In a season that featured the NCAA making wacky and confusing eligibility rulings on everything from agent-sponsored trips to Miami to A.J. Green's jersey sale to Cecil Newton's outright pimping of his award-winning son, it just wouldn't be right to play the bowl season without at least one scandal.
So, here we go: after it was learned that five key Ohio State players (including QB Terrelle Prior and RB Dan Herron) were selling memorabilia in exchange for tattoos (I love that part), the NCAA pumped itself full of righteous fury and taught the young scofflaws a lesson they'll never forget by suspending them for five games...starting next season. Apparently Ohio State took advantage of the little known "you can pick and choose when a suspension takes place if you have a big game coming up and really really really want to finally beat a SEC team" corollary in the rulebook (one that Georgia surely wish it had known about re: the A.J. Green situation).
Personally, I'm glad the players will be on the field against Arkansas, because it doesn't allow for excuses if we win (or massive embarrassment if we lose). Plus, Hogs vs Buckeyes should be a mighty battle and it's always more fun to see each team's best go against the other's best. The whole thing mainly highlights the absurdity of the NCAA's eligibility rules more than anything else (as well as a certain lack of intelligence on behalf of the players involved).
From a Razorback perspective, this could go two ways. One, the Buckeyes are distracted and frustrated and let this nonsense take them away from the game, giving the Hogs an advantage. Two, the Buckeyes come out fired up and with something extra to prove, particularly if several of them decide to go pro (as has been rumored) and want to go out on a high note so they can presumably get more value by selling their game-worn Sugar Bowl jerseys.
The side of me that's always slightly worried about big Arkansas games (particularly of the bowl variety) feels like it's probably a bit of the latter scenario and wishes this had never happened. What do you think?