can just avoid those pesky upset losses on the road, perhaps Ohio State will bring an end to their brief championship drought soon enough.

Urban Meyer to debut new podcast about leadership, culture, behavior

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Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has a new hobby now that he is retired from coaching. The coach is getting into podcasting.

Meyer announced on his Twitter account he is starting up a brand new podcast, with the focus on “how to build elite leadership, culture and behavior in teams and organizations.” The first episode is set to drop on various podcast platforms on Wednesday, July 10.

Meyer isn’t the first college football coach from the Big Ten to get into podcasting. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh got started with his own podcast in 2017, with members of his family joining him to discuss their own coaching philosophies and more. Although Meyer is no longer aq coach (for now), Meyer will certainly have some thoughts that will keep people tuned in for one reason or another.

Meyer is a national championship coach and has been held to a high standard. Some critics will point to flaws in Meyer’s management and decision-making in certain situations that may draw some skepticism about whether or not Meyer should be preaching about leadership and culture from a coaching perspective. But this podcast idea falls in line with other plans Meyer has adopted since retiring from coaching at the end of last football season. Meyer previously discussed the idea of teaching a class at Ohio State focusing on character and leadership in the university’s business college.

There are questions that must be asked, however. For starters, who will be the first sponsor for Meyer’s podcast? Will Meyer be pitching advertisements for online blogging platforms, mattresses, audio books, and home-cooked meals shipped in boxes? The world needs answers, and it seems we will get those answers beginning on Wednesday.

Will you be subscribing, rating, and reviewing Meyer’s new podcast later this week?

Ohio State AD Gene Smith doesn’t see Urban Meyer returning to coaching

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Reggie Bush may be preparing to make his best sales pitches to Urban Meyer in an attempt to lure the national championship head coach to USC at his earliest convenience, but Meyer’s previous boss doesn’t seem to think that will be happening. In a report from USA Today, Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith says he doesn’t think Meyer will make another return to coaching despite what seems to be a pretty popular idea floating around the college football world.

I have a hard time believing that,” Smith said in the story from George Schroeder of USA Today. Although, Smith did concede that it would be unwise to suggest with 100% certainty Meyer is done coaching for good.

“You can never say never,” Smith added.

Meyer retired from his position as head coach of Ohio State after the Rose Bowl victory over Washington last January. The retirement came at the end of a season that saw a Big Ten title defense and a late bid for a potential spot in the College Football Playoff, but was otherwise marred by the distraction off the field regarding the handling of former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Regardless of the circumstances, Meyer capped his time at Ohio State with a Rose Bowl victory to go along with a number of other achievements in Columbus, including multiple Big Ten titles and a College Football Playoff national championship.

Meyer is now preparing for a new job as a college football studio analyst with FOX Sports, where he will be working alongside Bush. Bush has joked he plans to help convince Meyer to return to coaching to take over as head coach of the USC Trojans, with a cloud of uncertainty hovering above current Trojans head coach Clay Helton. Now that Meyer is already getting cozy in Los Angeles, the rumor mill could be in full operation soon enough, as if it isn’t already.

But for now, Smith feels confident in suggesting we may have seen the last of Meyer coaching on the sidelines. Time will tell, and a quick return to coaching after retirement is not abnormal for Meyer. Meyer spent one season working for ESPN after retiring from Florida before he was hired to be the head coach at Ohio State.

Urban Meyer reportedly heading back to TV as FOX Sports college football analyst

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This probably to be expected. Just as he did the last time he retired from coaching college football, it appears Urban Meyer could be heading back to covering the sport in front of a TV camera.

According to a report from Sporting News, Meyer is working on closing on a deal to join FOX Sports as an analyst. It is not yet determined if that means Meyer will be working in a broadcast booth as he did previously with ESPN following his retirement from coaching at Florida or if he will be a studio analyst for FOX broadcasts.

FOX has been feverishly working the past few years to improve its overall college football presentation. FOX has been a broadcast partner for the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 and has been the only network to air the Big Ten and Pac-12 conference championship games. However, FOX has yielded its rights to the Big 12 championship game for 2019, 2021 and 2023. FOX also has rights to broadcast Conference USA games as well as the Sun Bowl. While ESPN continues to be the leader in the college football broadcast game, FOX has come along nicely and continues to find ways to improve their coverage.

The possible addition of Meyer would be a good one, whether it places him in a booth or in a studio to breakdown the games for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. His first year in the broadcast game in 2011 went fairly smoothly, and he may be able to have a smooth transition back into the game in either role if he closes the deal with FOX.

Meyer retired as head coach of Ohio State following Ohio State’s Rose Bowl victory over Washington, although he remained a part of the athletics program with a role still to be ironed out in full. However, if Meyer does return to TV, that may be the official end of his time with Ohio State completely. Of course, Meyer only spent one season in the booth after his last retirement before accepting a job offer from Ohio State. Will this be another short-term gig for Meyer? We’ll see.