Urban Meyer left massive dress shoes for Fox Sports to fill when he departed Big Noon Kickoff in order to attempt to bring the Jacksonville Jaguars into a good place. The coach-turned-broadcaster wasted no time after his 2019 hire announcing that he'd be as good on television as he was on the sidelines and established himself as the brightest star in a pregame show with big dreams and public desire to usurp some of College GameDay's market share.
It became abundantly clear that Big Noon was best served by giving him access to all the appliances, spices, salts, oils, and starches, stand back, and let him cook. Then for dessert, they could all dine in the rising tide that was his relevance in the Big Ten, which carries the crown jewel in the shape of a Michigan-Ohio State finally. Meyer was the television equivalent of catching lightning in a bottle, perhaps the most effective hire Fox has made in accordance with its ability to out-ESPN ESPN.
So there was no replacing him. Anything short of Nick Saban retiring and picking up Camera 2 in Los Angeles was going to be a bit of a step down. That's not a slight against anyone, it's reality. Having said that, though, the network should be both lauded and pleased with itself for signing the best available option in Bob Stoops, first reported by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
Stoops is not the star Meyer is, but coached at one of the top programs in the country in Oklahoma, and has plenty of success to buoy his takes. He'll also be useful in making inroads with Big 12 fans, who have arguably been underserved on pregame shows for quite some time. Will there ever be the buzz for Oklahoma-Texas pregame that there is for Wolverines-Buckeyes? Highly doubtful. Are there some gains to be made up on the margins there? Surely.
Just as Meyer got more Ohio State fans to watch the show, Stoops should bring in some Sooners faithful willing to at least try him out. He's been reliably entertaining throughout his career and his transition to the airwaves figures to be a smooth, successful one. It's good higher with a high floor but perhaps not the highest ceiling.
One thing the show needs to do is expedite and commit to a process in which homegrown talent is elevated to a known character, yet again, that took well over a decade for the competition to do.