When I was first given news of Jim Tressel‘s resignation as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes via simultaneous text messages from a couple of friends this morning, the first thing that came to my mind was Urban Meyer. Well played, ESPN.
Meyer, of course, stepped down as head coach of the Florida Gators following the Florida Gators’ bowl game hoping to spend more time with his family and do a little television work with the Worldwide Leader. When the news of Tressel’s problems surfaced earlier in the offseason, rumblings began almost immediately that should he resign/be fired, Meyer would be a prime candidate for the job.
Meyer expressed interest in the position in a 2008 book and has not completely ruled out a return to the sidelines in the future. I expected that Meyer would sit out the 2011 season following his 180 last year when he announced his retirement and then reversed the decision shortly after, and I also expected he’d take off 2012 with an eye to return in the 2013 season.
When the news about Tressel’s knowledge of his players’ non-compliance broke and analysts and writers began suggesting Meyer could take over at Ohio State, I had my doubts that he’d be ready to return so soon even if Tressel was allowed to coach in 2011 before prior to the 2012 season. Now that it’s a reality and the OSU head coaching job will be vacant next year, I’m beginning to believe Meyer could be very interested.
The Buckeyes need to bring in a big-name head coach to replace Tressel. Meyer would be the biggest splash the Bucks could make and he’d probably ease the minds of a lot of recruits considering OSU. Nobody knows Meyer’s thoughts but him and perhaps his family, but until Meyer releases a statement that he’s not interested in returning to the sidelines in 2012, he’ll be considered the frontrunner. And even if he does come out and deny interest, he’ll likely be the frontrunner until he shoots down interest again next summer.