Urban Meyer 46th-Best Coach Ever...Is This a Joke?
There are multiple way to convey your dislike for someone, ranging from a subtle slight to a sledgehammer smashing their reputation to shards of glass.
Then there's the method ESPN employed on Urban Meyer in its list of the Top 150 coaches in college football history.
Meyer has three national championships in the BCS and Playoff era on his resume, something only Nick Saban can match.
Meyer has also recorded either the highest winning percentage or second-highest winning percentage at every one of the four schools he's coached:
- 17-6 at Bowling Green, .739, second in school history
- 22-2 at Utah, .917, first in school history
- 65-15 at Florida, .813, second in school history
- 83-9 at Ohio State, .902, first in school history.
That's a 187-32 record over 17 seasons, with three national championships, nine Top 5 finishes, seven conference titles and a 12-3 bowl record.
Total all that and you might anticipate Meyer ranking No. 4 or maybe No. 6 or, maybe add those together and look for him at No. 10 all time on the ESPN list.
Well, you're putting the 4 and the 6 together incorrectly, because according to the voting of a "blue ribbon panel" of 150 retired writers and broadcasters, current media members, college media directors, former coaches and 31 ESPN analysts and writers, Meyer doesn't rank fourth, or sixth, or even 10.
He ranks 46th.
That rating has all the nuance of a runaway train.
Loosen that blue ribbon and get some air, panelists.
Clearly, Meyer angered some folks across all spectrums in and around his sport while compiling an .854 winning percentage that ranks third all time behind Knute Rockne (.881) and Frank Leahy (.864).
Having an agenda is one thing.
Grinding an axe is another.
There's just no way Meyer can be listed anywhere below 10th if he's evaluated on his merits as a coach.
Meyer's grading scale must have heavily weighted other things, like coaching Aaron Hernandez, fuzzy logic on quitting one day at Florida and returning the next, lying at the Big Ten Kickoff luncheon in August and initially projecting all the empathy of a caveman frozen in ice on the night he received a three-game suspension from OSU.
Then how does Woody Hayes finish ninth on the same list?
To have Meyer behind Hayes, or behind Jim Tressel at 35th, is as ludicrous as having Meyer 46th overall.
ESPN credits Hayes with five national championships, which includes his 1970 team that lost in the Rose Bowl to 9-3 Stanford, 27-17.
Can you imagine any team being considered a national champion that lost its bowl game to a heavy underdog by 10 points?
That's on Hayes' 1970 team's resume.
Hayes won legitimate national championships in 1954, 1957 and 1968.
If you want to give him 1961, when a faculty vote denied his team the chance to play in the Rose Bowl, that's fine.
But the truth is, Hayes blew more national championships with his unbeaten, sophomore-laden 1968 team that he won, falling in the final game of both the 1969 and 1970 seasons when heavily favored.
He also failed to win even one national championship with the only two-time Heisman trophy winner in college history, Archie Griffin.
OSU entered the 1976 Rose Bowl unbeaten and No. 1 with a 41-20 win at UCLA earlier that season, but lost in the rematch, 23-10.
Hayes should rank behind Tressel on the ESPN list, given the four national titles he won in a playoff format at Division I-AA Youngstown State and the one he took from defending national champion Miami in 2002 at OSU.
Tressel's 2006 and 2007 teams also played for the championship as the No. 1 team, but lost both times, the first time to Meyer and Florida.
Tressel and Meyer dealt with far more difficult coaching times than Hayes or any of his contemporaries.
Scholarship limits, players leaving early for the NFL, players having a completely different view of and willingness to accept coaching discipline, the minefield of social media and expanded media coverage -- all are challenges coaches in the past 25 years have battled that their predecessors did not.
Few met those obstacles better than Meyer.
Maybe four or five coaches did.
Certainly, not 45.
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