THERE IS no question the week's top story emanated out of Columbus.
Late Tuesday, reports began to surface that Urban Meyer had reached a deal to become Ohio State's new football coach. Those reports continue to mushroom.
Meyer maintains that he has not reached agreement to guide the Buckeyes. He is issuing those repeated denials out of respect for Luke Fickell, the program and for Ohio State's game against rival Michigan.
Meyer's hiring will be announced soon, maybe as early as today.
It is a perfect fit.
Barring stinging NCAA penalties from Jim Tressel's troubles, Meyer will quickly have the Scarlet & Gray as the flagship program of the Big Ten. I have said since day one (Memorial Day when Tressel was terminated) that the Buckeyes' hierarchy had to pull out all stops in landing the Ohio native.
That they did. Meyer will make a ton.
He ranks with Nick Saban of Alabama as college football's premier coach. His resume is astounding, if not amazing. Meyer was a big winner at Bowling Green, a huge winner at Utah and a two-time national champion at Florida in a four-year period with the Gators, before being sidetracked due to ill health.
Meyer was simply too good to pass on. It is money well spent.
He is heads and shoulders better than any other candidate Ohio State could have considered.
Meyer, health permitting, should be roaming the 'Shoe sidelines for 20 years as he has yet reached 50.
The University of Cincinnati product is a peerless offensive mind and superb recruiter. He brings something to the Buckeye grid table his predecessors did not, a built-in Florida prep recruiting pipeline. Combine that with the rich Ohio prep talent he will likely harvest, the Buckeye cupboard should soon be overflowing with five-star talent.
Saturday's loss to Michigan was disappointing, but not unexpected. The Buckeyes have never been right since Tattoogate unfolded. Moreover, they had to deal with the coaching distractions all week.
Wolverine fans should savor their rare triumph over Ohio State, they may not have the luxury for many years to come.
THE OHIO VALLEY is a special place because of the special people who reside here. Christmas time is tough for those not so fortunate or down on their luck.
Many organizations and communities have campaigns under way to aid those who need it for a more merrier holiday season. One current charitable effort looking for more support is the annual Shadyside Sharing Tree.
It was first originated by Bette Ponzo. Her passionate effort made Christmas much more enjoyable for many a need youth. Since Bette's untimely death, her daughter Melanie Haswell, has been leading the charge.
This year, Melanie has received requests to help 88 children.
Unfortunately, only 52 names have been taken, leaving a major void. Times are tough, but not too tough to help needy children.
I encourage anyone capable of helping, please do so by making a children's Christmas wish come true.
THE WALL Street Occupy protests playing out across the nation are stupid and costly. The most recent price tag has those needless disturbances as costing the U.S. $13 million. What a waste. Such a sum could feed a lot of needy people.
WHEN THE dust settles on college football's pre-bowl play, I expect Alabama and LSU will be vying in a rematch for the national championship.
I HAVE long been a Joe Manchin fan. I thought he was super as West Virginia's governor and he is now blossoming into an equally super US senator. I agree with him -- political gridlock is very frustrating. Partisanship train wrecks progress.
I AM no Rich Rodriguez fan, but I do believe he is a quality football coach. He and the Arizona Wildcats should be a good and successful fit for a long time.
BLACK FRIDAY is a marketing marvel. I cannot believe people want to stay up all night and wait for hours in often times freezing weather to save a few bucks. Black Friday is easing its way into becoming Black Thursday and Friday, as stores continue to open earlier and earlier. With that said, Black Friday is a huge positive jolt to the economy. Reports indicate that $27 billion was spent by shoppers this Friday alone.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com