As Ohio State succeeds, Urban Meyer parody Twitter account continues to carve niche
Besides Ohio State's success on the football field, one other person has benefitted from the Buckeyes path to Monday night's College Football Playoff title game against Oregon.
Back in July, the @FakeUrban account had 10,500 followers. Going into Monday night's game, the parody account has more than doubled its followers with 22,400.
In a Twittersphere full of parody accounts, @FakeUrban has developed a niche not only for its humor but for providing a sounding board for Ohio State fans and for the way that Shelly Meyer, Urban's wife, has taken to it.
"The account has gotten a life of its own," said the person behind Fake Urban, who is a Columbus native and Ohio State graduate. "Ohio State fans and really fans in general like to gripe about something. It has been a great way for myself and other people to vent their frustrations."
The account itself was created out of frustration. On the night of the Big Ten title game of 2012, @FakeUrban took to Twitter venting his frustrations over seeing Wisconsin, and not the Buckeyes, playing for the conference title. That season the Buckeyes were 12-0 but banned from postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.
In-game tweeting started in 2013 but fans really didn't start to notice the account until after losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Tweeting during games can have its potential pitfalls, like getting discovered. Fake Urban thought that might be the case when he attended the Virginia Tech game earlier this season, but with other fans using their phones around him he blended right in.
Fake Urban is very protective of his real identity. Only 10 people know who he really is and he is doing his best to keep it that way. When he called last week, the number was blocked.
What has given Fake Urban the edge over other parody accounts though is his interaction with Real Urban's wife, Shelley. Ever since she responded back to a tweet in 2013 about mowing the lawn, the account has gained some legitimacy among other coaches' wives and parents of the players.
Shelley Meyer told Cleveland.com last summer -- "Things that I think are hilarious I want to engage in, and that's what I do. I think it's kept myself and my kids from being so paranoid about what people think about us. I know some people in our situation who tend to stay way more closely guarded, and I think they may worry, 'Oh gosh, people are going to talk about us.' People are going to talk about us anyway. So why not have fun with people?"
There may come a time eventually when Shelley Meyer and Fake Urban meet, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. For one, Fake Urban is a little concerned about coming face to face with Real Urban.
While at the forefront it is a parody account, @FakeUrban can be amazingly rational. When the Buckeyes fell behind by two touchdowns to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, he was telling the fan base to remain calm.
Even though many have tried to compare @FakeUrban with @FauxPelini, which has over 184,000 followers, the two have grown to become friends.
"It's very funny and strange to have two fictional characters talking without other people knowing each other," Fake Urban said. "I'm envious because he is brilliant and I will never match. He's envious because of my relationship with the family."
There are a few opposing fan bases and coaches who want nothing to do with the account. Among those who have added @FakeUrban to their block list are Penn State coach James Franklin, Illinois' Tim Beckman and Nick Saban's daughter.
When it comes to the championship game against Oregon, Fake Urban has had to do plenty of research to rile up the Ducks fan base. He admitted that there was a ton more material to work with when the opponent was Alabama.
"I've got a pretty good feeling about this game," Fake Urban said. "I like the way this team has responded to adversity. I think we match up real well. As long as the defensive line can stay fresh and put pressure on (Oregon QB Marcus) Mariota we have a chance.
"It really has been a fun ride this season. It was almost like a funeral happened the day Braxton Miller's injury was announced. No one knew what J.T. Barrett brought to the table. Most weren't sold until the Michigan State game. And now the way Cardale Jones has come these past two games is incredible."
Real Urban couldn't have said it better.