Head coach Urban Meyer may find his seat with the Ohio State Buckeyes a little toasty after this season if OSU does not bring a national championship trophy to Columbus.
While the rival Michigan Wolverines will likely have to show head coach Brady Hoke the door if U-M fails to be more than mediocre in 2014, OSU is not going to make a switch from Meyer without a scandal. However, that isn’t to say the two-time BCS National Champion will not be scrutinized if the Buckeyes trot out another title-contending team this season and return empty-handed.
Whether or not you think that is fair, these are the type of expectations Ohio State has — and should have — for its football program and head coach.
Despite three trips to the big game in the BCS era, the Buckeyes have not won a national championship since the 2002 season and lost in consecutive title games in 2006 and 2007. While Ohio State won seven conference championships during the BCS era, their success in the conference is diminished by the fact that they were the only team to ever represent the Big Ten in a BCS National Championship Game.
With the Big Ten’s inferiority to the SEC over the past decade or so being well-documented, the ex-Florida Gators coach was brought in to give the old Midwestern bruiser OSU a new makeover designed to level the playing field again.
While Meyer obviously cannot be judged for not winning a title with an undefeated squad in 2012 because of a postseason ban carried over by the previous regime, last season’s defeat in the Big Ten Championship Game to the Michigan State Spartans was at least a minor bruise on Meyer’s big game reputation.
Though the Spartans’ victory over the Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl validated that the Buckeyes lost to a worthy opponent, Meyer still struck out with a very likely chance to put his team in the national championship game.
This season, with Ohio State returning its leader in senior QB Braxton Miller, all four of its defensive line starters and various playmakers equipped for the power spread offense, the Buckeyes appear to have what it takes to be one of the four teams selected for the inaugural college football playoff.
Should OSU find itself walking off the field with its head down in any of those games, or not make it at all, Meyer will be rightfully questioned about his inability to get Ohio State over the hump. Winning is not everything, but it is certainly the only thing Meyer must bring the Buckeyes.