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Why exactly is the College Football Playoff schedule such a mess this year?

The playoff scheduling is a mess and with an expanded playoff format coming this can’t continue.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Penn State at Ohio State Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“The CFP semifinals will arrive abruptly on Saturday, a likely heavy holiday travel day. Then there is an unprecedented 16-day gap between the semifinals and the title game. The way the schedule unfolds appears to be doing little to distinguish such a strong set of games amid a crowded time on the sporting calendar. The awkward schedule revives the annual question: Are college football leaders maximizing their best product?”

- Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports

It’s a good question, and another feather in the cap of the mess that is the NCAA. For some reason, they continue to give fans every reason to not tune in to these games. The strange adherence to the bowl system while still implementing a playoff has created this weird rotating schedule that can unfortunately cause year’s like this year to happen, with a two week break between semi-final and final.

The CFP committee learned that New Year’s Eve doesn’t work as a date, with ratings down up to 40 percent compared to the semifinals on New Year’s Day. But because each of the New Year’s Six bowls have their own days, anytime that it’s not the Rose and Sugar Bowls turn to host them they can’t be on New Years. So they have to be pushed back, while avoiding New Year’s Eve, so that the semifinals will be on a weekend, and it needs to be at least a full week back from the Championship game which has to be on a Monday.

It’s just a ton of unnecessary pandering to a bowl system that means less and less each year, as any non-playoff bowl sees more and more players sitting out. There probably won’t be another awkward 16-day break again, but what happens when/if the playoffs expand? When you have to fit even more games while trying to follow all of the rules of the bowls and other various dates? It’s not likely to work.

The NCAA has a cash cow on their hands, but in classic NCAA fashion, they can’t really seem to figure out how to use it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter for those of us in Buckeye Nation, who will watch the Scarlet and Gray no matter what day they play. But for the rest of the nation, it’s pretty baffling and annoying.

“ABC is also keeping an eye on NFL player Ryan Shazier, who was near-paralyzed after sustaining a serious spine injury during a game in 2017. A video of the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker dancing at his wedding this year went viral, with fans elated to see Shazier dancing again, hopeful that he’ll be able to return to the field.”

- Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety

Dancing With the Stars always need great stories to tell, and Ryan Shazier has one of the best ones. The former Buckeye linebacker has been making an incredible recovery after his near-paralyzing tackle in 2017. Recently, he has gotten healthy enough to walk, jog and even dance. His wedding video was moving to tears, and the fact that he isn’t fully ruled out of returning to the playing field speaks to his strength of character.

Buckeye nation knows what Shazier can do. He was a monster on the field from the moment he stepped on campus. His 2013 All-American season was particularly immense, recording 144 combined tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss, along with four forced fumbles. For reference, the 2019 Buckeye tackle leader Malik Harrison currently has 69 total tackles.

Shazier didn’t skip a beat in the pros. His combine measurables were jaw dropping, featuring a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 42 inch vertical. In his last two seasons he made the pro bowl both times, and was quickly on his way to becoming one of the best linebackers in the game if he wasn’t already.

Tragedy struck fast, and it’s an absolute testament to his unbelievably unbreakable will that Shazier has made it back they way he has. He went from not being able to walk or feel his legs, to dancing in just two years. And he did it all with a big smile on his face, and the ability to always look forward. For that, he was awarded the George Halas Courage Award in 2019, given to a player that has overcome the most adversity to succeed.

Ryan Shazier, we salute you.

“I feel like coach Mick is one of the backbones of this program. Other things change, but coach Mick is the same. He sees us every single day and talks to us every day, more than our coaches sometimes.”

- Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison, told to the Toledo Blade’s Kyle Rowland

Body by Mick is a saying for a reason. If you’ve ever listened to the recruiting podcast from Land Grant Holy-Land, you’ve heard us wax poetic about strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. He does an incredible job year after year of maximizing every player’s body, and does it the right way.

Meyer bringing Marotti in with him may be the best thing he did for Ohio State, even among all of the accolades Meyer earned here. I don’t think there’s another strength coach in the nation that gets talked about by their own program like Mick does, and it’s because he is the best of the best. He earned a $122,000 raise this off-season and he has proven to be worth every penny, even getting the game ball after OSU’s beat-down of Michigan State.

Whenever a prospect comes in with concerns like “needs to add muscle to frame” or “work on conditioning and strength” like so many high school players have, you know if they come to OSU it won’t be a problem fast. He is invaluable as a coach and from a developmental perspective, but also from a recruiting one. Every player he’s coached has spoken incredibly highly of him, including a special shout out from Heisman winner Joe Burrows.

Coach Marotti runs the program in the off-season, and sets up every Buckeye for success during the actual season. There is no Buckeye that is lazy, slow or out of shape when the season starts. He’s been called the backbone, the blood and the embodiment of toughness, for the program, and all for good reason. OSU recruits the best high school players, and it’s fitting then that the best strength coach in the business is here to mold them into the best college players. His 24 first-team All-Americans as a buckeye coach speak to that.

Quick Hits

  • Justin Fields refused to talk about his knee at today’s media day, just a few days after saying he was 80-85 percent.

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