Ohio State Football: Why This Buckeyes Team Is the Best of Urban Meyer's Career

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor INovember 14, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 7:  Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes hugs his daughter Nicole Meyer after the Buckeyes defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 42-7 at Ohio Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

When you are Urban Meyer and you've won two National Championships, busted the BCS for the first time in history and have won 20-plus games in a row at two different schools, it's safe to say your resume is hard to separate.

Despite all of those accomplishments, this 2013 Ohio State team could stand the test of time as the best team Meyer has ever coached.

The list of contenders for that crown is long, no doubt.

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 1:  Utah head coach Urban Meyer is doused with Gatorade after his team's 35-7 victory over Pittsburgh in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at the Sun Devil Stadium on January 1, 2005 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images).
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It includes the 2004 Utah team, both of the Florida National Championship teams (2006 and 2008), as well as the 2009 Gators team that went undefeated in the regular season. 

Yet, with an undefeated season on the horizon for Ohio State, it has an opportunity to do some things Meyer-coached teams have never done before. 

Never before has an Urban Meyer-led team gone back-to-back seasons undefeated, had the chance to play for a national championship as an undefeated team or had a 1,000 yard running back. 

All of those things are possibilities this year.

Those are a lot of accomplishments to achieve for a single team, in a single year, but does it make this year Meyer's best?

Let's explore the numbers a bit for comparisons sake:

Best Urban Meyer Teams Stat Comparison
Category2004 Utah2006 Florida2008 Florida2009 Florida2013 Ohio State
Scoring Offense45.329.743.635.948.2
Scoring Defense19.513.512.912.417
Total Offense499.8396.1445.1457.9530.9
Total Defense343.3255.4285.3252.6311.7
Rushing Offense236.1160231.1221.8301.1
Rushing Defense140.272.5105.499.888.2
Passing Offense263.7236.1213.9236.1229.8
Passing Defense203.2182.9179.9152.8223.4
official school stats

A quick glance over those numbers, and it appears that the 2004 Utah team, while undefeated and doing good things, doesn't stack up defensively.

Therefore, we can eliminate this squad, however historic it was, from the discussion of the best Meyer teams. 

You can also see that the 2006 national champion Florida Gators don't come close to stacking up offensively, so while they will always have the crystal ball to look back on, they are out of this discussion as well.

It's now down to two Florida teams versus this year's Ohio State squad.

Statistically speaking, the 2013 Buckeyes are far-and-away the best offense Urban Meyer has ever had. It is currently averaging the most points, the most total yards and the most rushing yards by any of these teams under Meyer. 

In most of those categories, it isn't even close either. OSU is averaging 64 yards more a game on the ground and over 40 more total yards a game than the next best average from any of the other teams. It is also averaging nearly five more points a game than any of the two Florida teams we are looking at.

What's making the 2013 offense so much better then?

Call it the Carlos Hyde effect, if you will. Hyde, who has 701 yards through six games of action to date, would already have the third largest rushing total by a single player from the teams we are comparing.

Only Tim Tebow's 910 yards in 2009 and Marty Johnson's 802 yards from the 2004 Utah team would be higher than Hyde's current total.

With three games left to play for the Buckeyes this year and Hyde averaging 116.8 yards a game, he's well on his way to topping both of those numbers and his own 970-yard tally from last season.

Hyde's average would also make him the very first player to ever go over 1,000 yards rushing under Urban Meyer. 

That's a huge feather in the cap for this 2013 season, and lets not forget he does something no other back under Meyer has ever done—go Superman: 


Not only is Hyde playing the best football of any of Meyer's running backs, but, in many ways, so too is Braxton Miller at quarterback. 

He has a 72.5 percent completion rate, 1,316 yards and 15 touchdowns in six-and-three-quarters games of action. 

No other quarterback under Urban Meyer has ever broken 68 percent in completion rate, yet Miller is clearly on pace to do that. He just won't have the raw passing numbers outside of it because of his missing two-and-three-quarters games. 

Even the mighty Tim Tebow couldn't get beyond a 67.8 percent completion rate. He did that in the 2009 season, while throwing for 2,896 yards and 21 touchdowns over 14 games. Tebow averaged 206.8 yards passing a game that year. 

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats 24-51 during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The season before, Tebow averaged 196.1 yards a game passing. That's a total Miller could well reach with three games remaining in the regular season and five games remaining overall for the Buckeyes.

The biggest strike against the 2013 Buckeyes, though, is their pass defense, which is last in passing yards allowed per game of any of the teams under consideration.

It also has given up 15 touchdowns through the air already, a total that's higher than the season totals for all three of the Florida teams under consideration.

However, it's rush defense stacks up well against any of the others in this group.

It is giving up the second fewest rushing yards per game and have given up just three touchdowns on the ground this year as well.

If those numbers hold up throughout the season, this will be a rushing defense capable of standing up to the 2009 defense that featured Carlos Dunlap, Will Hill, Joe Haden, Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper. 

But, the schedule, what about the schedule? 

Interestingly, the 2009 Gators team, the one that appears to have the best statistical resume of any team, is the team that has the fewest matchups against ranked opponents. That team played just one game against a ranked team during the regular season and just two ranked opponents, period.

It won 13-3 over No. 14 LSU, but then lost 32-13 to No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship game. 

However, the 2008 Gators ran a pretty good gauntlet of teams, facing four ranked opponents in the regular season and No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

The Gators won all five of those games and did so in impressive fashion. Winning four of the five games by 30 or more points and having an average margin of victory of 32 points a game. 

Ohio State has already faced two ranked opponents and is likely to face just one more as the season continues on. They beat visiting Wisconsin by six points and went to Northwestern and won by 10 points. 

The schedule, more than anything else, could be the deal breaker in this one, as that 2008 team put together an impressive statistical and on-field record to beat. 

However, as we stand here today, Ohio State still has the opportunity to take over that title by winning out and winning either a national title or Rose Bowl.

Even if the national championship game doesn't come calling, winning a BCS bowl game as an undefeated team is still something Urban Meyer coached teams have only done once before.

The numbers are there for this year's team, and now, the Buckeyes just need to take care of business to become the best team Urban Meyer has ever coached.

*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.


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