COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Martin Jarmond takes over as athletic director at Boston College this week, he’ll bring eight years’ worth of memories with him from Ohio State.
One, however, stands out.
Jarmond, an associate athletic director at Ohio State since 2009, has been responsible for shaping the schedules of the Buckeyes football program into the better part of the next decade. Alongside Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, Jarmond insists he has operated independently of Urban Meyer.
“Urban has a whole lot of other things he needs to worry about,” Jarmond said.
That doesn’t mean the Buckeyes coach isn’t willing to make an exception.
Such was the case at the start of the 2014 season when Ohio State opened with a neutral-site game against Navy. After beating the Midshipmen, 34-17, the Buckeyes lost a Week 2 home date against Virginia Tech, which employed a previously unused defensive scheme against freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett.
Meyer wasn’t pleased.
While Ohio State spent the better part of its fall camp preparing for Navy’s triple-option offense, the Hokies were able to look past their Week 1 opponent from the FCS, William & Mary, and devote the majority of their attention to the Buckeyes. That prompted Meyer to speak up to Ohio State’s athletic administration, including Jarmond, who remembers the conversation vividly.
“The only time Urban ever really got mad at me was when he played Navy that year,” Jarmond recalled. “He was like, ‘Martin, don’t do that.’ Because it was right before Virginia Tech. It’s a fluky offense right before Virginia Tech.
“That was probably one of the few times in the last four years where he was like, ‘Listen, you do what you do. But don’t have me playing a team like [Navy] before a Virginia Tech or one of those major teams.’ ”
The Hokies struggled to an unimpressive 7-6 record in 2014. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, finished the regular season 11-1, but their one loss appeared to be a bad one.
By now, you know the rest of the story.
After winning the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State would go on to to capture the first-ever College Football Playoff Championship as the No. 4 seed in an unlikely postseason run. The early-season loss to Virginia Tech and preceding summer spent preparing for Navy were mere afterthoughts.
As the confetti fell inside of AT&T Stadium after the Buckeyes beat Oregon in the national title game, nobody was more relieved than Jarmond.
“Hey, we won a national championship,” Jarmond says with a smile. “It was resolve. We were bouncing back.”
You might notice, however, that when Ohio State plays Army — another triple-option team — this season, it won’t be in Week 1.