DALLAS — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, whose team is set to face off tonight against the University of Oregon in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game, acknowledged on Sunday that he is excited to be on the cusp of yet another Pyrrhic victory, the pursuit of which has already greatly compromised his personal health and weakened the Buckeye coach’s relationships with his immediate family.
“To get here means a lot to me,” Meyer told ESPN anchor Hannah Storm in a sit-down interview that also included Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich. “It not only means I’ve brought my players to the pinnacle of success in their sport, but it also means I’ve successfully repressed all those feelings of emptiness and depression I felt the last time I made it this far.”
Meyer, who previously won national championships in 2006 and 2008 while head coach at the University of Florida, memorably told HBO’s Real Sports last year that he did not even celebrate the second championship at Florida, instead calling recruits within moments of the game ending while his coaches and players celebrated in an adjacent locker room. It’s that familiar feeling of friendless isolation that has the 50-year-old Meyer anxious to get going Monday night, when his team will be a slight underdog against a Ducks team powered by a potent offense and looking for the first national championship in school history.
“When I stepped down at Florida the second time, and not that first time when I was really just kidding and trying to get the wife off my back, I was determined to one day return to that solitary place where I could truly be alone with my all-consuming obsession to win and that hollow feeling of depression that only comes when one realizes a personal goal at great cost to himself and his loved ones,” Meyer said while seated next to an increasingly horrified Helfrich. “And now, to be just hours away from possibly getting back to that place of empty isolation … I’m like an excited schoolgirl, Hannah.”
Though Helfrich appeared to bristle as Meyer described a personal paradise marked by desolation and anguish, others among the Ohio-born coach’s colleagues found his dream more relatable.
“Any season that does not end with me sitting in silent, shadowy segregation from my coaches and players as they pass around another shiny trophy symbolic of our collective success at realizing a nearly impossible goal is a season wasted,” said part-time University of Alabama football coach and full-time minion of Memnoch Nick Saban, who reportedly celebrated the Crimson Tide’s most recent national championship win in 2012 by somberly eating a bag of Funyuns® while mulling which of his neighbor’s three bull mastiffs to offer in sacrifice to Beelzebub.
But even Meyer admits he is getting ahead of himself, acknowledging the Ducks present a formidable foe in a game college football fans have anxiously anticipated since both teams advanced to the championship game on January 1.
“The Ducks are a great team and it’s going to be a battle out there,” said Meyer. “But if I can convince myself that disregarding my health and ignoring my wife and children for months on end is a price worth paying to win a trophy I’ve already won twice before and one that nearly everyone will forget about in a week’s time, then I can persuade a bunch of 19- and 20-year-olds they have what it takes to win on Monday night. Piece o’ cake.”