Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had a rough day in a 55-24 loss to Iowa on Saturday.
So did “Fake Urban Meyer,” a parody Twitter account that has been up since December 2012. That account is part of a trend that continues to branch from “Faux Pelini,” the most recognizable parody account in all of college football. It’s one of those trends that has taken off with each Saturday.
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“The Pelini account came first. He is on a much, much different level than anybody else when it comes to parody accounts. He’s the best,” said the person who runs Fake Urban Meyer. “The last thing I’m trying to do is replicate what he’s doing. He is not as much as a homer as I am, especially now that Bo is coaching Youngstown State. I’ve been compared to the ‘South Park’ of parody accounts because I offend everybody.
Here is my prediction for tomorrow’s game. You may or may not be surprised. https://t.co/KvUV4p63UB
The person who runs the account spoke with Sporting News on the condition of anonymity. “Fake Urban,” as the user introduced themselves, lives in the Columbus area and owns a voice on social media that has endured both the highs and lows of Urban Meyer’s Ohio State tenure. That included a 39-38 victory against Penn State on Oct. 28 before last week’s loss to the Hawkeyes.
The account has more than 77,000 followers, and as he put it, “it got bad” last week.
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Fake Urban insists some fans mistakenly believe he’s Meyer all the time. Even if they know the difference, some have sent him messages thinking he can get in touch with the coaching staff. The common message was simple.
“Run J.K. Dobbins more!”
Another demographic that reaches out to the account is recruits. Fake Urban said he receives highlight tapes and direct messages from recruits trying to get their name out — and some who believe he is in fact the real Urban Meyer, coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“These are high schools that apparently don’t understand what the parody means,” Fake Urban said. “I think it’s fairly obvious that I’m not a member of the coaching staff. I always get links to their highlight tapes and contact info for their coach. I find that amusing. It’s odd.”
When was the last highlight tape sent to him?
“This morning,” Fake Urban said.
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So if there’s confusion, then why would this user continue the account?
Like any other fan, Fake Urban started the account as an outlet while watching the 2012 Big Ten championship game between Wisconsin and Nebraska. Ohio State finished 12-0 in Meyer’s first season that year, but the Buckeyes were ineligible to play in the championship game.
“It’s fun because I’m a football fan,” Fake Urban said. “I don’t act like I’m too much of a football fan during games. The followers that I see that I have, not only bots and spam, they range from kids in middle school all the way up to retirees. It’s really cool.”
Fake Urban said the account has evolved through the real-life Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State. That means trying to be more productive while engaging with fans, instead of trying to be a typical rant-heavy message board.
Fake Urban even does weekly predictions on 247Sports.com, and has exchanged tweets with Meyer’s wife Shelley on occasion. Fake Urban said he’s cognizant of what he tweets about the Meyer family on a forum that can be outright nasty.
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In the end, Fake Urban created the account as a means to have fun, even as part of a fan base that expects their team to win every single Saturday. Fake Urban also engages in halftime chats called #AskUrbs, and that’s where it’s difficult to find rational fans sometimes. Last week’s loss against Iowa was a prime example.
Thanks for that valuable insight, Christian. I’ll be sure to pass this along to our defensive coaches. #duh #AskUrbs https://t.co/9pYsVHpGY4
“I use that in a strange way at times to put people in their place,” Fake Urban said. “Fans think irrationally sometimes, but not everybody does. It puts some perspective and brings out that, ‘Hey, maybe the coaches do know what they are doing.'”
There’s a chance to show it this week. No. 13 Ohio State takes on No. 12 Michigan State in a battle that could decide who represents the Big Ten East in Indianapolis. Fake Urban will be ready.
And he plans to keep the account going as long as fans have fun with it.
“I never, ever thought it would be this popular. It’s a fun thing to do, and I’m not trying to be an attention-seeker with this,” Fake Urban said. “I just thought it was crazy that people were giving me advice to games and recruits are trying to sell themselves.”
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