Joe Podelco / The Lantern
“Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
That obscure “Men in Black” quote illustrates the past month or so of Buckeye football. Constant breaking news has surrounded Columbus’ favorite sons: Tattoo-gate, player apologies, players pledging to return for senior year, an assistant coach leaving, an assistant coach almost leaving and, of course, all kinds of reaction from the outside world.
Thus, there’s no flying under the radar for the Vest and his boys. The stakes are lofty for OSU. Arguably no other team in college football is under more pressure to win its bowl game. Some people are infuriated that the Shameful Six are allowed to participate in the Sugar Bowl. Others aren’t.
I’m apathetic, mostly because the NCAA is making up rules as it goes along. So, I’m not going to waste my time judging players who may or may not have broken those rules.
Tattoo-gate has overshadowed the game and OSU’s opponent come tonight: Arkansas. And in case anyone’s forgotten, the Bucks are 0-for-9 against the SEC in bowl games.
That said, for OSU to get a victory against the Razorbacks, it’ll have to come together as a team. Only those associated with the program know if Tattoo-gate divided the team. The players will never come out and say it, but some must be wondering if some of those suspended are getting preferential treatment.
Speaking of the players, there couldn’t be more weight on their shoulders. They’ve already experienced trials and tribulations in past bowl games.
Although not many of them experienced the two BCS title game losses, the impact of the two colossal flops still weighs on the program. Plenty of them were there for the heartbreaking loss to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl. And nearly all of them were feeling rosy after beating Oregon last January.
Meanwhile, Arkansas has been marginalized, which is, I’m sure, just how Head Hog Bobby Petrino wants it.
The Razorbacks only lost to Alabama and Auburn this year. There’s no shame in losing to the Cam Newton-led Tigers and a Crimson Tide team that dominated and embarrassed co-Big Ten champion Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.
Petrino has the Arkansas program on the rise.
Two vastly different teams will enter the Superdome tonight with different mindsets: One will be trying to salvage its season; one will be trying to vault itself into the national spotlight. Imagine what could happen tonight.