COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There was only one team Urban Meyer absolutely had to scout over the weekend, and it was playing volleyball.
But even with a rare chance during the season to sneak out and watch his daughter play, a coach in the middle of a national championship race can't completely detach from football, and Meyer couldn't resist sneaking a few glimpses at times to see what was going on around the country.
Based on what he had seen from his squad and the handful of upsets and close calls elsewhere in the top 10 on an eventful Saturday that didn't include Ohio State, not to mention the chance for his roster to heal and recover while he was taking in some volleyball, Meyer's off date hardly could have worked out any better.
"I try not to [compare], but the human element gets involved when you start watching some of these teams," Meyer said on Monday. "I watched Penn State’s game, that was really one, I went to see my daughter play volleyball, but I had out my iPad and started watching it pretty close. That’s really the only one I watched start to finish, but I saw some highlights and you start wondering where you stack up.
"But then I try to click right back, don’t worry about it and just take care of business."
The Buckeyes have handled every assignment they've faced since Meyer took over without a loss, but even with their winning streak hitting 18 games and a perfect record at the midway point this season with perhaps the two toughest tests in the rearview mirror, they still appear to need a bit of help to climb into one of the top-two spots and qualify for the national title game.
Obviously they have to continue taking care of their own business and extend that unbeaten run into December, but they also could use a few more weekends like the last one as Georgia lost to fall behind the national pace, Stanford and Oklahoma both dropped games for the first time, and Clemson and Louisville posted wins that didn't do much to impress voters.
Oregon and Clemson were both singled out by Meyer during his weekly news conference as teams that had caught his eye, and the thriller between Penn State and Michigan was always a sure bet to have his attention given an upcoming date with the former and the rivalry with the latter. In some ways, Michigan's loss might have actually been a negative in terms of beefing up the strength of schedule later in the year, but even with that outcome included, the Buckeyes had little to complain about as they went back to work one day earlier than usual to get ready for a physical test against Iowa on Saturday.
"Water-cooler talk, the big topic of conversation is where are you, how’s it going, what does the future look like?" Meyer said. "Wait a minute, we’re just trying to have a really good practice. Some people laugh when I say that, but that’s the mindset. I like this team, I really do, they’re good people, guys that play hard. Where are we? I don’t know. We’re 6-0 and doing the best we can to get first downs and stop people.
"I think we’re right there. I think we’re a good team, I do."
When he wasn't watching volleyball, Meyer finally had a chance to make that evaluation when the Buckeyes weren't on the field. Even during a bye week, the winning streak seemingly kept on rolling.