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Urban Meyer Heavily Favored to Coach Again in 2020; +150 Favorite to Take Over USC

Ryan Bolta

by Ryan Bolta in College Football

Updated Apr 8, 2020 · 7:16 PM PDT

Will Urban Meyer return to the sidelines next season? Photo from @CoachJimBoone (Twitter)
  • Urban Meyer left Ohio State after last season and is currently working as an analyst for FOX
  • USC (3-1) could be looking for a replacement for head coach Clay Helton if the Trojans continue to struggle in big games
  • USC has several tough opponents left on their schedule this season including Notre Dame, Oregon and Cal

Urban Meyer has done an admirable job on FOX as a college football analyst on the network’s new Big Noon Saturday pregame show the first few weeks of the season, but that hasn’t stopped the long rumored return to the sidelines next year for the 55-year-old Meyer.

With the USC job potentially opening up as the Trojans are already in the search for a new athletic director to replace Lynn Swann, current head coach Clay Helton is a sitting duck, and as long as Meyer is in Los Angeles with FOX the buzz about him being a potential replacement won’t die down.

The oddsmakers agree that Meyer’s return to coaching is just about when, not if, he comes back to the sidelines.

Will Urban Meyer Be a College Head Coach in Week 1 2020?

Outcome Odds
Yes -300
No +200

*Odds taken 9/23/19

Meyer Wasn’t Ready to Leave Ohio State

Leaving Ohio State was presented as necessary due to health concerns but that isn’t the whole story from Columbus.

Yes, the health concerns are absolutely legitimate but they’ve been something Meyer has dealt with dating back to his days in Florida. If his last season hadn’t been a rocky, awkward mess, he’d likely still be roaming the sidelines at Ohio Stadium.

Meyer was suspended three games to begin the year after he was investigated for improperly handling domestic abuse accusations against one of his former assistant coaches, Zach Smith.

The suspension upset Meyer, but he did stay on and finish coaching out the season before handing the reigns to new head coach Ryan Day. Most believe this is more of a hiatus than a retirement and if a big program came calling, Meyer would definitely pick up the phone.

PICK: Yes (-300)

Odds to Be USC Head Coach in Week 1 of 2020

Coach Odds
Urban Meyer +150
Chris Peterson +300
James Franklin +350
David Shaw +700
Mike Gundy +700
Kliff Kingsbury +1200

*Odds taken 9/23/19

USC’s National Championship Odds show they are not the contenders that the fan base expects and rumors are swirling around the future of current head coach Clay Helton as he’s disappointed since the departure of Sam Darnold to the NFL.

Meyer’s Resume Fits Prestige of USC

Despite an upset win over a ranked Utah team last Friday night, Helton is only 2-12 as an underdog and has the program operating at a level well below the national consciousness that the fan base grew accustomed to during the Pete Caroll era.

Enter Urban Meyer.

After winning titles at Florida and Ohio State, he would only return to a premier job like USC. While the results haven’t been there of late, the program has the track record and resources to fund a national title contender.

The Pac-12 seems to be the conference with the most trouble making the playoff, but a Trojans team with Meyer on the sidelines would absolutely give them the boost needed to make a run.

Which Other Candidates Could Land the Job?

Looking at the list of contenders it’s pretty easy to cross a number of them off the list. Kliff Kingsbury isn’t leaving the NFL anytime soon, Mike Gundy won’t be leaving Oklahoma State and James Franklin seems firmly in place at Penn State.

David Shaw would likely be interested but I don’t see him being a big enough win for the program for him to be the first choice. The only other name on the list is Chris Peterson, who has continually been rumored for the job at USC, enough so that where there is smoke, there is probably fire.

YouTube video

All of this is to say it seems like Meyer would be the clear choice at USC.

The school also wouldn’t have any problem matching or exceeding his salary at Ohio State which was $7.8 million per year before his exit.

If Meyer says no, USC will have other options but I think it’s quite clear he is the man they would target aggressively from the get-go. As long as his health holds up I’d expect him to be leaving FOX in favor of the Coliseum someday sooner rather than later. Bet this one and bet it confidently.

PICK: Urban Meyer (+150) 

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