A bowl game is not in the Buckeyes’ future this season, but this year’s team does not seem to be lacking motivation.
“We have a very self-motivated team,” said senior defensive lineman John Simon. “We are going to take (this season) one week at a time. Right now we’re a very motivated group of guys and we’ve got a little bit of a chip on our shoulders. We are going to treat every game like it is our last.”
As a result of the tattoo scandal that forced the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach, the Buckeyes received a one-year bowl ban from the NCAA.
While it was a big blow at the time of the announcement last winter, it is no longer a point of focus inside the OSU program. Head coach Urban Meyer does not expect he will need to create a bunch of artificial sources of motivation for his team in 2012.
“We try not to look too far forward,” said Meyer. “If it’s a team that we have to (treat like a) bowl game or make it a bowl, or wear a special shirt, we’ll certainly do that. I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that, but we’ll see.”
Saturday’s game against Central Florida has been a dartboard for jokes in the media, with both teams not eligible to play in a bowl game this fall. The game has been called the “Ineligi-Bowl” by more than one media outlet.
However, the players say they have a lot to play for despite the ban.
“I can only speak for the Buckeyes,” said Simon, one of the team captains this season. “We have worked way too hard to not play for anything, so we are going out there to play for each other and Buckeye Nation and we are going to do whatever it takes to get a win.”
While the Buckeyes are not allowed to play in a bowl game and the Big Ten championship game, it was revealed Wednesday that they are eligible to win the Leaders Division. If they finish in first in the Leaders standings, the Buckeyes will be given a trophy despite the fact they can’t represent the division in the conference championship game.