Life is sometimes full of regrets.
There is no better example of that than the case of Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are in the middle of one of their best seasons in school history and would be in the middle of the BCS national championship discussion if it weren’t for its postseason bowl ban. The one-year sanction was levied on the program following an NCAA investigation centered on illegal benefits received by football players.
It’s hung over the season like a black cloud, but it didn’t have to be that way.
Imagine if Ohio State officials had the guts to make the same decision Miami officials have made the past two seasons – self imposed bowl ban.
If they had done so, we would be talking about Urban Meyer competing for his third national championship.
Think of the storylines: Meyer returns home and leads the Buckeyes from one of its darkest times to the pinnacle of college football. It’s your typical redemption story. All that would be missing is the Chris Connelly narration and it’s a ratings bonanza for ESPN.
Instead, officials decided to accept a bid to the Gator Bowl, which the Buckeyes eventually lost to Florida 24-17. Ohio State essentially took a $2.7 million payout for a trip to Jacksonville while passing up the chance for a national title and a $18 million payout instead.
Of course, who knew that Ohio State would have the type of season that it is currently enjoying?
The Buckeyes were coming off a tumultuous time having seen their iconic coach Jim Tressel step down in May of 2011. The program was left in the hands of interim coach Luke Fickell, who guided the team to a 6-6 record before the school lured Meyer out of retirement.
Meyer was hired on Nov. 28 and less than a month later the NCAA handed down its sanctions. School officials were reportedly stunned by the severity of the penalties. Some thought Tressel’s resignation would soften the blow by the NCAA, but that wasn’t the case.
Shortsightedness cost Ohio State, and the current batch of players, coaches and fans are paying for it now.
It’s gotten so bad that a group of fans are petitioning the White House to help overturn the NCAA’s ban so it could have the opportunity to compete for the BCS national championship in Miami. Something tells me the President has bigger fish to fry.
However, the news isn’t all bad.
Ohio State could still wind up winning a national championship. If the Buckeyes finish No. 1 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, they could consider it a national title.
Just like I consider my participatory ribbon in the middle school track meet proof I was a winner in everyone’s eyes. Nice try. I’m not buying it and neither are Ohio State fans.
It’s the reality of the situation. It’s just too bad nobody imagined it would turn out this way.
Don't forget about Matt's Murschel's weekly mail bag. If you have any college football questions you would like answered or just issues or players you would like his thoughts on please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.