If You Can't Do it in Two, Why Not Three
By Patrick Murphy
Year two in a college football coaches tenure means a head coach has settled into his new job. The players have spent a year in his system and the coach has had the chance to teach and develop. There has been a full offseason of work done and recruits have arrived on campus.
Year two of a coach’s tenure also has some history of producing magic.
In his second year at Ohio State, Jim Tressel defied the odds and beat the University of Miami for the BCS National Championship. The coach on the losing sideline was Larry Coker, who took his team back to the title game in his second year in charge.
Urban Meyer dashed the hopes of Buckeye fans in year two at Florida, upsetting the Scarlet and Gray to win a national championship and setting up his legacy. Bob Stoops and Gene Chizik also both won national titles in their second year and Pete Carroll led USC to an 11-2 record and a win in the Orange Bowl.
For Meyer, 2013 meant his second year at Ohio State and the expectations could have blown the roof off the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The Buckeyes had completed the first year under the new regime undefeated, but were unable to play for it all due to a post season ban.
Championships were expected, but the year two magic didn't materialize and none came.
As OSU prepares for 2014, there is less talk of year three being THE year.
Meyer is working on his third offseason in charge. His recruits now litter the Buckeye roster and many are chiseled veterans, not wide eyed freshmen.
The system is in place with a senior quarterback poised to lead his team. The weapons have grown from a year ago, as it is becoming difficult to keep track of all the playmakers.
While Meyer couldn't summon enough year two magic to reach his goals, there is history to suggest that year three can be magical as well. .
Just look at college football’s premier program to find evidence of what a third year can bring. Nick Saban led Alabama to the promise land in his third year, defeating Texas 37-21.
Their undefeated season in year three came on the heels of a 12-2 season that saw the Crimson Tide upset by 11 in their conference title game before losing a disappointing BCS Bowl game. Sound familiar?
Ohio State fans will remember Les Miles’ third year in charge of LSU. Despite losing twice in the regular season, the Tigers win in the SEC Championship Game – along with several remarkable losses around the country – propelled them back to number two and a spot in the BCS Title game. There they handed Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes their second straight championship loss and made Miles’ third year one to remember.
After his successful second season in charge of the Trojans, Pete Carroll led Southern Cal to 12-1 and a victory in the Rose Bowl. This was good enough for the AP to award Carroll and USC their vote as national champions.
Meyer has little record when it comes to third years. The Buckeyes’ head coach left Bowling Green and Utah after the second season and only managed a 9-4 year with Florida as he rebuilt the team for a championship fourth year.
Those hoping for a glorious second season for Meyer and Ohio State were left disappointed.
Now Meyer and his Buckeyes will ttry to make it a glorious year three.