“Life is a highway. I wanna ride it all night long.” -Melania Trump
With the fabric of American conservatism riven to shreds and your stomach sated with a Polish Boy, it’s time to leave the fair city of Cleveland behind and strike out toward the spiritual and physical heart of Buckeye-dom. A trip to Columbus is simply a matter of hopping on the thrumming asphalt artery of Ohio: Interstate 71. As with the rest of Eisenhower’s shimmering ribbons of highway, I-71 affords us the ability to move swiftly between the great cities of our land while seeing nothing—unless you count porn shops, orange barrels, and the occasional Denny’s. In that case you are the exact demographic the Michigan tourism bureau is banking on, so you might consider the turnpike instead.
The nothingness of the Interstate gives a man some time to think. To ponder the past. To imagine the future. To recall the last time he ate at a Denny’s sober. Before you know it, Medina (Meh-DYE-nuh) will have slipped past in the middle distance. Virtually everything we know about beekeeping and honey production in America began in Medina, and is properly enshrined at the city’s A.I. Root Candle Company museum. Perhaps another time. The interstate traveler has no time for such frivolities.
As the exits offering the chance to be bored to tears in Ashland come and go, it seems that all this traveling has burned off the hearty Polish Boy. Fortunately for you, Mansfield is just up the road with the perfect snack: Jones’ Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips. Jones’ started in 1945 and remains a small, family-owned regional producer headquartered in Mansfield.
Our world abounds with chips. Lays. Pringles. Kettle cooked. Dirty chips. Homemade chips (always overdone or soggy...seriously stop trying people). The list is virtually endless. Jones’ chips are typically of the wavy cut variety with wide wales—often described in midwestern parlance as “marcelled”. However you prefer your chips cut, Jones’ Salt & Vinegar are the greatest potato chips on earth. No other vinegar chip comes close to Jones’ tongue-searing level of vinegar flavor. They’re divine.
Eat them quickly so your taste buds can recover by the time you reach Columbus. No, I’m not kidding. The effect lasts for quite some time. Onward to Cbus.
Speaking of Lasting for a Long Time...
Like any great coach, Urban Meyer has his fair share of detractors (or “haters” as the kids say). Whenever his teams encounter difficulty--such as not winning a national championship--the frothy-mouthed rabble of the internet trot out the tired “Is he going to feel sick again?” joke. It’s a crowd favorite, especially if you're from one of those states that insists on using every part of the pig and calling cuisine.
Kidding aside no man coaches forever. How long does Urban Meyer last at OSU? How long does your team’s coach last, and who would you choose as a replacement?
Al NamiasIV: Meyer will last for a while because unlike the SEC, he's got no real competition for the No. 1 spot. The book is still out on Harbaugh and there is always ever-dangerous Rutgers. But if Harbaugh and Franklin do knock Meyer off his perch, yeah, he can always get sick again.
Ferentz will probably hang around another recruiting cycle (4 years) and hang them up. Hard to say who I'd choose as a replacement. It would have to be someone who knows what it takes to win at Iowa and who won't alienate the fanbase. A lot of Iowa fans want(ed) Bret Bielema before last year, but he wasn't well-liked in Madison, despite the wins. He’d have been despised in Iowa City.
C4B: Urbz can probably coach at Ohio State for as long as he wants, provided he doesn’t get embroiled into some kind of scandal, and provided that his health holds up. I would love if Kevin Wilson stays the coach at IU for a couple of decades as long as he keeps having success, but I somehow doubt he’ll stay that long, for one reason or another.
Zuzu: I see Meyer going all Nick Saban on Ohio State and staying there and winning until the universe implodes. Don’t know how Ash is as a head coach yet, but as a Rutgers fan I hope he is the coach we need and I hope he himself looks to stay and build Rutgers long term rather than view us as a stepping stone to a bigger program. It’d be nice to get a Dantonio out of Ash.
MNW: “If Harbaugh and Franklin knock him off his perch…”
Al, I love ya, but you’re fucking insane if you think Franklin’s doing it any time soon. Let us remember that he is James Franklin, Noted Not Very Good Coach. I did enjoy the Rutgers joke, though.
