If Alabama goes on to defeat Notre Dame to win back-to-back BCS championships, the first person Nick Saban should thank, upon receiving the crystal, isn't the players, coaches, fans or even God. It's Gene Smith, Ohio State's athletic director, who chose not to volunteer for a bowl ban in 2011 and thus missed out on the postseason this year.
The same goes for Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS. If not for the one fateful decision by the otherwise brilliant Ohio State athletic director, we could be talking about the mother of all BCS controversies.
Where, exactly, would've the Buckeyes been ranked in the final BCS standings if they weren't serving a postseason ban and therefore ineligible to be included in the rankings? Would their 12-0 season have trumped Alabama's 12-1 that's blemished by a home loss?