The List: Ranking the most unbelievable moments of Urban Meyer's Ohio State coaching career
Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer recently announced he would retire following the team's Rose Bowl appearance on New Year's Day. So, before Meyer resurfaces coaching for Notre Dame in two years, we thought we'd take a look at moments that left us slack-jawed during his exceptional run at OSU. On to the ranking!
7. Beating Michigan 62-39 this season
The Wolverines entered into the game with the nation's top defense and a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line, while the Buckeyes were coming off a less-than-impressive victory over Maryland. Regardless, OSU manhandled Michigan from the onset, piling up yardage and points in logging perhaps the most improbably lopsided victory in Meyer's OSU coaching career.
6. The Zach Smith saga
Ohio State coaches are used to walking away under a cloud of some kind. Jim Tressel's sweater vest unraveled amid a (now quaint-seeming) scandal involving players trading jerseys and championship rings for tattoos, while Woody Hayes' storied career ended ingloriously when he punched Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman. For Meyer, it was his piss-poor handling of the allegations of marital abuse levied by assistant coach Zach Smith's wife, Courtney. Though Meyer was eventually suspended three games earlier this season for his role in the fallout, the punishment could have — and should have — been worse.
5. The record
At 82-9, Meyer won more than 90 percent of the games he coached for the Buckeyes. It's a remarkable number, and the highest winning percentage in OSU history. O-H!
4. Zach Smith
Seriously, watching Smith continue to bluster and embarrass himself on social media in recent months, one has to wonder why Meyer felt compelled to savage his credibility in defense of this particular man, lying during Big Ten media days and following with an even more off-putting presser in which he spent most of his time apologizing to “Buckeye Nation” without once uttering the name Courtney Smith. “I'm just sorry we're in this situation,” he said at the time, revealing how little he understood the weight of the charges. (Not that this is new to football — see the NFL's “investigation” into Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was videotaped pushing and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel — or to society in general, sadly.)
Meyer walks away undefeated against the rival Michigan Wolverines, which is somehow more impressive than his overall winning percentage.
2. Winning the 2014 national title
Ohio State will always stand as the victors in the first-ever College Football Playoff, slipping by top-seeded Alabama 42-35 before steamrolling Oregon in the national title game 42-10. It's what he'll likely be most remembered for by Buckeye faithful, even though…
1. Smith, again
In making his case for why the Buckeyes should have been awarded the final spot in the 2018 College Football Playoff, which ultimately went to Oklahoma, Meyer cited the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten following what he called an “emotional year,” as though the uproar that followed covering for an alleged abuser was nothing more than another generic sports hurdle to overcome. The official Ohio State Buckeyes website celebrates Meyer's record-setting career numbers, attributing them, in part, “to developing and overseeing a program culture that requires accountability.” If he'd held himself to the same standard, this departure wouldn't leave quite as sour of a taste.