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The Promise of Ever and Never

It only took a few hours for Urban Meyer's, "I'm not going to Notre Dame. Ever," to become a facebook status message, a furious email between Gator fans, or a phone call to break up a dull workday. The fact that Meyer thought enough of the bull spouted by Alabama columnists, Georgia coaches, and South Carolina's head coach says something about the way Meyer looks at these rumors.

Just like his response to the jail-Gators or aiming criticism at former players, Meyer seems to believe that he must attack any slight to the program head on. This is good and bad; you need to shine light on something in order to chase away the rumors. But, sometimes that light exposes things you don't want people to see. Meyer seemingly putting his own fan base into "with us" or "against us" after going at Matthews was one of those. As much as Meyer likes to be out in front of things, he's not exactly delicate about it.

Such is the case about his comment concerning Notre Dame. It was made at Pat Dooley's golf tournament and directed at the writers in attendance. Not to an alumni association meeting or his players or athletic director, who it means the most to. While it was nice to have something in black and white, we all know it's still bull.

College Football is a dirty game. For all the beauty and pageantry of Saturdays, the coaches and players are essentially mercenaries playing for old men in skyboxes. (To be honest, my life goal is to be one of these men.) Rules are bent to allow players to play and we look the other way when our players do things that would get our friends kicked out of school. We accept this and it is part of the deal fans and schools have made since Rutgers-Princeton.

Urban Meyer is in this category. (So is Tebow. You forget he posed in an Alabama jersey for an ESPN segment.) For all his talk of not going to Notre Dame, we know he's been a head coach in three places, and coached in four others. We know that he has spent his career jumping around from place to place. As soon as we think he is successful enough to settle down in Gainesville, we think of guys like Larry Brown (9 teams plus Kansas), Joe Torre (5 teams), and Lou Holtz (6 teams plus the Jets). Could Meyer be a job jumper? Who knows? And that is the problem. The Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler accurately notes that if Notre Dame sucks, the talk will continue. The only way Urban never goes to Notre Dame is if Charlie Weis starts coaching and they win games. Meyer's line, while reassuring, really is meaningless because there is so much out of his control. He does not control Notre Dame's record or the possibility of them offering a monster contract. He does not control what Paul Finebaum or Mark Richt (not accusing him, but he is a modern day Eddie Haskell), or Steve Spurrier say.

There is one thing Meyer does control; his contract. If Meyer wants to put his money where his mouth is, he will sign a contract that has a massive buyout clause (like $100 million) or prevents him from breaking the contract. If he plays out his contract and does not resign with Florida, he can leave or get fired. Otherwise, you can be the highest paid college football coach, with the security that Florida won't lose its investment. Until that happens, Meyer shouldn't be making promises.