White guy in a white shirt with football stadium seats behind him

A fantasy...

January 15, 2019.

Urban Meyer is tooling west on I-70 in Indiana in his Audi S7, tires barely touching the pavement, on his way to an interview at the University of Iowa.

He notices a solitary hitchhiker in a black Columbia coat, hunched over, looking disgruntled, holding a sign that says "Iowa." The person looks familiar. Freed from the requirement to be a role model imposed on him as OSU football coach that would instruct not picking up a hitcher, Meyer slows to take a closer look.

"Urban," the man says. "It's John. Kasich. The, uh, Governor." Meyer motions him into the front passenger's seat.

"I've got an interview for the football job at Iowa," Meyer says. "Why are you going there?"

"I'm running for president. It starts in Iowa," Kasich blurts. "The Lord has a plan for me to be president, but so far he is not providing free transportation. I lost my free security and travel expenses when my term expired yesterday. It was all secret. Taxpayers' money. A few million. No biggee.

"I thought you were staying at OSU. Assistant athletic director. Co-teaching a class on leadership and character. Helping mentor young coaches."

"Just a cover story, Gov," Meyer says. "Like you cared a wit about Ohio in your second term. All you wanted to do was run for president."

"Like you are not getting a multi-million dollar payoff from Ohio State sooner rather than later," Kasich says.

"You remember that Ohio State Board of Trustees meeting in August?" Meyer asks. "I went there expecting to be reinstated and back on the practice field that afternoon. That old fogey President Drake wanted to suspend me for the whole friggin' year. Some of the dimmer trustees backed him. I said fine, sayonara, I quit.

"They brought Shelley in to cool me. She said the players I loved were depending on me and so was my family. They brought in the athletic director, smooth as silk Gene Smith. He offered to take a suspension, too.

"Finally, they wore me down and I agreed to that inane three-game suspension, Then Smith puts that young Ryan Day in charge, passing over two former head coaches on my staff. And they made me attend that horrible press conference with Smith and Drake. I had my fingers crossed when I praised Drake. I never looked up.

"Later I realized Smith's suspension did not amount to anything. They'll make it up to him in his next contract. You know he makes twice as much as Drake."

Kasich interjects, "You made seven times more than Drake."

Meyer resumes, "Day wins three games and now he wants the permanent job. Smith says that if I keep getting headaches on the sidelines, he will put me on medical leave and Day takes over. I dare him to remove me. Not surprising we lost to Purdue and nearly to Maryland.

"Then the football gods shine on me and we whip Michigan State, Michigan and Northwestern and I go out a winner.

"When the board of trustees extended Drake's contract, gave him a big raise and praised him, I knew my days at OSU were over. The campus is not big enough for both of us. Do you want a world class football coach or a mediocre president? Ohio State wanted the latter, so I'll soon be gone. They are paying me millions to go. I made them hundreds of millions. Donors wrote big checks because of me. Students enrolled because of me. My health is fine. How long do you think Nick Saban would stick around Alabama if he were treated this way?

"Twelve of the Big Ten schools want me to interview, starting with Iowa. Only Michigan is not interested. The feeling is mutual."

Meyer is driving 90 mph, tightly gripping the wheel when looks over at Kasich. The former governor is snoring.

"You ungrateful bastard," Meyer shouts, stunning Kasich awake. "Here I did those awful television ads for you in the Ohio presidential primary. You could have stepped in and saved my job. This is the thanks I get!

"And you vetoed that paltry pay raise for the state legislature while you blew millions on political travel."

Meyer slams on the brakes. "Get out, hobo," he screams.

"Hey, I'm the prince of lightness. I'm the only adult in the room," Kasich says.

Meyer tosses Kasich into a ditch along I-70 and drives off.

 (Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman, ColumbusMediaInsider@gmail.com)

 (ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2019, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)


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