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Monday, November 28, 2011
Urban Meyer set to lead Ohio St turnaround


Five years ago Urban Meyer was celebrating his first National Championship, a victory for his Florida Gators against the Ohio State Buckeyes. As of Monday morning it is being reported that Meyer will not only return to the sport, but do so with the team he beat for that title.

This will be the fourth stop in Urban Meyer's coaching career. He had a 104-23 record over 10 seasons with Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. From 2001-10, he had five 10-win seasons, two BCS titles with Florida and a 7-1 record in bowl games.

Meyer brings credibility back to a program that failed to win the Big Ten for the first time since the 2004 season. The two appear to be a perfect match as no school has appeared in more BCS Bowl games than Ohio State, which has done so nine times. And no coach has a better record in BCS Bowl games than Urban Meyer, who is 4-0 all-time.

His .819 win percentage is the 10th-highest all-time among coaches with a minimum of 10 years of experience and leads all active coaches fitting that minimum.

Still Ohio State has a lot of work to do after it finished 3-5 in Big Ten play, the first time since 1999 that they were under .500 in conference play. In Meyer's 10 years as head coach, his teams have never finished below .500 in conference.

So what can Ohio State realistically expect in its first season under Urban Meyer?

In his first season his teams have improved by at least two games at each of his previous three stops. Even more impressive, Meyer's teams have never won fewer than eight games in his first season -- or any season he has coached for that matter.

The Ohio State offense struggled this season, ranking in the bottom half of the conference in scoring offense and total offense. The Buckeyes had the fifth-worst passing offense in the FBS, averaging just 124 yards per game through the air.

However Ohio State does return talented freshman Braxton Miller who threw 11 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions, while also rushing for more than 100 yards in three of his final four games.

Meyer has engineered an offensive turnaround everywhere he's been, however it usually takes a year for his system to thrive. In his first year at a new school Meyer's teams have ranked right around 60th in total offense. However in the second year at the school, Meyer's teams have averaged out to be about 10th among FBS teams in total offense.

In fact it is likely 2013 and not 2012 in which the Buckeyes will be back in BCS prominence. Urban Meyer went undefeated in his second season at Utah and won his first National Championship in his second season at Florida.

And for good measure, Ohio State's last National Championship came in Jim Tressel's second season at the helm, while the Buckeyes' first National Championship in 1942 came in Paul Brown's second season as well.