Will Urban Meyer and Ohio State part ways?

Can a guy who’s 51-4 in Big Ten games, a guy who has appeared in two of the first four College Football Playoffs, a guy who won his third national championship in 2014, be on the way out?

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Being ``in trouble'' might be too strong a phrase. But it’s not a stretch to say questions are being asked in troubling reports about Urban Meyer. And if you factor in everything, while a coaching change at Ohio State would be shocking, it wouldn’t be completely shocking.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Reports are circulating of ``friction’’ between Meyer and Ohio State AD Gene Smith..

There are questions about Meyer’s coaching staff.

There are the obvious observations that he’s not coaching well.

Comments that his teams have a shocking way of not showing up for certain games, most recently in the rout at Purdue on Saturday.

And myriad observations that Meyer doesn’t look well on the sideline.

It’s all starting to make me wonder if Meyer will be back on the Ohio State sideline next fall. It should make you wonder, too.

When you add in the controversy over his response to the domestic-abuse problems involving an assistant, there’s even more fuel for the fire.

And the case for change is especially convenient because Smith already has an obvious successor in place, offensive coordinator/QB coach Ryan Day, who went 3-0 as head coach while Meyer was suspended at the start of the season.

We all expect that Day will have enticing suitors lined up trying to lure him away at the end of the season. If Smith, who denied reports that Day had been unofficially anointed ``coach in waiting,’’ believes in Day, will he want to let him get away?

In this cauldron, how could you not wonder if Meyer, 54, will be gone sooner than later. He left Florida for health reasons after 2010. Another exit for health reasons would not be surprising.

Maybe this all is an over-reaction to the brutal loss at Purdue. But I think there’s more to it than that. Combined with the disaster at Iowa a year ago, this is shaping up as the second straight year that Ohio State has torpedoed its season with a performance that runs deeper than defeat.

Beyond that, when you have a team that's having trouble tackling, having trouble running the ball, having trouble showing up, putting assistant coaches in the crosshairs—this is the kind of stuff that shakes the foundation of a program.

Yes, the Buckeyes under Meyer have enjoyed an incredible run of success. But there are troubling issues that go deeper than wins-and-losses.

When you’re at Ohio State, the bar is set ridiculously high. That’s because the resources and advantages the Buckeyes enjoy are ridiculously bountiful. And because in college football, the thirst for victory is insatiable.

Then again, if Meyer beats Michigan, maybe there will be talk of a contract extension.[/membership]