The Ohio State football team's past infractions have resulted in scholarship cuts and a bowl ban, but that won't prevent the Buckeyes from excelling in 2012.
According to Toledoblade.com's Matt Markey, the Buckeyes will only lose nine scholarships over the next three years. That reduction is not enough to derail the college powerhouse from adding top-tier recruits.
ESPN.com's data proves that sentiment, as Ohio State's 2012 freshman class is loaded with talent. The school has lured one five-star athlete, nine four-star athletes and 16 three-star athletes—proving that name value remains a critical component to building a winning football team.
In total, the team has 25 commits and five of which are ranked inside ESPN's top 150 prospects. These notable incoming freshmen assure the Buckeyes program a promising future.
Aside from the newcomers, it's important to remember that Ohio State has one of the most revered head coaches in all of college football: Urban Meyer.
Meyer brings a 104-23 career head-coaching record to the table, not to mention two national championships during his time at the University of Florida. If there is any coach who can get the Buckeyes back on track, the 48-year-old Meyer is the guy.
That said, Meyer voiced concern over the sanctions at the Big Ten Media Days on July 26, per Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:
“The issue is not this season. We’re going to line up and try to win every game we play. The issue is the 2013 season.”
The future may be cloudy, but the Buckeyes will certainly win their share of games this year. It's the looming scholarship cuts that could become an issue down the road. Nevertheless, Ohio State is not in a bad spot this year, even though the team finished the 2011 campaign 6-7.
With Meyer in the fold and some skill on the roster, there's reason to believe 2012 won't be a disappointment. In May, ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach assessed how Ohio State's offense will gel with a new coach:
New Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer was a big hit during spring practice when he announced his team would run a no-huddle, fast-paced offense. Meyer plans for the Buckeyes to play even faster than his teams did at Florida. Quarterback Braxton Miller seems like a perfect fit for Meyer's spread offense, but the Buckeyes will have to find playmakers to help him.
If some rising studs can come to the forefront, Ohio State's offense could return to power. With a tremendous coach and a decorated recruiting class, the Buckeyes look ready to turn the page and unveil a new era.
Ohio State won't be battling out in postseason play this year, but the team sure has a lot to play for.