Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't cry for me, Urban Meyer ...

Gainesville Sun? Not answering your question. The door's over there.
Okay, last show tune, I promise. Besides, nobody's crying for Urban. They're doing it about Urban.

In Columbus, Buckeye fans have a long memory of what he did to them as the Gators' head coach five years ago and aren't exactly rolling out the OSU red carpet for him. My brother-in-law is a big Ohio State fan, and said when Meyer's name first surfaced as a replacement for the deposed Jim Tressel, "If Urban becomes our coach, I'll go root for Michigan." (I reminded him that the enemy of your enemy is your friend and that he'd be better suited to cheer for Michigan State.)

In Gainesville, the memories are shorter, as are the tempers. Meyer's been chastised among Gator fans for leaving the program ... and then going to coach somewhere else. Perish the thought! How awful!

Can you excuse me for a second?
I gotta go take some Rolaids.
Many claim that he faked his supposed health problems at the end of the 2009 season because he didn't want to hack it anymore and wanted a way out. While he went to lie down, Gator fans said he lied. When a grown man says he went to the emergency room because he had chest pains, I'm inclined to believe him. When he turned his guts into vinegar by trying to win in the SEC, I'm also inclined to show a little gratitude.

Gator fans, your coach is not your slave. Coaching in today's SEC means having a shelf life. You don't do it for years on end like Bear Bryant and become a legend; those days are long gone. Why do SEC coaches work so hard? It's the same reason that they are the highest paid coaches in the land: because it matters in places like Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge and Knoxville and Auburn ... and Gainesville. It's all that matters.

Because of that self-subscribed importance, it sounds like Gator fans hold Meyer responsible for being 6-6 this year. Because it couldn't possibly be that they didn't have as good of players as Alabama, LSU, Auburn, South Carolina or Florida State this year, could it?

Meyer didn't abandon UF for Ohio State. When he left Gainesville, the whole Jim Tressel firestorm hadn't even started and the job was over a year away from being open. He thought he'd be happy working for ESPN -- a two-day workweek where he talked football, something he probably does in his sleep -- but retirement didn't fit the bill. Besides, coaches who reach the top are, by necessity, professional manipulators and career opportunists. He's neither the first or last coach to say one thing and do another.

Florida fans, you won the national championship -- twice! -- with Meyer under the toughest conditions ever drawn up -- playing in the SEC, having to win the conference title and moving to the front of the BCS standings. Urban Meyer doesn't owe you a damn thing.

As for Buckeye fans, stop being skeptical. The guy has been a complete success at every level of NCAA coaching: Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. I think you're worthy of that kind of success. Let the man come and start cleaning up the mess that is Buckeye football right now.

For Florida and Ohio State fans, the 2012 season can't come soon enough.

Thought for the day: With the holidays in full swing, the TV ads are now non-stop. I must disagree with the Kay Jewelers' one. Every kiss on most Friday and Saturday nights does not begin with Kay, rather it begins with, say, a Coors Light.

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