Thanks to NCAA sanctions, neither Ohio State nor Penn State will be eligible for any type of postseason play — Big Ten championship game or a bowl — in 2012 and, in the latter’s case, the next three years as well.
As it turns out, however, the schools will indeed have something tangible to play for besides pride.
The Big Ten clarified today that, while both schools remain ineligible for postseason play this year, OSU and PSU will be eligible for official recognition as the Leaders champs should either win the division. If that were to happen, the school would receive the trophy recognizing it as the divisional champs.
Based on the season opener at least, the Nittany Lions likely won’t need to clear out any space in its trophy case, while the Buckeyes have the look of a team that could very well be in the thick of the divisional race throughout the season.
But, again, the chase for a trophy at least gives each school something tangible to work toward in what essentially amounts to a lost season postseason-wise.
Should either the Buckeyes or Nittany Lions win the Leaders division — or if both finish tied or one-two for that matter — the eligible team with the most wins will represent the Leaders division in the Big Ten championship game in December. In other words, Wisconsin can already book reservations for Indianapolis for three months from now — if they haven’t already.