Urban Meyer Hire Good News for Nebraska
A tough conference just got tougher. Is that usually good news for other teams in the conference? In Nebraska's case, that answer seems to be "Yes".
When it became evident that Ohio State was going to be in the market for a new head coach, Husker fans had an obvious concern. Would the Buckeyes try to lure away NU head coach Bo Pelini? Not only does Ohio State have a bigger pocketbook, but as Pelini's alma mater and home state school, it might provide an emotional pull that Nebraska simply couldn't match. With a high profile hire like Meyer, that concern is off the table (at least for a few years, you'd think).
The other concern is a bit less intuitive. What if tOSU made a really bad hire? That would be great in the years that Nebraska plays the Buckeyes, but it would also be handing a free victory on an annual basis to Michigan - arguably Nebraska's chief competition in the Legends division. Considering how often these division races come down to something other than head-to-head performance, these interdivision games become important. You don't want to give a division contender any added advantage. Is it any surprise that the two teams playing in the conference championship game also drew the two easiest cross-division opponents (Michigan State got Indiana and Wisconsin got Minnesota)?
Along those lines, Urban Meyer to Ohio State also means we won't see him at Penn State (Nebraska's annual cross-division rival). There are plenty of good options for the Nittany Lions, but if the most obvious home run just came off the board then the chances of them making a great hire get lessened just a bit. Hey PSU fans, I hear Ron Zook is available.
Of course, that does overlook the fact that Nebraska plays Ohio State next year and if all goes well could face the Buckeyes in Big Ten title games in the future. On those days you don't want to face a guy with Urban Meyer's resume. Then again, Pelini went 2-1 against Meyer as defensive coordinator at LSU and never allowed the Gators more than 24 points. Even in that scenario, maybe Meyer's not a bad guy to face after all.