The 6 places I'd like to see Urban Meyer end up
Want an unpopular opinion?
I actually think Urban Meyer is done being a Power 5 head coach. Shocking, I know.
I think it’s one thing to scratch the itch after the Florida thing. It’s another to leave like he did at Ohio State. Meyer left after winning a Big Ten Championship and coaching the Big Ten’s first 1st-round quarterback since 1995. It was different than the post-Tim Tebow era mess that he was a part of in 2010.
Having said that, you better believe I’m still going to picture what it’d be like to have him in a bunch of different places.
These are the places that I’d want to see Meyer end up. They have to at least have some sort of realistic chance of happening. Like, as much as I’d like to see Meyer coaching a Pop Warner team, that’s probably not a realistic choice here.
The same could be said about Michigan. As speculation swirls about Jim Harbaugh’s future, Meyer publicly despises Michigan and seems like he wouldn’t take that job if it was the last on on Earth.
These other places, though? They aren’t totally crazy from Meyer’s perspective. And, well, they’d provide a lot of entertainment.
1. Florida State
Meyer vs. Florida? Sign. Me. Up. Willie Taggart vs. Dan Mullen isn’t a fair fight. Let’s see Mullen battle it out with his mentor.
Yes, I realize what was just said by FSU athletic director David Coburn about Taggart’s future.
“If coach (Taggart) were hit by a bus tomorrow, we would not target coach Meyer, period,” Coburn said according to The Tallahassee Democrat. “I say that with all due respect to coach Meyer, but we would not target Steve Spurrier either.”
Well, that’s not taking into account the idea of Coburn getting fired. After all, Taggart was his hire. That’s how this often works. If the AD won’t fire the coach, well, fire the AD and then fire the coach. If FSU finds itself out of postseason contention again, the Seminoles would be desperate to write a massive check to Taggart’s replacement.
Meyer’s recruiting ties in Florida would bode well. Even better, he wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of playing against the SEC for all but 1 game a year. Besides an annual matchup with Dabo Swinney, Meyer wouldn’t have to deal with the same sort of gauntlet that forced him out of the SEC.
But if we’re being honest, FSU is probably somewhat close to Meyer’s dislike of Michigan.
If you’re already out in Los Angeles, you might as well coach a football team, right?
Meyer’s work with FOX is why many have already jumped to the conclusion that he’ll be heavily targeted by USC in the event that Clay Helton is out at season’s end. It makes sense. Meyer could dominate the West Coast recruiting, excite a fan base that’s in need of a shot in the arm and get paid ridiculous money to do it.
The obvious issue is that at a place like USC, it’s really not much different from the high-stress lifestyle of coaching at places like Florida and Ohio State. It’s win Pac-12 titles and go to Rose Bowls or find somebody who can. And while expectations are relatively low now, the “USC in the preseason top 10” talk would surface the second Meyer accepted the job. I’m not one of those people who says “college football is better when USC is better,” but I’ll say I like the idea the Pac-12 having a reasonable shot to make this thing interesting.
Who knows? Perhaps Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart are persuasive dudes.
If you’re already out in Los Angeles, you may as well coach a football team, right?
Oh. I just used that line? Whatever. It needed to be said again.
Surprised that Chip Kelly’s buyout is only $9 million? Yeah, me too. Surprised that Kelly is only 5-14 at UCLA? Yeah, me too.
For all the aforementioned points about dominating the West Coast recruiting, Meyer at UCLA would be different than the aforementioned jobs because expectations would be lower. Meyer wouldn’t be in “national title or bust” position. It would perhaps have a feel of Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. He’d get time to rebuild and not suddenly questioned for failing to win a conference title every year.
Life could be worse than living in L.A. with limited expectations and an 8-figure contract.
4. Michigan State
I’m not saying it’ll happen. The idea of Meyer playing against Ohio State would be all sorts of awkward (the cynic in me thinks that Meyer had some sort of hush hush deal never to coach against Florida at OSU). There would probably need to be some sort of falling out with Meyer at Ohio State for this to become a possibility.
But let’s live in a fantasy world in which this opportunity would present itself. There’s growing speculation about Mark Dantonio’s future in East Lansing. I’m not saying the guy is getting canned, but if Dantonio were to leave in the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Meyer obviously knows the Midwest in terms of recruiting, he’d get to be a rival with Michigan again with knowledge of all the teams already and the expectations wouldn’t be at Florida or Ohio State levels. Those are 3 pretty significant positives.
The guy is the most successful Big Ten coach of all-time in terms of winning percentage. He’d add some spice to a division that’s become a touch stale with some of its coaches interest nationally.
5. Notre Dame
Yes, this is the obvious one. Everybody continues to make the connection because this was once believed to be Meyer’s dream job. Once upon a time, he chose Florida over Notre Dame. Meyer grew up a Notre Dame fan, spent 6 years as an assistant there back in the day and just in case that wasn’t enough, his son was baptized there.
Clearly, there’s sentimental value with the Irish that Meyer wouldn’t have with any of the programs on this list. One would think that the proud program that hasn’t won a national title in over 3 decades would pounce on the chance to hire Meyer if there was interest from him.
So why would Meyer not have mutual interest? For a guy who has stepped down from a pair of jobs for health-related reasons, I can’t imagine the stress of ending a national championship drought at Notre Dame would help that. Personally, it’s been sort of nice not having that storyline dominate college football news cycles in 2019. I don’t need that to resurface every time Meyer loses a game.
And while Meyer’s Midwest recruiting ties would certainly benefit him at a place like Notre Dame, would he want to recruit against Ohio State that often? I don’t know.
Timing is everything in life. I sort of feel like this ship has sailed.
Wait … hasn’t Lincoln Riley essentially earned himself a lifetime contract at Oklahoma? Probably. But if Riley gets the itch to take his talents to the NFL — I wouldn’t rule out the idea of someone giving him a Jon Gruden-type contract offer this year — then Meyer would have to be a top target.
Meyer’s recruiting success in the state of Texas would be a major benefit, as would the fact that Oklahoma is already a built-to-win program. He wouldn’t need to rebuild like he would at USC or UCLA. That program is stockpiled with offensive talent galore for the post-Jalen Hurts era. Meyer could find his next Ryan Day-type to run the offense and call plays while Meyer takes a more administrative role like he did in his final years at Ohio State.
Oh, and annual Tom Herman vs. Meyer matchups? Please and thank you.
The issue with this is the obvious hurdle of Riley leaving Norman, which seems like it won’t happen just yet, plus the aforementioned pressure of taking over a Playoff-or-bust program. I’m just not convinced Meyer wants to go down that road at this stage of his life both professionally and mentally.
7. Dallas Cowboys
Just kidding. That would be the worst.