Losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game was like hitting a brick wall for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, facing the harsh reality of being a sore loser, and having to deal with that fact for an entire offseason.
Ohio State were on a 24-game winning streak under Meyer going into that game, knowing that a win over the Spartans was probably going to put them in a game for the national title against Florida State. It was the first game against a top 10 opponent for the Buckeyes in the two seasons, and it turned out to be too much of a challenge at the moment.
Meyer, a two-time national champion with Florida and having another undefeated season with Utah, doesn’t really know what losses feel like. In 12 seasons as a head coach, his teams have lost only 24 times. Prior to the loss against Michigan State, he didn’t coach in a losing effort since November 27, 2010, as the Gators lost to Florida State.
I’ve never, no, I’ve never handled it well. Awful loser. I guess I’d rather be known as that than as a good loser. Perception isn’t something that drives me. We went on a nice run, and I kept reminding myself through the journey to enjoy this thing. Someday you might have an empty glass. You don’t want to live your life always knowing that some pin is going to pop the balloon. But I did enjoy every one of those wins.
So what’s left? Picking himself off the floor and moving on to the next season. Oh, and there’s a big game against Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Not just for him, to be in a BCS Bowl for the first time since 2010, when the Gators played against Cincinnati. Ohio State have a chance to complete a BCS Bowl game sweep and pick up a win in every single on of them, having already won the national title, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl in the past.
At 49, Meyer will be entering his third season in Columbus next year, hoping that he gets to keep most of his key players instead of taking a step or two backwards. In his mind, it’s not just about putting Ohio State on top of the conference once again, but also bringing the Big Ten back to the forefront of College Football, with Ohio State being the flag bearer for everyone else.