On National Signing Day, Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer called out his fellow Big 10 coaches for not recruiting to the level that he desired. In an interview with 97.1 the Fan, Meyer said, in reference to the conference improving it’s recruiting, “It is not only important, it’s essential. It has to happen.” This comment got a lot of airtime on Wednesday with pundits questioning why Meyer would want a stronger team in East Lansing or Iowa City.
Compared to the SEC, Pac 12 and Big 12, the Big 10 did not fare well in recruiting. Of the Top 35 teams in Rivals Team Rankings, the SEC had 12. The Pac 12 landed 6. 6 classes also fell the Big 12’s way. The Big 10 only had 3. It is clear that there is a talent disparity between the Big 10 and anyone who is competing for National Titles.
But, Ohio State still recruits very well. They landed the 2nd best recruiting in the 2013 class. In 2012, the Buckeyes had the 4th best.
So, what was Urban Meyer talking about? There are two reasons.
First, the Urban Meyer needs better competition to improve his chances of playing in the National Title. For example, if the Buckeyes were bowl eligible, they probably would not have played in the BCS National Title Game. Even though the Buckeyes were undefeated, they would not have played in the National Title Game because of the strength of their opponents. Whether that is fair or not is another questions.
Second, Meyer needs the talent to be spread across the nation including the Big 10 and not funneled into the South. For example, Alabama landed a 5-star Wide Receiver Robert Foster and Florida landed 5-star Inside Linebacker Alex Anzalone. Both recruits were from the state of Pennsylvania. Although both recruits had complicated recruitments (especially Anzalone), they are player who normally stay in the “north”. The more spread out the talent is the less likely it is that one conference will dominate another like the SEC has.
Urban Meyer’s comment may be strange and unprecedented but they will be good for Ohio State in the long run. The real question is: “Does the Big 10 have desirable destinations for recruits?” That answer is unclear.