Ohio University's Bobcats spent Christmas in Louisiana this week as they prepare for the 2012 Independence Bowl Friday against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
Meanwhile, despite a perfect 12-0 season, the Buckeyes of Ohio State University are staying home, having been banned by the NCAA from participating in a bowl game this year.
It's a bittersweet situation for area football fans.
"I'm tickled to death that OU is going to a bowl game again this year," said Tom Treadway of Marietta.
"But it's a shame for the OSU program that they're prevented from going to a bowl game," he added. "I figure they'll be back next year if they don't shoot themselves in the foot."
The NCAA banned the OSU Buckeyes from bowl play this year in the wake of a scandal that began in 2010 with allegations that players were selling team memorabilia and eventually ended coach Jim Tressel's job and tenure at OSU.
OU bowl-bound - OSU stays home:
- Ohio University's Bobcats will face off against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in the 2012 Independence Bowl Friday, Dec. 28, at 2 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN.
- Warren High School grad and OU freshman Grant Venham is the Bobcats' punter.
- This will be the Bobcats' fourth bowl game in a row.
- Though undefeated during regular season play this year, the Ohio State University Buckeyes were banned by the NCAA in 2011 from post season play, including bowl games, in the 2012 season.
- The ban stemmed from incidents initially uncovered in April 2010, alleging players were selling memorabilia or trading them for tattoos. The ensuing scandal ended coach Jim Tressel's Ohio State tenure.
- Ohio State just completed a 12-0 season and is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll.
Sources: Ohio University and Associated Press
OSU fan Chris Sims, also from Marietta, said the Buckeyes could have done well in a bowl bid this year.
"It's especially a shame in a year when the team was undefeated," he said. "I think they could have gone to the Orange Bowl against Notre Dame."
Sims said he'll miss watching OSU play in a bowl contest this year, but he's hoping for another good season in 2013.
"And congratulations are due to OU for going to another bowl game this week," he said.
Warren High School grad and OU freshman Grant Venham is punter for the Bobcats and traveled with the team to Louisiana on Tuesday.
"They left at 8:30 a.m. today. I wish we were there with them, but Grant told us to stay here and enjoy Christmas with the grandchildren," Morgan Venham, Grant's dad, said Tuesday.
He said Grant also went to a bowl game in Idaho with the Bobcats last year, but not as a player.
"He's been looking forward to this-he's living out his dream at OU," Venham said. "And he believes the team has a good shot at winning this bowl game."
But Watertown area resident John Coffman said the bowls won't be the same without OSU.
"It's kind of frustrating," he said. "It doesn't seem like a normal bowl season to me. I always look forward to seeing my favorite team play."
Coffman said he hopes OSU can continue the momentum in 2013 that brought the team through a 12-0 season this year.
"I think next year will be better-OSU has something to prove now," he said.