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Ohio State football is done while Kent plays on
Terry Pluto talks about Ohio's unprecendted Division I college football scenario
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
With Ohio State's NCAA-sanctioned season finished, a surprising Kent State team gets the spotlight
Courtesy of Kent State University
Download (WKSU Only)

Few people would have dreamt that Ohio’s Divison I college football picture at the end of November would shape up like this: Ohio State will play in no bowl game, while Kent State could be playing in a big one.

Ohio State ended its season last weekend going undefeated  –  but is ineligible for a bowl game under NCAA sanctions levied last year. Meanwhile, No. 17-ranked Kent State has a chance to win this weekend’s MAC championship game and play in a BCS bowl game.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about the unprecedented scenario.

Terry Pluto commentary audio

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Pluto: Some Browns fans find fault in Sunday's win over the Steelers

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WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says he never would have guessed that in 2012, Ohio State would be playing in no bowl game and Kent State would be bowl-eligible. "If I were to write it, sanity tests would be demanded immediately."

Ohio State went undefeated this season, but NCAA sanctions from last year make the team ineligible for a bowl game. “I think a lot of peole are just mad at Athletic Director Gene Smith, and I am, too upset with the way he handled things. When you have the NCAA on campus, in your office, going through your records, plead guilty and get them out of there. And the faster you do it the better....[2011] is the year you take all your hits… but unfortunately Smith was still gambling that The Ohio State University would not be touched and hurt in so much by the NCAA. The NCAA does not like coaches lying."

When asked why Ohio State doesn't fire Gene Smith, Pluto said: “We’ll apparently [President] Gordon Gee likes him. …The programs are making a ton of money… he may be good in some other areas. But this big challenge that he faced with huge consequences for the football team was mishandled. Now you could turn around and say, Hey, he did get [coach] Urban Meyer in there."

If Kent State University wins Friday night's MAC Championship against Northern Illinois, the team could play in a BCS bowl game, possibly the Orange Bowl. "It’s just phenomenal that we’re even discussing this with Kent State…The odds of [coach Darrell Hazell] coming into such a depressed situation as Kent State football’s been for so long and to turn them around so quickly with basically players who have been there is almost unprecedented...Hazell is remarkable. Ohio State’s worst recruiting year would be considered a stellar year and worst recruits would be considered a stellar year at Kent State."

 

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