Mike Bianchi of he Orlando Sentinel recently anointed Urban Meyer as the "2nd coming of Bear Bryant" and inferred that he was Bryant's superior in ability. Rejecting the inclination to question the judgment and character of so insidious a blasphemer, I thought I'd list a few of the differences that come to mind.
323 victories vs. 83 victories
38 seasons as a head coach vs. 8
37 winning seasons vs. 8
6 NC vs. 2
Every opposing coach respected Coach Bryant. Some disliked him, but few, if any despised him. The opposite seems true for Urban Meyer. To put his stature in perspective; can you conceive a coach treating Coach Bryant the way Lane Kiffin has treated Urban Meyer?
Coach Bryant never sobbed openly after a loss (UF-LSU 2005) or wept silently (UF-Bama 2005). There's no crying in the SEC, and I'm sure Coach Bryant rolled uncomfortably in his grave when he saw Urban's display.
Coach Bryant was raised by his mother (his father was an invalid) in heart-rending poverty in Moro Bottom, AR. Urban Meyer was raised in an upper middle-class (private school, trips to Europe) family with an active and athletically involved father. There is no fault in Urban for enjoying the advantages of his birth, but the hardships that Coach Bryant spited served him well in later years (see Wally Butts travesty). He knew he could handle anything life threw at him. Does Urban have the breadth of experience to persevere during hardship? Not having been tested, does he know beforehand that he will not be found wanting?
There are parrallels between the relationships between Coach Bryant and Pat Trammell and Urban and Tebow. Both won their initial NC with these QB's. Both were extremely close (the only time Coach Bryant ever wept in public was at Pat Trammell's funeral in 1968). Again, the relative stature of the two coaches is illustrated by the many joking references to Urban's and Tebow's homosexual relationship.
No one ever accused Coach Bryant of arrogance. I'm tempted to give Meyer a bye on this as the modern media circus surrounding CFB requires a coach to be tight-lipped and careful. This can be mistaken for arrogance.
Coach Bryant beat the snot outta many teams. Several times a year he would hang 60+ on a cupcake team. Still, he never had to defend himself against the charge of running up the score. His bench saw more playing time than his starters during these games. He certainly never called time out
to add a meaningless score to humiliate an opponent as Meyer did against UGA.
Coach Bryant never coached a Heisman winner at UA (he had JD Crow at A&M). Bryant certainly had the athletes, but his system of heavy substitution prevented the stats necessary for a Heisman. I think one of the main reasons for his success was this system of substitution. It gave younger players experience, preventing a large talent drop-off after starters graduated, and perpetuated depth. It helped in recruiting because a player wants to play, and he knew if he came to Bama, he was gonna see significant playing time even if 3rd string (as well as play for the NC).
Coach Bryant contended late for the NC in 20 years (60-67, 71-82) at Bama as well as 1950 at UK and 1957 at A&M. Meyer has 2 seasons of late contention (with a NC in each).