Urban Meyer vs. Tom Herman Would Be An Intriguing Matchup, But It Might Never Happen Now

By Dan Hope on May 16, 2018 at 3:15 pm
Urban Meyer vs. Tom Herman

Herman photo: Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

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When Tom Herman was hired as Texas’ head football coach on Nov. 26, 2016, an extra layer of intrigue was added to Ohio State’s future home-and-home series with Texas, then scheduled to be played in 2022 and 2023.

Although the first of two scheduled matchups between the Buckeyes and Longhorns was still six seasons away at that point, it represented the potential opportunity for Herman to face off against his former supervisor, Urban Meyer, and his former employer, having worked for Meyer as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2012 to 2014.

The intrigue for those scheduled matchups has only grown over the past year-and-a-half, as Ohio State and Texas have battled fiercely on the trail for recruits – namely five-star Austin, Texas wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who committed to Ohio State last month – and comments from both Meyer and Herman have suggested some discord between the two former colleagues.

Now, however, it appears less likely that the matchup between Meyer and Herman will ever come to fruition, as it was announced Wednesday – among other scheduling news – that Ohio State and Texas would push their home-and-home series back to 2025 (Aug. 31 in Austin) and 2026 (Sept. 5 in Columbus).

That move probably has nothing to do with the relationship between Meyer and Herman, but simply that it works out better for both schools’ future schedules. While Ohio State and Texas agreed upon their former home-and-home series in 2012, Ohio State announced in 2014 that it would home a home-and-home series with Notre Dame in 2022 and 2023, which means the Buckeyes would have had two non-conference games against powerhouse programs scheduled for each of those seasons.

With the Big Ten’s move to a nine-game conference schedule before the 2016 season, Ohio State had probably already proposed moving its series with Texas back to later dates before Herman was hired. Texas, meanwhile, mutually agreed to move the series back after announcing Wednesday that it had scheduled a home-and-home with Alabama for 2022 and 2023.

No matter when the games are ultimately played or who the teams’ head coaches are, early-season clashes between the Buckeyes and Longhorns are certain to be among the marquee non-conference games of their respective college football seasons, likely to be scheduled for nationally televised primetime slots.

Now that the first of those scheduled games between Ohio State and Texas is more than seven years away, however, it’s far more likely that at least one of the two programs will have a new head coach on their sidelines by the time the Buckeyes make their trip to Darrell K. Royal Stadium.

It’s not unfathomable that Meyer and Herman could both still be coaching their respective programs in 2025, as both appear to be well positioned for lengthy tenures at their current schools if they want them, but a lot can change in seven years.

Meyer’s new contract extension, approved by the Board of Trustees in April, stipulates that Ohio State will give Meyer an opportunity to be employed by the university in an administrative role if he remains the Buckeyes’ coach through the 2022 season – suggesting that Meyer could start thinking about his post-coaching future after the next five years.

Herman, who is just 42 years old, appears likely to still have a lengthy coaching future in front of him, but he still has a lot to prove after just one 7-6 season at the helm.

Neither school, meanwhile, has a history of allowing coaches to coach as long as they desire or leave on their own terms. No Ohio State coach has left on his own terms dating back to Woody Hayes. Texas forced one of its most successful coaches ever, Mack Brown, out in 2013 after 16 seasons at the helm, and Charlie Strong lasted just three seasons as head coach after him.

With all of that in mind, only 22 percent of respondents to a poll posted on Eleven Warriors’ Twitter account earlier today voted that both Meyer and Herman would be coaching when the Buckeyes and Longhorns meet in 2025.

If you’re an Ohio State football fan who happens to plan out your schedule seven or eight years in advance, then Aug. 31, 2025 and Sept. 5, 2026 are still two dates that you’ll want to have circled on your calendar, as the Buckeyes’ meetings with the Longhorns – the first two scheduled meetings between the teams since 2005 and 2006 – are sure to have their share of fireworks regardless of who’s coaching.

If you were anticipating a battle between Meyer and Herman in those games, however, you might want to let your hopes down, because there’s simply too much time between now and then to believe it’s probable to happen.

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