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I've been critical of Dennis Dodd, but this article is pretty spot on...
Massive miscalculation in 2011 will cost Ohio State dearly this season
By Dennis Dodd | Senior College Football Columnist
Oct. 10, 2012 9:33 AM ET
Ohio State might have been better off giving up the postseason in 2011. (Getty Images)
Ohio State should be competing for a Big Ten title. Squint your eyes a little and maybe they would be good enough to get in the national championship conversation. Maybe.
More to the point, the Buckeyes are 6-0 halfway through Urban Meyer's first season and, for the most part, it has been a blast. It is an undefeated season built on promise -- wow, Braxton Miller! -- and hope. Meyer seems way ahead of schedule in building the program back up to accustomed levels.
But what should be a team looking forward to Indianapolis in December and beyond has an air of wait-till-next-year about it. Since Dec. 20, we've known this season was going to be an exhibition of sorts. A write-off. In terms of titles and hardware, the Bucks would be playing for Monopoly money. And that's a shame.
Ohio State is the best team you'll never see this season -- in a bowl.
It has been 10 months since the NCAA handed down its penalties in the Tattoogate case. And with each Ohio State victory, a nagging pain has to grow a little sharper inside those crazy Bucknuts. For them and their beloved football team, it didn't have to be this way. This could have been one hell of a season in Columbus. Instead, fans might have to endure a personal hell of watching Purdue in the Rose Bowl.
Don't blame the NCAA for the bowl ban. Blame the leadership that didn't see it coming. Worse, convinced themselves it wasn't a possibility. In that sense, they were almost daring Big Brother to bring the wood.
Five days before Christmas last year, half of us couldn't believe the program had gotten off so lightly. The other half -- a lot of them in Columbus -- were outraged at the severity. Neither side read the NCAA infractions committee quite right. That happens a lot. The difference is, pundits don't have a multimillion-dollar enterprise to protect. They're not on the hook for what could be known as Ohio State's Year of the Missing Ring.
"We haven't discussed that," Meyer said this week. "That will probably be later on if we continue to have success, but that's not a point of conversation yet."
Anxiety has to be building. It's a brutal irony that bowl ban brother Penn State is not only in the same conference but also in the same division. Start your "Leaders" jokes now. King Football ruled at both places. There is no comparison between the two cases -- just a sliver of similarity in the penalties.
Penn State cannot go bowling for the next four years because a sick predator was allowed to roam free. Ohio State cannot go bowling this season because its leadership miscalculated on an infractions case. Its suits whiffed on what would have been an easy and sensible move at the time. Ohio State should have self-imposed a bowl ban last year.
Throw that season away, show the NCAA you're sorry while it is still contemplating those penalties. This is not Monday morning quarterbacking. I was calling for such a move a year ago. It wouldn't have been easy at the moment, but it would have been right for the future. The program was going nowhere in 2011. Look at the alternative. Is everybody happy with that Gator Bowl?
Meyer was hired for his championship pedigree, but you get only so many at-bats. The coach was part of three title chases at Florida -- 2006, 2008 and 2009. He won two. Based on his track record, more should follow.
Should follow. But who knows about injuries, upsets, roster shifts and the reputation of the Big Ten once that selection committee starts evaluating things in 2014? Yes, championships are fleeting. Meyer lost five games in Year 1 AT (After Tebow, 2010). Success is not guaranteed. Ever. Title chases should be valued like the crystal that is carved into the shape of that BCS trophy.
Instead, Ohio State's leadership showed scandal contrition in stages: Awkward suspensions -- first, two games for Tressel, then a total of five taken by the coach himself. Then, eventually, a firing. Returning Sugar Bowl revenue that obviously impressed no one on the NCAA infractions committee. It was chump change -- $338,000. Cutting five scholarships over three years wasn't enough. Applying a paper penalty -- vacating the 2010 season -- wasn't enough.
The school somehow found itself in NCAA double jeopardy -- going through an infractions committee hearing while dealing with an amended notice of allegations! That's not forethought. That's chaos.
And so Ohio State football is currently paying for the worst indecision of 2011. Athletic director Gene Smith and president Gordon Gee deserve the criticism along with the school's lawyers and consultants. Either they were stubborn or unaware or both.
The least Ohio State could have done was be proactive. The idea in these sorts of investigations is to get out front on them, mitigate and lessen the impact of the penalties (See: Miami, which has self-imposed a bowl ban this season).
The school made a convoluted argument to the NCAA about setting precedent with a bowl ban. One problem: When was the last time the infractions committee established any sort of pattern with its penalties?
A bowl ban would have been the best tactical decision. Assistant Luke Fickell took over as head coach of a team that was distracted and diminished. Would it have broken anybody's heart if last year's 6-7 team didn't go bowling?
Let's put it this way: How many hearts are breaking now that this team can't go to the Rose Bowl ... at least?
No one said these Bucks are perfect, but given the remaining schedule and momentum created so far, an unbeaten season looks possible. Meanwhile, Gee looks like an entitled fund-raising goof. Even if you can look past the "I'm-just-hopeful-the-coach-doesn't-dismiss-me" comment that stamped a label on the man, the school and its priorities.
You cannot ignore the fine reporting lately by the Dayton Daily News, which added more context to the story. We learned that $64,000 has been allocated since 2007 for the "branding" of Gee's signature bowties. The school president apparently entertains, travels and parties like a hedonistic rock star. The paper reported that Gee claimed $7.7 million in expenses in the past five years.
Where's the precedent for that?
The president of both Ohio State and the Bowtie Revolution was eventually responsible for signing off on the strategy that landed the football program in its current situation. To be fair, it is a tightrope walk for any school to self-impose penalties that are enough for the NCAA but not too much to damage the program. But in the end it's better to impress the NCAA rather than tempt it. Some higher-ups at Ohio State badly misread the situation.
