After one year of running roughshod over his Midwest contemporaries, apparently Urban Meyer is already sooooo over everything to do with the Big Ten.
Either that, or he’s just plain tired of beating everybody up.
Whatever the case, Meyer took the radio airwaves on Thursday and bellowed out a message loud and clear to the rest of the conference: It’s time to step your game up.
Below is what Meyer said to Columbus radio station 97.1 The Fan on Thursday morning:
Urban Meyer tells 97.1 The Fan he will address the poor recruiting in the B1G directly with those coaches at the upcoming coaches meeting.
— jbook (@jbook37) February 7, 2013
Meyer tells the fan it's concerning about the lack of B1G recruiting when there are 11 teams in the SEC up in the top 25 in recruiting.
— jbook (@jbook37) February 7, 2013
This news- if it is in fact news- comes on the heels of Meyer’s second Signing Day in Columbus, which went about as well as anyone could’ve planned.
The Buckeyes finished with the No. 2 class in the country overall, and maybe more impressive than the sheer amount of talent that Meyer and his staff accumulated, was how they went about acquiring it. As I mentioned in yesterday’s Signing Day Recap, Meyer was able to get a land a bunch of guys he wanted early, sealing up commitments from some like Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson and Cameron Burrows months before Signing Day. He then focused the final few frenzied weeks closing on a couple of the biggest names left on the board, including four-star Texas running back Dontre Wilson and five-star safety Vonn Bell.
It’s safe to say that all is well in Columbus. At the same time, all is not well everywhere else across the Big Ten, where only Michigan finished with a Top 15 class nationally, and only the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Nebraska finished in the Top 30. If we really want to push the envelope, Maryland- which will join the Big Ten in the coming years- did finish No. 30 overall.
Still, that sorry display of recruiting inefficiency simply isn’t good enough for Meyer who apparently will make his voice heard loud and clear when the conference coaches get together this spring.
Now, there are a couple things here, the first being that Wednesday’s recruiting numbers are a tiny bit misleading. Understand that Penn State- which traditionally recruits well- was obviously hampered by scholarship reductions, and Wisconsin was slowed by a late coaching switch. With minimal roster turnover, Michigan State only had 18 scholarships to give out. It has to be assumed that in subsequent years both the Badgers and Spartans will have higher ranked classes than they did this year.
At the same time, Meyer’s concern does make sense.
Understand that when Meyer signed up to come to Columbus, he didn’t do it with the intention of winning Big Ten Championships. He came to Columbus to collect crystal balls, just like he- and his contemporaries- did, and continue to do in the SEC.
As best we can tell though, the problem lies in the following: If the Big Ten doesn’t bring in good players, they’re not going to produce good teams. And if they don’t produce good teams, it’s going to make it harder to get teams into the eventual four-team college football playoff in two years. And even if they get there, it’ll make harder for them to compete, especially against schools from the SEC (and to a smaller degree Pac-12) that are recruiting at a higher-level and playing a higher-brand of football right now.
Basically, Meyer is looking out for the overall health of the conference. Or at least that’s the image he wants to portray publicly anyway.
Of course whether Meyer actually takes these concerns to the Big Ten meetings or not, only time will tell. Maybe the mere threat of upsetting King Urban will be enough for fellow Big Ten coaches to quake in their heels and pick up their recruiting games.
Actually, you know what might be a better motivator for those Big Ten coaches?
Rather than Meyer simply berating the other coaches, it might be in his best interests to just keep kicking their butts.
After all, what’s a better motivator than getting your brains beaten in by the Buckeyes every year?
Nothing I can think of.
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