Urban Meyer doesn’t always say things that are popular with people not named Urban Meyer. In the past, he has made comments about the BCS system, the SEC and recruiting practices that ruffle many a feather of many a fan and opposing coach. The funny thing is, though, he’s usually right and people who hate what he says will often begrudgingly admit that he is right.
Count me in that camp. I really disliked Urban bashing others while stating Utah deserved a shot, but he was right. I really disliked his talk about Florida deserving a shot at OSU because the SEC was stronger than the B1G, but he was right. I could go on and on and on. He just has a way of making people admit things they don’t want to admit about themselves. He’s like the Dr. Drew Pinsky of College Football. He tells you things you don’t want to hear until you are a broken shell of a human and are forced to pick your sorry butt up and better yourself, and it all plays out in front of a National audience.
Well, he’s doing it again and the target of his comments are his fellow B1G coaches and their less than stellar recruiting efforts.
OK, not Brady Hoke. Brady Hoke did just fine. That’s the point. The rest of the B1G was followed up by a respectable class at Nebraska and “wow…that sucks” classes from every other B1G team.
Here are the B1G class rankings, per Scout.com. Just for fun, I’ll toss in future B1G schools Maryland and Rutgers:
1. Ohio State
43. Michigan State
44. Penn State
Now, sure, PSU can be excused for their performance due to their sanctions, but the rest of the conference? Well, when you are being out-recruited by teams like Kentucky (39) and Vanderbilt (19), it’s not really a good sign for the direction in which the conference is heading. Rutgers and Maryland were mocked as “not being what is needed to boost the conference” and they finished better than 9 and 4 current B1G teams, respectively. If anything, the B1G is dragging them down.
Don’t give me the “some coaches can do more with less” spiel, either. Yes, that is true to an extent. In fact, it is what the fans of Kirk Ferentz pointed to for their early 2000′s success. However, the disparity in B1G recruiting and SEC recruiting wasn’t quite as huge in those days as it is now. For example, the bottom feeders in the SEC were not passing up teams like Michigan State or Wisconsin in the rankings.
Also, the argument can be made that it’s easier to do “more with less” when you spend a season playing, well, less. It’s easy to gain bowl eligibility, or even win your division, when you only have to play two or three teams per year.
Hey, I don’t like saying it, either.
Honestly, the B1G was not as bad last year as some would like us to believe. That was pretty evident in some Bowl games that were much closer than expected when considering two of the top teams were ineligible and the conference was fighting up a weight, so to speak. It matters none, however, as perception is reality and the perception is the B1G sucks.
I call this the BTN Effect. As soon as the BTN basically took B1G football away from ESPN, ESPN cared little for the B1G. They went all in on the SEC. Now, yes, SEC teams were beating up on B1G powerhouse OSU, but the other teams weren’t doing that badly against comparable competition. The SEC was top heavy and, in my opinion, that is still more of the case than what you hear from the South. It is all SEC, all the time and it is hard to recruit against perspective. If you are a 17 year old kid who wants the glory of D-1 football, would you rather be at an SEC school, even a bad one, where The Worldwide Leader is constantly kissing your tail or at a B1G school where you are universally mocked by pundits if you are not wearing Scarlet and Gray or Maize and Blue?
Urban isn’t doing this just for the good of the conference, of course. He’s doing this for the good of The Buckeyes. Rankings are still subjective and beating top-tier competition in prime-time looks a lot better than whipping a lackluster Minnesota Gopher team at noon.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It could go well, or it could further ostracize Urban. He’s clearly not on the Christmas card list of many of his B1G brethren. It’s a conversation that someone needed to have, though, if the B1G wants to be a player again. The B1G needs to overcome the perception. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Urban is just the guy to jump start the conversation as he won’t sugar coat anything.
The first topic of discussion will likely be how stupid the “Gentleman’s Agreement” junk is. It’s business, whether society wants to admit it or not. The SEC gets that and the B1G needs to get it, too.