On Thursday evening, Urban Meyer was summoned to Orlando for the first-ever College Football Playoff Semifinal press conference.
Along with Alabama coach Nick Saban, Oregon's Mark Helfrich and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Meyer addressed Ohio State's Sugar Bowl bout with the No. 1 Crimson Tide, how he subtly used the playoff rankings as motivation throughout the regular season and the notion of whether an SEC bias exists in the sport.
- As nine-point underdogs, Meyer said the Buckeyes will "take a shot and swing as hard as we can” against Alabama. “They understand the challenge ahead of them.”
- Asked what it would mean for Ohio State to upset the Tide? “I think it’s arguably the best program in America the last five years .. (it would be a) monumental achievement for a bunch of guys in Columbus, Ohio.”
- Despite publicly downplaying the playoff rankings throughout the season, Meyer said he used them as motivation for a young team that was getting better each week. “We took a different approach with a young team,” he said.
- Of course, Ohio State had to rally past a loss to Virginia Tech in Week Two: “As we started to play better, we started to throw that nugget out,” Meyer said. He added he and the staff would bring it up on Sundays/Mondays before practice: “I had a very young team and anything I can do to motivate them.”
- Meyer said: “You want to tell your children some day you played in the first College Football Playoff.”
- With a rematch against an old foe in Alabama coach Nick Saban, Meyer was asked about a loss in the 2009 SEC Championship Game which more or less marked the beginning of the end to his time at Florida: "I have a hard time remembering our phone number or our address, but I can tell you every one of those plays."
- Meyer added the 2009 Crimson Tide — which went on to beat Texas for the national championship — was perhaps the best team he’d ever faced.
- Meyer was asked about the notion of whether there's an SEC bias in college football: "I'm not quite sure what the SEC bias is. Hard-pressed not to say it's not the best league top to bottom."