Dear Urban…I mean Meyer err…uh….Coach Meyer,
With fall camp set to open in just a few days, I felt it would be best if I came clean on a few things I’ve wanted to share with you for a while. I apologize for waiting so long, it’s just that you were moving into your Muirfield home, then I was busy with some yard-work, then you were gearing up for the spring-game, then I had to watch it. Yada Yada Yada before we knew it you were at Big Ten Media Days, and I was crying over my hydrangeas (literally crying OVER them) in a last ditch effort to save them from this drought’s death grip. A man’s yard is his temple, amirite?
Anyway, the point is we were both busy, but now that we’ve got a few minutes…here it goes.
The truth is: I hated you.
Weirdly enough, the hate actually started out as love. Back in late 2006, I thought it was so endearing when you’d show up on ESPN to jockey for your #4 Gators to be included in the National Championship discussion. “Strength of schedule” you’d say, “No rematch” you’d proclaim. But that was idle talk. Michigan and Ohio State would be playing round two in the desert and you could take that to the bank.
Well, along the way the bank failed (as they have a tendency to do) and you and your Gainesville ruffians were coming to Glendale with us. Honestly, I couldn’t thank you enough. T-Smith and the boys were a mere formality away from hoisting the crystal football, and you made the road a little easier. Instead of having to play Mike (got no) Hart and Michigan for a second time, we just had to get by you. I mean honestly, who wins a National Championship with a two QB system?
Smith and the rest of the boys shared my enthusiasm. So much so that they ate and drank and ate and drank and ate and drank to your Gator’s selection. It was all lining up so perfectly.
In the course of an evening I went from mockingly screaming “SEC SPEED!” as Tedd Ginn raced into the end-zone to turning off the game in the beginning of the fourth quarter and heading to Little Caesar’s to forget.
It was that night, in the dining room of a Little Caesar’s that I chose to hate you.
I mean honestly Coach, can you blame me? You turned my world upside down. Your 2006 Gators catalyzed a string of conference success never seen in the BCS era. Meanwhile the Big Ten was being relegated to a cold, dark and mildewy place somewhere between Conference USA and the MAC. I hated you.
But you didn’t stop there. Just a season removed from your perfectly orchestrated BCS nightmare, you had the audacity to coach up a sophomore Heisman Trophy winner. At the time I felt you held nothing sacred. I was still seeing Florida D-linemen in my sleep and you were already gunning for the jugular: Archie’s two Heismans. You had taken my team’s pride and now you were going to take their place in history. I hated you.
Heading into the 2008 season, I was a broken man. Two straight National Championship losses left me despondent, hopeless and alone. Looking for anything to get me through the days, I took pleasure in seeing your Gators downed early in their schedule at home to an unranked Ole Miss. Frankly, I thought it was hilarious, and your QB’s post-game speech was even funnier.
“You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season”
Oh yeah? Well you will never see a fan laugh harder than I did at Florida that day. A loss in late September to an unranked opponent at home? Good luck going on ESPN to explain your way back into another championship game after that one.
Not only did you go on to win another National Championship, but you also decided to have the speech I so ardently mocked immortalized on campus. Talk about kicking a guy while he’s down. I hated you.
You had one more good season, but after an 8-5 2010 outing you felt the press box suited you better. You said you were worn out. Well, who wouldn’t be after trolling Ohio State fans for 3 straight years? “Good riddance” I said, because of course, I hated you.
Well, then a few other things happened, and before I knew it your name was being bandied about as a potential Jim Tressel replacement.
Imagine my dilemma. The man I hated, possibly coaching the team I loved. It was Shakespearean.
I thought long and hard about it (at the only place a man can think: the dining room of a Little Caesar’s) and slowly began to realize what scientists have known for a while: hate and love are pretty similar. I must have missed that article in 2008. It’s hard to read with your head buried in the sand. Thanks LSU!
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it wasn’t you…it was me.
That’s why I’m writing you: to apologize. During my years of hatred I had no idea your insufferable Florida success was just your way of saying “Hey Ohio State, I’d love to come home.”
You see, I like National Championships, Heisman Trophies and goose-bump inducing speeches as much as the next guy. Looking back on your years at Florida, I realize my undying scorn was the child of jealousy. I wanted everything you had given Florida and now, we have that chance.
So it’s true Urban, I hated you, but that’s only because you hadn’t come home.
Welcome home Coach Meyer.
Any Ohio State Fan