Under normal circumstances, a team from a major conference that goes undefeated in the regular season – no easy feat – would either play for the conference title or win it outright. A BCS bowl, possibly the national title game, would be in play.
But the Buckeyes haven’t played the 2012 season under normal circumstances.
Ohio State is serving a postseason bowl ban, the result of NCAA sanctions for players selling game memorabilia for tattoos and other improper benefits.
First-year head coach Urban Meyer could be gearing up for a possible third National Championship, but instead, the Buckeyes are hoping Notre Dame loses and the Associated Press elevates Ohio State to the top spot in their poll.
If the NCAA’s goal was to make an example of the Buckeyes, it seems like their mission will be accomplished.
Can there be anything more crushing to a team and its fans than an undefeated season, culminating in a win over their biggest rival, that still leaves them at home for the holidays while everyone else is enjoying the bowl games?
It is an incredible feat to go undefeated in the regular college football season; it’s even more impressive when the team knows it’s not playing for a postseason.
As exciting as the year has been for Buckeyes fans, they still want more. After all, they’re undefeated.
Ohio State fans even went so far as to petition President Barack Obama to pardon the team and let them play for the Big Ten Championship, and possibly the BCS title.
The White House removed the petition from its site – the president, it seems, was only pardoning live turkeys this Thanksgiving – but it would be nice to see the Buckeyes in two more games to find out just how good they are under Meyer.
With a former SEC head coach in Columbus, would the Buckeyes finally be more successful against an SEC team? We won’t find out this year.
It’s a hollow ending to a surprisingly successful season, and if that’s not incentive to play by NCAA rules, I don’t know what is.