Panic, anger and shock. These were just a few of the emotions that Ohio State fans were experiencing when it was announced that the NCAA had assessed a one-year postseason bowl ban to the football program.
The worst-case scenario that fans were fearing could happen had finally come true. Any chance at a Big Ten or BCS National Championship in 2012 were now gone for good. The emotional roller coaster OSU fans had been riding since the allegations first came out in late 2010 had hit an all-time low.
No matter how unfair some fans may believe the NCAA handled the situation, the bowl ban is here to stay.
However, if there was any year to have this bowl ban, the 2012 season is the ideal time to serve this punishment.
The 2011 Ohio State team went 6-7 with one of the worst offenses in college football. A loss to rival Michigan for the first time since 2003, and another poor showing in a bowl game against an SEC opponent added to the misery of the 2011 season.
A team that performed as poorly as Ohio State did at times last year does not go to an instant national title contender in a single offseason.
This is not to suggest that Ohio State will not have a successful year next season. This is still a highly talented team with a schedule that plays in their favor with eight home games. However, bringing in a completely new coaching staff and offensive system will only add to the learning curve the Buckeyes will have to endure during the 2012 season.
Hiring Urban Meyer as the new head coach will ultimately lead to great things at Ohio State. He is a proven winner and has shown that by obtaining multiple national titles, while playing in the toughest conference in college football. He can also burden the high expectations that Ohio State demands from its football program.
How many games will Ohio State win in 2012?
Even as impressive as his resume may be, he still needs time to create a team that fits his style of play. Now in 2012, he has the task of transitioning a team from the Tressel era to the more aggressive and quicker style Meyer likes to execute.
Anyone who watched this team last year knows it is obvious that Meyer has a lot of work to do to get this team to a level that can compete for a Big Ten championship, let alone a national title.
The one-year ban will give him a little more time to create that type of team. The worries of trying for instant success with a conference championship and a chance to play in a BCS bowl in year one will be nonexistent.
In his previous coaching tenures, when Meyer was given a year to get the program towards his liking, he had tremendous success in his second year.
Meyer took Utah to an undefeated 12-0 season and a victory in the Fiesta Bowl during his second season in Salt Lake City. During year two at Florida, Meyer led the Gators to a convincing victory in the BCS National Championship over Ohio State.
The one-year ban also gives the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the heart and determination of this Buckeye squad.
They will get to see what players will show the effort necessary to win a national title, yet knowing they have no chance of hoisting up a trophy at the completion of the season. These are the type of players that Ohio State will need to build around in order to be a national power.
As tough as it may be to know that the Buckeyes will not play in a game after November, the biggest potential burden of the postseason ban has already been cleared by Ohio State. When the NCAA announced the one-year ban, it was first thought that the recruiting class for 2012 would take an enormous blow.
Why would the best high school athletes want to go to a team that could not compete for a championship?
Apparently Meyer and his staff had good enough reasons to convince these recruits to come play for Ohio State. The result was a recruiting class that ranked fourth in the nation, according to Rivals.
If the Buckeyes need any more motivation for 2012, they just need to look at last year's USC Trojans team. They also were going through a postseason ban and had no chance for any titles. They finished the year 10-2 and have built a potential national title squad for the 2012 season.
Ohio State may not be able to add anything to the trophy case next season, but they have 12 chances to show the nation what they are capable of doing. They have 12 chances to show why Ohio State is still a top football program in the nation. Most importantly, they have 12 chances to show what is potentially to come in 2013 and beyond.