Heading into the 2012 season, Central Florida coach George O'Leary knew his team would already be playing with a deficit before it even stepped on the field.
NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations within both the football and basketball programs led to the announcement of one-year postseason bans for both just days before the Knights began fall practice.
They won't find out the fate of an appeal of that ban until later this season. But bowl ban or not, O'Leary still sees an opportunity as the heavy underdog Knights prepare for Saturday's matchup at No. 14 Ohio State.
A win would give the Knights their first ever victory as a Football Bowl Subdivision member over a ranked, nonconference opponent.
''I like playing nonconference games against tradition schools like Ohio State that have a great, long history of winning (and) a great tradition as far as the program's concerned,'' O'Leary said. ''But we go into every game with an opportunity to win it.
''That's what I told our play...