That's why it's a shame that the program's seniors this season are playing only for the Leaders Division trophy. (At least they'll get that, according to the conference office.) But if Ohio State has the best record in the division, we already know a second-place team from the Leaders -- at best -- will be playing for the conference championship.
It didn't have to be that way. The worst indecision of 2011 assured it.
Part of me wishes we would have self-imposed the bowl ban last year, but then the other part thinks that if the NCAA wanted blood they'd have given us two years so that we were staying home this year either way. We just don't know- was the bowl ban a reaction to what the NCAA perceived to be arrogance on Gene Smith's behalf?
SMH - We've accepted it. Time to move on. Seems to be bothering those outside of Buckeye Nation more than those inside. Another opportunity to bring up the past. Move on.
I agree with JBoz. I think this year's ban would have been handed down regardless.
^^^ This.... I don't care if we would have self imposed a bowl ban or not, you can bet your ass we would have gotten one this year to boot. The NCAA was well aware that we were mediocre last year and they wanted to prove a point and inflict punishment. That was eliminating any hope for an entire season that we would be playing post season football. You can bet they were hoping that we were much improved this year, only to have it sting that much more. Ridiculous. I hate Dennis Dodd
This team is not a Natty Championship team. We will be soon but this team reminds me of the Bauserman team that fell into the national championship against LSU and got embarrassed. I like that fact that OSU can roll through the Big Ten this year and get a lot of style points. Yea it sucks we won't be able to goto the Rose Bowl but on the bright side this allows Urban time to recruit harder while fat boy Hoke is concentrating on a Cap One bowl. I could care less about the bowl game I do wish we could goto Indy though. Like other posters have stated it is in the past and I agree OSU would have been bowl banned this year even if they self sanctioned a bowl game last year.
Exactly. I think we knew that if the Buckeyes were having a good year, an article like this was bound to be written. I am sure the players, coaches and the vast majority of fans are mving forward and not playing the "what if" game. In most of the article he is just rehashing things that have been discussed and written about ad nauseam. Nothing new here. Just trying to get some jabs in there.
This post was edited by richslee 21 months ago
The way I look at it is... Its over and done with. No one can do anything about it now. So, instead of looking at this season for what it could have been, you have to look at it for what it is. Building for the future. Everyone just has to get over it. All of us sitting here complaining about it isn't going to change anything. So, why waste our time?
Totally agree! We wiffed and have moved on. A bowl ban last year would have at least punished the remaining offenders (Posey and Boom) and not this years' seniors...I know, dead horse for us...not so much for the national media.
the NCAA was gonna one up us no matter what we self imposed. We could've given ourselves a 10 year bowl ban, they would've made it 11.
President Gee has said multiple times that we would have gotten a bowl ban this year even if we had self imposed last year.
On top of that, 98% of you didn't think a bowl ban was coming. Neither did Gee, Gene, an even Urban who talked to his people at the NCAA. And had we been good last year, you all would have been pissed.
It's easy to Monday Morning QB it.
This post was edited by Jackson2340 21 months ago
While we are at it, here is Stewart Mandel's take:
OSU would get smoked in NC game. Im glad were 6-0 but lets not get delusional. This year will be a blessing in disguise. A chance to learn the system, a year for Urban to learn the conference and recruit his guys. Patience my friends.
I agree. The thing, I believe, that hurts is the lack of bowl practices for this young group. We need them to mature for a good run next year.
Amen brotha! We are banned this year. Is what it is. Lets move on. we are 6-0 and getting better game by game. No reason to keep going back to the negative past. Great times are on the horizon in Buckeye land.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
There's no possible way we won't get into the BCS championship game if Urban is 25-0 after next years' B1G Championship game.
It is time for people to move on from the sanctions.
Tressel and the tat 5 are gone.
Agreed, they should have self-imposed bowl ban last season, but no guarantee they wouldn't be serving another one this year with all the anti-OSU sentiment. By the way, how does Gene Smith still have his job?
Bauserman was not the QB
98% of us didn't think a bowl ban was coming because Gene Smith and his arrogance assured us one wasn't....
I think you can include Urbs in the 98 percentile.
Gene Smith not self-imposing a bowl ban in 2011 was one of the most egregious errors in administrative leadership history and he should've been fired as a result...
I like the fact that the press is talking about the Buckeyes. I think we have a true legitimate shot at the AP Title.
Media that has been particularly critical of tOSU are making every attempt to somehow some way keep the memory of last year current.
Pat Forde and Dennis Dodd have been two of the most outspoken writers about Ohio State and I don't think I've seen one article from either of them that has been anything short of critical of Ohio State. This one just adds to it, no one needs them to point out if we would've self-imposed a bowl ban that we would have a much more rewarding future in sight; that's pretty damn obvious even to those who aren't tOSU fans.
It's like their matter of fact tone, which is cynical at best, takes the stance that there's no next year or the year after that and that "OMG Becki, this is our only shot !". I don't disagree with what they're writing but when I read their tOSU articles I see a subliminal message which is both critical of Ohio State still and looking to bring up old events and alot of the stuff they write is damn near common knowledge so it becomes too subjective of an article.
It sucks that we have no bowl this year, but this provides two very powerful things to this team. One is motivation in the off-season and the other is more time to develop and REALLY learn Meyer's offense. These are two things Meyer will use to make this team better and when you combine that with what's going to end up atleast a Top 5, maybe Top 3, recruiting class then it adds up to an immediate and major impact the following year. Make no mistake, this team is not nearly as good as it will be in year 2 and beyond, this "buffer" year is a blessing in disguise albeit a painful one but a blessing nonetheless.
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