All the talk this week in the Big Ten has been about Penn State and rightfully so. Lest we forget however, the Nittany Lions aren’t the only team in the conference that won’t be going to the postseason in 2012.
Ohio State was also hit with a postseason ban after the fallout from Jim Tressel’s cover up of certain players exchanging gear for some new tattoos.
As is often the case, a new coaching staff was left to deal with the sanctions and that is something Urban Meyer is still trying to figure out how to deal with.
It won’t affect what happens with the 2012 season other than there being no carrot to dangle in front of the players given the fact there’s no reward to look forward too after the schedule plays out. Even if Ohio State runs the tables and finished 12-0, the season is over after the Buckeyes walk off the turf at the Big House on November 24th.
Urban Meyer talked about the bowl ban at Big Ten media days and how he’ll handle the extended offseason which is something that based on his comments, he’s still trying to figure out for himself.
“We’ll worry about bowl games, and one of the concerns I have — and I shared it with my athletic director — is that the preparation time when we play our last game, the kids are gone, and I’ve never had to deal with that situation as far as preparing for the following season. That’s a lot of time away from your guys.”
What he’s referring to is the break, normally reserved for preparing for a bowl game, between the end of the season and the start of winter conditioning which usually commences when players arrive back on campus following winter break.
You have to go all the way back to 1999 to find a season in which Ohio State didn’t play in a bowl. As for a Meyer coached team, his team’s have played a bowl game ever season he’s been a head coach except for his first two seasons when he was at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002.
It’s safe to say there will be some adjustments that need to be made, both for the program itself and their new head coach in its mentality if nothing else.
“I’m going to do some research, continue to do some research,” Meyer said. “Our strength coach, after our last game against our rival, you simply shake their hands, give them a hug, and say see you in January. That’s going to be hard to do, so we have to put a plan together in place, and that’s going to be for the 2013 season.
What Meyer is likely to find out there’s not much he can do. If you’re not in a bowl game, you can’t practice. Instead of going through bowl practices which some coaches use a portion of to prepare for next season, the Buckeyes preparation will largely fall onto the players themselves.
“We’ve started a leadership committee that I meet with them very often. And at the appropriate time I’m going to start having those conversations with them,” Meyer added.
While we won’t know exactly what affect the long layoff will have on Ohio State until next season, here’s guessing they’ll be just fine without it. They may not like it, but the situation could be far worse. Just ask Penn State.