For one year only, Purdue's road to the Big Ten Championship game will be a little easier than highly improbable since the Ohio State Buckeyes will be banned from the postseason in 2012. The Big Ten already established a precedent this season when they ruled that any team serving a bowl ban would be ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game. They did this in advance of any potential Ohio State ruling before the end of this season, but it now effects next year.
So what does it mean for Purdue? It probably means very little since it is against a team below us in the Leaders Division. We own them (at least at Ross-Ade) anyway, so we can naturally expect our dominance of Ohio State to continue because when you finish below Purdue in the division you're truly awful. I just don't understand why the NCAA would hit such a minor league program.
I kid, of course. I recognize that this, in the long run, is a minor slap on the wrist because the Buckeyes will come back in 2013 without having really missed anything. So they have one year where they cannot go to the postseason. BFD. They're still likely going to be one of the better teams in the conference in 2012 anyway because they always have talent and now they have an excellent coach in place to mold that talent. They lose nine scholarships for three years, but when half your team is already four and five star talent that only matters to them losing a 3-star reserve that won't even play for three years, anyway. Your Ohio State fans will make it come off as a gross miscarriage of justice, however. Observe:
Yes, how dare the NCAA punish a school for blatantly and repeatedly violating rules. How dare the NCAA punish them for blatantly cheating to recruit an overrated primadonna in Terrelle Pryor.
See, I feel exactly zero sympathy when something like this happens. I don't feel bad when it happened to USC. I don't feel bad for SMU in the 80's. I don't feel bad for OSU now. I wouldn't feel bad for Purdue if we were guilty of the same thing. You know why? My answer is derserving of all caps hyperbole, and even a bold, italicized underline: IT IS THEIR OWN DAMN FAULT!!!!!!
Everyone laments on the current players suffering by missing a bowl and in three years, if Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes in Pasadena, everyone will be waxing poetic about the wonderful turnaround he has done in Columbus just as commentators currently mention what Tom Crean is doing in Bloomington. All mentions of the reason for the downturn and punishment will be forgotten. No one seems to remember it was Indiana's fault they hired a known cheater, failed to monitor his activities, and had their program blown up because of it. No one seems to remember that USC was blatantly cheating in their case with Reggie Bush. Were these schools forced to do so? Of course not! No one put a gun to their heads and made them commit these serious violations.
That's why I can't pity Ohio State one iota. It's their own damn fault. They even had a chance this year to sit out the bowl season. I thought they would because it makes more sense to sit out the bowl season after a very mediocre 6-6 year to stave off any potential punishment than to have next year, when they will likely be a better team, rendered meaningless before it begins. Why do you think Miami declined a bowl bid at 6-6? They were in a similar position as Ohio State with a team that struggled in a lot of close games, but could make a big step forward next year. They took the punishment this year to save next year. Even then, it may not matter since their situation is worse.
So now Ohio State's season next year means absolutely nothing. It probably won't help Purdue get to Indianapolis unless we can suddenly compete with Wisconsin after years of being dominated physically. It does open things up to a second place divisional finish. Illinois will be in a rebuilding year. Penn State is a tire fire at the moment that no one wants to coach. Ohio State is ineligible, and Indiana is Indiana. Stranger things have happened, but it may mean it is our best chance for the foreseeable future to go to the Big Ten title game. Even then, I still think we need a minimum of six conference wins with one being a major upset of Wisconsin to get there. I can see us beating Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota without too much trouble. Penn State is beatable in Ross-Ade, and Iowa doesn't look like a world beater, but would we win two of three against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State? Doubtful.
So let Ohio State suffer. The other schools will get to chuckle for a year before they come back with a vengeance in 2013.