Who ever would have thought two years ago that a couple of free tattoos would turn the 2012 college football season on its head?
That is exactly what happened yesterday.
On a Saturday that saw the top two teams in the BCS rankings fall and Notre Dame rise to the top of the college football landscape for the first time since 1993, Terrelle Pryor's impact was felt by the end of the night.
Ohio State is currently serving a postseason ban as a result of Pryor's and other Buckeye players' transgressions a couple of years back. Former coach Jim Tressel didn't help matters by keeping as many people as possible in the dark about them.
The 2012 Buckeyes are currently undefeated and favored to finish out the year 12-0 heading into their annual rivalry game with Michigan.
Had the Buckeyes not been on sanctions, they would be staring down a trip to Indianapolis where they would likely play (and defeat) the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the second time this season. That win would have set up a BCS title game between Ohio State and Notre Dame (assuming Notre Dame beats USC next week).
That scenario would also shut the SEC out of the championship picture.
The impact goes beyond the BCS title game. A Big Ten Championship for Ohio State would likely have meant no BCS bowl for Nebraska. With a loss to the Buckeyes, the Huskers would likely be outside the Top 14 of the BCS rankings, allowing the Rose Bowl to look outside the Big Ten for a more high-profile matchup for its game opposite what looks like either UCLA or Stanford. Perhaps LSU, Florida or Georgia would be making the trip to Pasadena.
Just remember this the next time you are tempted to question the impact of NCAA sanctions.
Do you hear that? That's the sound of thousands of thank-you letters addressed to Terrelle Pryor and his former teammates falling into mailboxes all throughout the SEC and the state of Nebraska.
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