Effects of the Bowl Ban

By Kyle Rowland on December 19, 2012 at 10:00a
21 Comments

Ask any Ohio State coach or player what they would rather be doing at this moment and they will more than likely tell you practicing. What does practice signify? Well, that the Buckeyes would be gearing up for a bowl game, most likely in South Florida for the national championship. 

I'll take the two recruits over there, please.Urban Meyer has Ohio State moving in the right direction.

But as we know, that’s not how Urban Meyer’s storybook first season will end. The final chapter was still filled with euphoric moments, though. Victories over Michigan will never be diminished around these parts. But two more wins during the 2012 season would have made it far more memorable.

Still, less than two years after the sun was blocked out from Ohio State’s proud football program by a dark black sky, all’s now well in Buckeyeland.

Those NCAA sanctions were viewed as too harsh and unjust by an overwhelming segment of Ohio State fans, but what was thought to be a speed bump in Ohio State’s return to prominence has instead been nothing but smooth, open road.

Undefeated seasons are the stated goal when all 123 FBS schools commence during fall camp. For Ohio State, that mission was accomplished. Conference titles are also discussed. The Buckeyes weren’t eligible, but they did capture the Leaders Division championship – by two games. Currently No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25, it appears that Ohio State can only climb one more spot.

No Big Ten championship, no national championship, no problem.

Aside from winning games, Meyer was able to install his offense. And the results were magnificent. Quarterback Braxton Miller, a Heisman Trophy contender who also became the first 1,000-yard rusher under Meyer, finished the season with 3,310 total yards and 28 touchdowns. Running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns, and one year after the team’s leading receiver finished with 14 catches, the Buckeyes’ top-three receivers in 2012 had at least that many receptions. Corey Brown (60 catches), Devin Smith (30) and Jake Stoneburner (16) combined for 106 receptions, more than 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns.

On defense, the first six games offered many lowlights. But once they hit rock bottom, the Silver Bullets quickly rose to the surface and closed out the season in impressive fashion.

That pesky postseason ban put a halt to any further progression on either side of the ball, however. When Ohio State walked off the Ohio Stadium turf following its 26-21 triumph over Michigan, that was it. Season over.

Fifteen practices were lost, as well as a week's worth for the Big Ten championship game. And for Meyer, that is a major sticking point. He harped on that fact throughout the season, even calling it “a major concern.”

To help offset the time lost, the Buckeyes were required to work out with strength coach Mickey Marotti at 6 a.m. the week after the Michigan game. Apathy would not set in for Ohio State.

Once a Michigan recruit, Conley knows what's up.Massillon's Conley committed after the Michigan game.

Bowl practices are obviously used to prepare for the upcoming game, but coaches also spend the time preparing for the following season. For instance, Ohio State could have utilized part of the time to mesh next season’s defensive unit. Improving Miller’s passing is another priority. But now the players will have to take care of those tasks on their own time.

“That’s going to be hard for us to recoup,” Meyer said. “We can’t coach them, but they can go in there on their own. Our players are going to have to do so much on their own because we’re not allowed to be with them.”

During the season, Meyer held true freshmen-only practice on Sundays to help compensate for the bowl ban. If anything, he thought, at least the freshmen can gain more experience.

At the same time, Meyer, as good a motivator as there currently is in college football, can remind his team frequently next year that they were disrespected in 2012 and didn’t even enter the national title discussion.

Some of the players that will hear that speech are still in high school. That is where Ohio State has gained the biggest advantage on its foes. Two days after the Michigan game, Meyer said his No. 1 priority had shifted to recruiting. For the rest of the nation’s coaches, that could prove problematic.

Meyer has been one of the game’s top recruiters since he was an assistant. He took that success to a new level once he became a head coach. Earlier this year, Meyer turned a pedestrian Ohio State class into a top-five group.

The 2013 class is already rated in the top 10 and will likely rise when the final rankings come out on National Signing Day. Not every team makes a bowl, but the teams that usually miss out on the postseason aren’t traditional powers with a coaching staff that is among the best at evaluating and signing talent.

Sure, Meyer and Co. would welcome a title shot in Miami. Jet-setting across the country to visit with the top high school players in the country isn’t a bad alternative, though. Since the end of the regular season, Ohio State has secured two verbal commitments. Not to mention, coaches are already reaching out to 2014 prospects.

With the recruiting dead period now in effect, Ohio State’s staff can rest easy knowing they’ve been able to spend their time wisely. Gareon Conley and Donovan Munger’s pledges have lent evidence to that.

On Jan. 5, the day of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Under Armour All-America Game, the staff will gather around the TV in anticipation of seeing what they hope is more perfection.

They’ve already tasted it once. Securing another top-flight class, combined with the current roster working together to make up for lost time, could be the beginning of a mission they all want to culminate in Southern California.

