Urban Meyer will be an analyst on the ESPN telecast of the Auburn-Clemson game Saturday, and Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News makes a great point: Given the recent history between Meyer and Auburn, should the former Florida coach really be in the booth for this one?
In the spring of 2009, after Auburn hit the road in its Tiger Prowl recruiting limos, Meyer told the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun that the NCAA should investigate. He also took a few shots at Auburn’s tires.
“We’re trying to sell graduation rates and academics and trying the sing and dance routine,” he said.
What a very Urban Meyer thing to say.
In December of 2010, Meyer was the only SEC coach with a vote that didn’t put Auburn No. 1 on his final regular-season ballot in the USA Today poll. He put Oregon first and Auburn second.
Solidarity among league coaches mattered not to Meyer … probably because that unbeaten Auburn team starred one of his former players, Cam Newton. Which leads to the real reason Meyer shouldn’t be anywhere near this game:
But those slights pale next to the role Meyer may have played as a wizard behind the curtain of the Cecil Newton-Kenny Rogers story last fall.
According to multiple news reports, before that story broke, Meyer had vowed on a three-way call with his protege, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, and former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond to tell it to The New York Times and ESPN.
Who broke the story of Newton and Rogers asking for money from Mississippi State boosters, Bond included, to send Cam Newton to State? The Times and ESPN.
That story, as the NCAA later confirmed, was right.
Auburn fans, predictably, are not thrilled with ESPN’s decision. [Birmingham News via Commenter Rich]