Analysis: Pryor's Future in Limbo Because of Suspension

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It's fine to say that Ohio State got off easy with Thursday's NCAA punishment. They did in a sense -- at least for one game.

This season is not ruined, and they are not hardly threatened next season.

The mediocre schedule in the first four games is all the Buckeyes have to contend with, and that includes two MAC teams; a Miami team with a MAC coach; and Colorado, which hasn't been good in quite some time, losing to Toledo, Colorado State and other mediocre teams in the past few seasons.

The X-factor is whether or not the Buckeyes can effectively appeal to the NCAA and get the key suspensions down to four, so those players are back against Michigan State in Game No. 5.

After missing the Buckeyes this season and sharing the Big Ten, that game had top billing heading into next season, as both teams wondered what would have happened had they gotten a shot at one another.

Without Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron, Devier Posey and Mike Adams, the Buckeyes could be in some trouble against the Spartans, who have transformed themselves into a much better team under former Buckeye assistant Mark Dantonio.

But with a solid recruiting class and a freshman quarterback who's thought to be Pryor's successor signing in February, the Buckeyes could still manage.

That's only one way of looking at this punishment, though. Because truly, this might be a fate worse than a bowl game suspension for Pryor.

The chances that all four of the aforementioned players will jump to the NFL Draft are much higher.

Herron and Posey, though important, could be out of a job by the time they become eligible in 2011. Becoming a third-down back for eight or nine games doesn't exactly bump Boom's draft status.

Same for Posey. His place on the depth chart won't likely go back to where it was this year should he come back and serve his suspension.

Pryor's hopes of ever winning a Heisman are over. His hopes of running for 1,000 yards in a season probably are, too. Those are two things he seemed to care more about this past season than winning football games. …