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Where too much is never enough

For the second time in less than a year, Urban Meyer stood in front of the sports world and said he was done coaching football at the University of Florida. He said he had missed seeing his kids grow up, and wanted to make up for lost time.

Cynics sneered that Meyer said the same thing last December, when he made his (by his own admission) "knee-jerk" decision to quit, only to take it back 24 hours later. So why should he be believed now?

Perhaps because what he said, then and now, was true - only it took him 12 months to realize the whole truth. And that truth goes beyond the simple matter of putting aside all family considerations to be a head coach at a big-time college football program.

You see, Meyer coached in the Southeasetern Conference. By its very nature, SEC football thrives on excess - big stadiums, big tailgate parties, big marching bands, big budgets, big TV contracts, bigwig boosters. In short, it's just too much.

And when you're a head coach? Well, good luck there. You need to win, all the time, and God help you if that doesn't happen, every year, every week.

It certainly ate up Urban Meyer. He came to Gainesville in 2006, and that first year produced a BCS national championship. So did the third year, with a Tim Tebow Heisman trophy in between. He was on top. Life was merry.

Then came that awful moment when the 11-0, top-ranked Gators went to the SEC title game and did the unacceptable - it lost. One game. To an Alabama side that would ultimately win it all over Texas in Pasadena.

Never mind that it was the lone blemish in an otherwise sterling 12-1 campaign. The most ardent in Gator Nation grumbled. And those grumbles turned into public potshots when Florida, sans Tebow and many other departed stars, went "only" 7-5 this fall.

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