Coach Analysis: Urban Meyer

After all of the analysis I did of a few other coaches, I decided to go ahead and plug Urban Meyer’s coaching record into the ol’ spreadsheet and see what comes out. He only has three years to go off of so far, so there won’t be as firm of conclusions to come to as with the other guys.

Keeping continuity, the games against Western Kentucky and Western Carolina have been thrown out as per the policy of sticking to I-A competition.

Here is Urban’s record broken down by venue:

Urban Meyer at Florida
Site Wins Losses Totals
Home 17 1 18
Away 7 5 12
Neutral 3 1 4
Bowls 2 1 3
Totals 29 8 37

Neutral site games are the annual Georgia game in Jacksonville and the SEC championship game versus Arkansas.

One of Meyer’s objectives when coming to Florida was to “reclaim the Swamp.” The Gators lost five home games in Ron Zook’s three years. That is far too many given the home field advantage that the stadium and fans provide, especially when you compare it to the five home losses Steve Spurrier had in his 12 years in Gainesville. By going 17-1 at home, Urban has definitely fulfilled that goal.

Not given in the table above is his performance against Florida’s three biggest rivals: FSU, Georgia, and Tennessee. He is 8-1 against them, and he is the only Gator coach to beat all three in two consecutive seasons.

For reference, Zook was 4-5 in rivalry games, though one of those losses was the infamous Swindle in the Swamp (FSU, 2003) and his loss to Georgia is understandable given that it was the week he was fired.

Here is Meyer’s performance broken down by the tier of opponent. As always, first tier means a team with a winning percentage .750 or above, second tier is .500 to .749, third tier is .250 to .499, and fourth tier is .249 and below.

Urban Meyer at Florida
Tier Wins Losses Pct. Avg. Scored Avg. Allowed
First 3 5 .375 21 23
Second 16 3 .842 36 20
Third 10 0 1.000 36 18
Fourth 0 0 N/A N/A

The worst team by record Meyer has faced was 2007 Ole Miss (3-9, .250) so he has yet to face a fourth tier opponent. Only two of the ten third tier opponents were non-conference (2005 Wyoming, 2006 UCF) and both were supposed to be better than they ended up being. So aside from the I-AA games, Meyer is doing a good job at not scheduling much from the dregs of college football.

The 3-5 record against first tier opponents is a little worrisome, though I’d much rather be losing to them than the other tiers. Also consider that all five of those first tier losses were away from home – four road games and one in Jacksonville.

Only 2005 South Carolina (7-5) was close to .500 of the teams he’s lost to, with the next worst record of an opponent he’s lost to being 9-4. However, that was also Spurrier’s first game coaching against Florida. I have no doubt knowing Spurrier’s nature that he cooked up something special for it, and again it was on the road.

Only two losses so far (2005 South Carolina and 2006 Auburn) have come at the hands of teams that finished with a worse record than Meyer’s team did, so it’s hard to find much fault with what he’s done so far. Only in 2006 did he have a deep, experienced team, and he turned it into a champion.

Meyer won nine games with divided team in transition in 2005 and another nine games with an impossibly young defense in 2007. The 2008 team looks to be better than either of those, so winning ten games is a strong possibility. After all, there is little in his record so far to suggest otherwise.


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