Jim Harris: How Sweet It's Still Not for Razorbacks with Buckeyes' Newest Blemish

by Jim Harris  on Friday, Jul. 8, 2011 3:24 pm  

Ohio State will vacate its Sugar Bowl victory against Arkansas. But nothing changes for the Razorbacks. They'll still be 10-3. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

After waiting months past the time it should have done something, Ohio State now is trying to get ahead of the NCAA by penalizing its football program, including vacating all its 2010 season wins and the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas.

Some difference that really makes to the Razorbacks; it's still a 31-26 loss on the Arkansas record books but maybe it can serve this year's team as further motivation to top last year's 10-win season.

Pretty much every player involved in Ohio State's "tattoo-gate" but allowed by now "retired" (no longer "resigned") coach Jim Tressel and tOSU to play in the bowl game made the difference in the Buckeyes' win on Jan. 4.

"Vacated" or not, Arkansas is still left with the memories of one player not scooping and scoring, or some usually sure-handed receivers not being so glue-fingers that night, from the first pass Joe Adams couldn't pull in when he was behind the Buckeyes' secondary to tight end D.J. Williams' drop one play before quarterback Ryan Mallett was picked to finish things.

So, in the annals of Arkansas football history, this may have been the oddest yet good season the Hogs have ever experienced: blowing a fourth-quarter lead at home to then-No. 1 Alabama; losing a fourth-quarter lead to eventual national champion Auburn, which has had questions surrounding the way the Tigers assembled their title team led by Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and then failing to finish off its first BCS bowl appearance ever to a team that has now vacated the win along with 10 others.

Ohio State shouldn't have been there. Ohio State hid the rule breaking the entire season. Maybe Michigan State, which also finished the regular season with one Big Ten loss with Wisconsin (which was the only team to beat tOSU on the field last year) should have been in New Orleans. I'm sure Arkansas fans, well aware of the way Alabama scorched the Spartans on New Year's Day in Orlando, are asking "Why wasn't Michigan State in New Orleans?"

Parse it all you want, but Ohio State and Tressel found themselves caught up in the greed surrounding college football and hid rule-breaking. Tressel originally hid it, but his sanctimonious bosses and the head of the Big Ten, Jim Delany, didn't do anything about it when it finally became public.

Ohio State is just another cheater.

We love seeing the explaining-away from Big Ten and Buckeyes fans that Ohio State isn't a "cheating program" because it wasn't accused of buying players. That's all poppy-cock. Some teams buy players or their handlers up front; other programs have a system, and the high school prospects find out what that system is, and in Ohio State's case it's that certain folks will take care of players after they're on campus, buying their memorabilia is what we know and what no one denies, but let's not pass tOSU as being any holier than Southern Cal. Or Oregon, where the NCAA is now sniffing around hard.

The 2010 college football season -- from the Cam Newton scandal with his father seeking money from at least one school (that we know of), to runner-up Oregon's link to alleged Texas street agent Willie Lyles, to the NCAA finally getting tough with Southern Cal 6-7 years after the fact, to Ohio State vacating its 11-1 season -- now has to be the stinkiest on record.

But, with a Sugar Bowl result now vacated by the winner, the record for Arkansas amid all the foul odor was still 10-3.




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