Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Ezekiel Elliott celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Oregon Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 42-20. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Ezekiel Elliott celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Oregon Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 42-20. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Ezekiel Elliott celebrate after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Oregon Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State won 42-20. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas (USA Today) — Down South, they used to joke about Dec. 5, 2009, as the day Nick Saban chased Urban Meyer right out of the SEC.

It was not a theory without some validity. Florida’s would-be dynasty, coming off two national titles in three years and seemingly on the way to a third, had been stopped in its tracks by Alabama that day at the Georgia Dome. Three weeks later, Meyer retired, then unretired and instead took a leave of absence, citing health issues. A year later he was gone for good, leaving a program that had spun the wrong direction and the duty of slowing down Saban to the likes of Les Miles, Gene Chizik and Mark Richt.

But now, after Ohio State’s devastating run through the inaugural College Football Playoff, it’s time to reassess who’s chasing who. The argument is no longer destined to be Nick vs. the myth of Bear Bryant, it’s Nick vs. a contemporary rival who is 13 years younger, only one national championship behind and once again has the kind of program that looks like it could go on and on.

Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon on Monday at AT&T Stadium didn’t merely complete the greatest coaching job in the modern era of college football, it put Meyer into a different echelon. As of today, the chase is on not only to surpass Saban as the greatest coach of his time, but perhaps enter the conversation as the greatest of all-time.

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