I can see there being some potential trouble with Meyer if Harbaugh and Dantonio both continue their successes, and I can see that triangle of death turning into something where at least 1, if not 2 of the 3 burn themselves out keeping up with the Joneses. A scandal among one of the three would probably do that. Put me down for that being the thing that takes down Urban, if anything does.
Pat Fitzgerald is our JoePa--wait, no, that comparison doesn’t work anymore. But put me down for a similar rate of longevity for Fitz. Barring any massive change to the way Northwestern funds or supports athletes, if Fitz can maintain bowl eligibility about 7-8 years out of every 10 (which he did 7 times in his first decade), he’s a lifer at Northwestern. I don’t buy any of the hack pieces sending him to Penn State or Michigan or Texas or whatever, but perhaps I’m just in too deep. When the time comes (hopefully in a couple decades) to replace him, I can see some Northwestern graduate who went off and cut his teeth elsewhere or came on staff with the ‘Cats getting the nod. It’s not quite a cult of personality (because as far as I know, we’re still pretty critical of Fitz), but I have a feeling he wants some other player of his to have exactly what he got under Randy Walker (minus the untimely death).
Aaron Yorke: Is this right? Urban Meyer is only 52 years old? Jeez, he can stay at Ohio State for another decade at least as long as he can fight the urge to flee to the NFL. I’m going to go ahead and say he does just that.
As for terrible, horrible, no good James Franklin, he’ll either get fired after winning four games this year or go on to have a nice, long, mediocre career at Penn State. Or maybe he’ll even surpass expectations and win a Big Ten title or two during a long tenure. My guess is he hangs on for eight more years, wins a Big Ten championship, loses in the Rose Bowl, and leaves to become the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jesse: I’m not sure Urban is going anywhere. It’s a place he seems to enjoy, doing work that he can excel at, and enjoying the fruits of a giant B1G paycheck. Outside of needing some weird ‘crown jewel’ of NFL coaching in his back pocket - or more realistically some strange NCAA infraction coming down the line he needs to get away from - I just don’t buy him getting out of Columbus for a while.
As for Mike Riley. I give him a few years. This was always going to be a five year gig for him, I think. He’s in a place where he wants to do something big and this was his chance at the ‘name’ school he turned down. Sure, Nebraska isn’t what it used to be, but it sure as hell beats Corvallis. That said, he needs to show some real deal improvement and keep those recruits excited to stick around. As for who I would replace him with? I mean, as a Nebraskan, is it legal to say anybody but Scott Frost [/dies a little inside].
Townie: I’m a fan of longevity for good coaches. I’ve watched teams nitpick coaches, criticising them over every decision. It’s hard to succeed in that kind of environment. By all accounts, Meyer’s tenure at UF was plagued with “what have y’all done for me lately” attitude.
Any season that ended short of the SEC championship and a national title was considered a failure. Which is bullshit. Any rational fan knows that. Even most irrational fans understand that no team wins the national championship every year.
But the UF boosters aren’t fans. And they aren’t rational. If feigned sickness was his best route out...good for him. He got out of that cesspool.
That shouldn’t be the case for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. He’s proven that he can recruit, coach, and manage a high-level college football program. If you let him be...don’t nitpick the shit out of him...he shouldn’t get “sick” at Ohio State.
As for Penn State, I think we all know Joe stayed too long. I wanted him to go when he wanted, but that was wrong. I don’t see Franklin staying too long. Either he’ll flame out like Aaron suggested, or he’ll do well and seek greener pastures.
Here’s what I think about college football coaches. No one lives forever. No one should coach forever. But by all means, get a great coach and keep him for a long time. Your team will improve, your fans will improve, and if you are lucky, you’ll win some championships too.
Stew: I think Urbz is around for a while, yet. He’s relatively young, and he can do anything he wants at OSU. He’s unlikely to run off to the NFL. Also, he’s comes off as a bit of a football maniac. My bet is he lasts close to a decade.
As for Ferentz, Al is likely right that he’s around for another recruiting cycle. There’s some talk about the replacement being Brian Ferentz, which...is kinda bleh. I was all aboard getting Bert to come home. Not sure about that so much in 4 years, I wouldn’t necessarily be against it, though.