21 Comments

Comments

LouGroza's picture

Missing the extra practice time spent with the coaches is a negative for certain. But the team will be as hungry as ever and Urban the motivator, Urban the psychologist, will be able to use the disrespect and all that goes with it for 2013. The missed bowl "season" will be as integral a part of 2013 as it would have practicing for a bowl game. Just in a very different way.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Meyer wants an angry team. I guarantee he'll have one with a chip or two on its shoulder. I genuinely feel sorry for OSU's opponents in 2013.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

RBuck's picture

I don't. They are relishing in our misery as I type this.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

acBuckeye's picture

I thought 90 catches seemed a bit high. I found 60 catches for Philly.

SilverBulletNYC's picture

Agreed.

The South will NOT rise again!

rkylet83's picture

Great article.  I still disagree with the sentiment that we would be heading to the National Championship without the bowl ban, but that a useless point.  
I really hope that the players will continue to work together throughout the bowl season to make up for the lost time.  Hopefully some new leaders amerge and take charge of the team and bring everyone together to work.  

Pam's picture

There are  two undefeated teams as of now. One is going to the NCG. If we were eligible, we would be playing ND. Ohio St., undefeated from a BCS conference would have been picked over a 1 loss 'Bama from God's Conference. I don't doubt this at all.

osu07asu10's picture

Especially with the Fighting Bielema's hanging 70 on Nebraska...Urban would have made a statement too

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

rkylet83's picture

Based a little bit on how the AP voted we would probably see a similar distribution of 2nd and 3rd place votes with a few 5-10's in the coaches poll.  Couple this with how low we are in the computer rankings for the BCS I think we'd be a close 3rd behind ND & Alabama.  It angers me to think that it could happen that way, but based on all of the data that I see I can't come to any other conclusion.

MediBuck's picture

It enragens (did I just make up a word?) as well, but frankly, once I realized that those stubborn hypocrites wouldn't vote us #1 in the AP, every spot we fall will be motivation Meyer will use to create "an angry team". I hope we channel all that fury into heated player-run post-season workouts and massive blowouts next year.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

onetwentyeight's picture

I concur as well. As much as it might piss us off and as much as we feel deserving, it's more likely that our low computer rankings coupled with voters having a negative taste in their mouths from our last NCG flops wouldve resulted in 1 loss bama getting in over us. We would of course cry bloody murder and be rightfully outraged, but that wouldn't change national perception. This is why everybody here railing against "ESPN" bias and refusing to acknowledge the fact that those two NCG losses hurt our national perception a ton ultimately results in a bubble where OSU fans have a higher regard for their team than the rest of the country. We might say it doesn't matter what ESPN or the ppl who watch ESPN think, but hey in the current VOTER-based system it DOES matter. And this is an example where we would've been F*CKED over b/c of it. 
 
Thank god the playoffs are coming and all this poll-talk/perception BS this will all be obscure ancient history. 

gobucks96's picture

Having the extra practice time would have been great. However, this team installed a new system last year after the bowl game and did well with it. Having the off season to continue to add to that system should be easier than having to start from stratch...

OSUBias's picture

I think UFM is right to be concerned with the lost practices. Almost all of our defensive shortcomings came from guys being out of position or from bad fundamentals, which are both things that get fixed with repetitions. Same thing on offense with the passing game; Braxton will get more comfortable with the routes and the receivers and hopefully get speedier with his progression.
The players had a great offseason on their own and in the weight room last year. We need them to do it again, only do it 10x harder this year in order to make enough strides to be a realistic NC contender.

Shitter's full

pcon258's picture

do you think the long drought in committments that we had seen during the season had anything to do with urban prioritizing less time to recruiting, knowing that he'd have all this time now? Not sure if this is common, but there didnt seem to be any committs during the season

jthiel09's picture

90 catches ... didn't think he got that many. I'm still thinking of a few more Smith could have had (Penn State) that could have added to that total but next year should be even better.

JT

Citrus's picture

The practices would be nice. However, I am sure the "players" have organized some practices already. Not quite as good but something, and not starting from scratch like last year.

Thinking back on the season, I was most surprised by how good the offense was. I thought it would be the D winning games early. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Dougger's picture

Are coaches allowed to give the players paperwork on things they're allowed to improve on? I'm wondering what "coaching" is defined as. 
Also, i don't know about anybody else but i keep getting advertisements on the side bar for graphic design t-shirts with smoking hot girls. thanks 11w!

I like football

Nkohl13's picture

Huh... I just have some guy with a long scraggly beard. 

Oyster's picture

I have a bunch of MILF's who don't like young guys and it seems as though they want me to call them.

bassplayer7770's picture

You should be polite and call them.  It would do wonders for their self-esteem.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Besides the obvious effects, it seems to me the most puzzling effect is fans of teams that Ohio State beat up on seem to think they have the right to talk trash.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.