Will Urban Meyer’s Suspension Spoil the Culture at Ohio State?
by John Luke McCord
With the fate of Urban Meyer now known at Ohio State, we can finally move forward with our projections of the Buckeyes for the 2018-19 season. With Meyer leading the program, our analytics project OSU finish 13-0 in the competitive Big 10 and make the CFB Playoff as the #3 seed. If Meyer had been fired, however, our analytics projected the Buckeyes would fall back to fifth place, in their own league.
But we now know that Meyer will only miss the first three games - all home games - against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU. Last season a Big 12 foe in Oklahoma, led by Baker Mayfield, came to Columbus and beat the Buckeyes in game two. And this fall, TCU, the Big 12 team among that trio certainly has the best chance to take Ohio State down in those first three games. While they will still be heavy favorites in the first two(Oregon State holds 56.85 HG stamp and Rutgers sits even lower at 45.73), the game against TCU is now projected as a push by our analytics(was -10 in favor of OSU).
Ohio State won’t be able to boast much more experience at QB than Shawn Robinson of TCU, and Gary Patterson(11 HG coach stamp - 3rd in Big 12) is usually able to shape up an aggressive defensive unit. In the end, though, Ohio Sate has more talent as shown by our 3-year recruiting metric(Ohio State has 95.90 stamp there, TCU has 81.03) and will likely win out with that game being at home.
But perhaps questioning whether or not Ohio State is more talented than their opponents on the field this season is not the direction we should be looking here. At the CFB HourGlass we don’t shy away from discussing the culture of a program, because we know how important of a role that can play in wins and losses on Saturdays.
In the day of social media, so much information is revealed in situations such as the one with Ohio State and Urban that has unfolded in recent weeks that everyone is able to form their own opinions. Right now, Buckeyes players are entrenched in preseason camp in effort to get ready for a crucial season ahead. But still, each player on the roster has a certain perception of the situation unfolding with their coach and their opinions are forming. And so far, the overall collection of those opinions inside that locker room has yet to be revealed. How will Ohio State players respond when the ball is rolled out and play starts on the field? What happens when adversity strikes, perhaps even before Meyer returns in week four against Tulane?
The bottom line is that questions surround this program now. A program that is projected to reach great heights on the field this fall. A program that, until just weeks ago, only questioned which of their bright young quarterbacks would emerge as a star this seasons. So, now things could go one of two ways. Sure, Ohio State players, at least for this season, could rally around this situation and play well and remained focused. Or things could go South, for a team that has little margin of error for losses, considering their expectations. Maybe the handling of Zach Smith didn’t take down Urban Meyer, but could the repercussions from this fallout spoil the culture of his great program? We’ll find out.