Gator Bowl Eyeing Urban Classic?
By Brandon Castel
Ohio State may not look like an attractive commodity for eligible bowl games right now, but the idea of an ‘Urban Meyer’ storyline might be too much for the Gator Bowl to pass up.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, the Gator Bowl has been waiting a long time for a chance to invite the University of Florida, and they would love nothing more than to pair Meyer’s former team against what looks like his future school.
“With the Urban Meyer-Florida connection, that would be a good matchup for us,” Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett told The Sentinel Saturday.
“We got involved in the SEC to be able to get Florida one day.”
Like Ohio State, the Gators are a 6-6 football team following Saturday’s 21-7 home loss to archrival Florida State. They have not played in the game since 1992, and they are having their worst season since going 6-6 in 1987.
They have won three National Championships since then—one under Steve Spurrier in 1996 and two more under Meyer, including one over the Buckeyes back in 2006. Meyer was 65-14 in six seasons in Gainesville, but the program hasn’t exactly thrived in his absence.
Now the Buckeyes are looking to hire the 47-year old Ashtabula native following their 40-34 loss to archrival Michigan Saturday. The Ohio State program has been in a state of flux since Jim Tressel’s forced resignation back in May.
They have dealt with suspensions, early defections and inexperience on both sides of the ball this season. After starting the year 3-3, they improved to 6-3 before dropping their final three games.
It is possible the Buckeyes could elect to turn down a bowl invitation, or even remove themselves from contention before bowls begin their selections. However, current Athletic Director Gene Smith suggest that Ohio State would accept a bowl invitation as long as the NCAA did not ban them from post-season play.
“Cannot speculate on what they may do,” Smith told the Associated Press.
“No, we do not intend to self impose a post season sanction.”
That doesn’t mean the team could not hold a vote to decide whether they would like to participate in a bowl game as a 6-6 football team (something teams have done in the past). If that were to happen, the Buckeyes would likely announce their decision early this week.
For his service in the line of duty, Fickell will likely be removed of his duties as head coach at Ohio State in the coming week. There is talk the decision could come as early as Sunday, with Meyer being introduced as the new head coach in Columbus sometime during the coming week or weeks.
At this point, no deal has been finalized between Ohio State and Meyer, who left Florida after the 2010 season for health and family reasons. Meyer has reportedly shown serious interest in the Ohio State job, where he worked as an assistant in the late 1980’s under then-head coach Earle Bruce.
Ohio State is still waiting on a final ruling from the NCAA for their violations concerning Tressel and his knowledge of potential violations committed by Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey. They have a hearing with the Committee on Infractions on Dec. 10, but should have an idea of what, if any, further sanctions they might receive before then.
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