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Thursday, November 5, 2009
No real surprise in NCAA's ruling on Bryant case

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The NCAA's denial of Dez Bryant's final appeal to play this season wasn't unexpected.

When Bryant was suspended by the NCAA for lying about his association with Deion Sanders, I thought his chances of ever playing again with Oklahoma State were nil.

Bryant's crime actually was much less than LeGarrette Blount's or Rhett Bomar's or some of the other notorious cases in recent years. But Bryant lied, and the NCAA takes a pretty dim view on that.

The Cowboys missed Bryant for the first time all season last week in their loss to Texas. He likely would have been OSU's most consistent offensive weapon against the Longhorns, both as a receiver and a kick returner.

I'm not saying that OSU would have won that game, but the margin would have been closer if he had played. Bryant would have caught the touchdown pass that Hubert Anyiam dropped early in the game. He likely wouldn't have fumbled like Anyiam did later in the game. And he would have provided another weapon that would have made Texas alter its defensive schemes.

OSU has two more upcoming games in which Bryant would have been handy -- tough ones against Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

So the difference between having Bryant all season and not having him will end up being challenging for a BCS bowl versus playing in a good one at the end of the season.

For Mike Gundy and his program, that gap is a huge one.