COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Any other year Ohio State enters its annual rivalry game with Michigan unbeaten and ranked No. 4, its fans would be hoping for a trip to the BCS title game.

Not this time.

Due to NCAA sanctions Ohio State is banned from playing for the Big Ten title and going to a bowl, and isn’t a factor in the national championship picture.

So a wondrous season will come to an abrupt and premature end on Saturday.

Many blame athletic director Gene Smith, who gambled and lost that the NCAA wouldn’t levy a bowl ban. At the same time, it’s likely that ex-coach Jim Tressel — who broke the rules that led to the sanctions — will get a warm reception at Saturday’s game.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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