I would like to echo Kyle's assessment in the wake of Urban Meyer's surprising resignation. Meyer is a great coach, and may in fact be the GCCOOE: the greatest college coach of our era. But his greatest accomplishment as a coach may have been realizing that his primary obligation was to his wife and daughters, and that there was little he could do to help them if he keeled over in a Gainesville film room at 2 o' clock in the morning. He deserves praise for that. Because there are few greater compliments you can give a man than to say that he has his priorities in order.
With that being said, it is impossible to ignore the geopolitical implications of Meyer's decision for the college football landscape. This is a college sports weblog, and that's what we do and what you expect. Therefore, I'd like to take a brief look at the possible effects from a variety of vantage points, including:
Athens: Suddenly the University of Georgia's search for a defensive coordinator is a much lower media priority, especially outside of the Peach State. Though of course it is no less important to us. If anything it seems more important because, well, the SEC just feels different today. Whoever takes over for Meyer will inherit a ton of talent, including QB John Brantley, already a better passer than Tim Tebow. But the SEC East, at least for the moment, is not necessarily Florida's to lose for the forseeable future. Mark Richt has the opportunity to seize control. Lane Kiffin's Vols are suddenly one step closer to the top of the SEC heap.
Speaking of supergenius ace recruiters, a variety of Florida recruits (like Atlanta tailback Mack Brown, West Palm Beach tight end Gerald Christian, and Fort Lauderdale corner Cody Riggs) may be back on the market. I suspect every recruiting coordinator in the SEC will get in touch just to check. Of course we're currently in the midst of the "dead period" in which direct contact is limited. So high school coaches and "advisors" who thought they were done with the recruiting process can now count on their Sunday dinners being disrupted anew.
Gainesville: I think Spencer Hall pretty well summed up the thoughts of Gator Nation last night. Sideways indeed. No matter who's wearing the Urbster's crooked headset next year, it's difficult to believe that the aura will be the same. As exalted as Florida's position in the college football firmament under Meyer has been, it now appears just as fragile. With no Meyer, no Charlie Strong and no Tim Tebow (not to mention a score of talented juniors mulling their NFL futures), one could forgive Gator fans for feeling as if the rug has been yanked out from under them, revealing a trap door operated by wild-eyed Japanese gameshow contestants. What happens next is anyone's guess.
South Bend: Brian Kelly is kicking himself for not dragging out his negotiations with Notre Dame just a bit longer. I hate to admit it as a Georgia fan, but Florida is likely the plum assignment in the college football universe right now. Urban Meyer personally made it so. Kelly is a Boston native whose coaching ties are in the midwest. Still, one has to believe he could have at least used this job for some leverage.
Miami: This evening Randy Shannon will sit down with his usual evening apertif of raw egg yolks, corvasier and gunpowder. When he does so, it will be as the longest serving head football coach among the state of Florida's "big three" colleges. Take a minute to wrap your head around that. It took me about twenty.
Tallahassee: Jimbo Fisher looks like the guy who just bought a rundown 2 bedroom fixer-upper in a transitional neighborhood only to find that it sits on top of a huge pocket of bubbling crude. Oh, and that Megan Fox lives next door. With recent recruiting momentum, FSU fans were already excited. Now many of them will be dizzy with the possibilities. Is it possible that Bobby Bowden retired/was forced out at precisely the right moment?
Knoxville: Some moron on Volquest is calling his buddies, both of them, to say "I told y'all he was skerred of Coach Lane Kiffin!" The other 99% of the Tennessee fanbase is engaging in a justified roll of the eyes. Lane Kiffin just got one step closer to SEC respectability just by surviving his first year on the job.
Norman: Bob Stoops' wife is thumbing through fabric swatches. She'll be either decorating a new home in north Florida or receiving the funds to upgrade one in south-central Oklahoma. Her husband is pondering precisely what kind of buyout clause is appropriate when contracting to lead a fanbase that sometimes seemed mildly disappointed to be only 12-0 in 2009, and let down to only play in the Sugar Bowl.
Memphis: Agent to the college coaching stars Jimmy Sexton just got a call from his cellphone provider explaining that when they said unlimited minutes, this is not quite what they anticipated. No one else has ever spent 16 straight hours on the line, and some other Verizon clients in the area need the nearest antenna. Sexton's Athletic Resource Management by the way represents Will Muschamp, David Cutcliffe, Frank Beamer, Nick Saban and others whose names may come up in the next few days. Personally I'm pulling for Doug Marrone.
Best wishes to Coach Meyer and his family. And to Gator fans near and far. In the end, the outcome of a college football game is a trivial matter. Family is not. Until later . . .