NWADG College Football


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38 NWA COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW | 8.29.2021 JOHN ZENOR ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE Few college football coaches know the mental and physical grind that comes with navigating a long postseason better than Chris Klieman. The Kansas State coach was formerly at FCS juggernaut North Dakota State, whose teams routinely compete for national titles in a division where that means playing 15-plus games per season. "It's a grind to play 16 games or 15 games a year," Klieman said. "We did it for eight straight years. But when you're competing to try to win a championship, you kind of find a way to get through it. We protected the guys in practice the best we could." The College Football Playoff is considering expanding from four to 12 teams to determine its champion, reserving six spots for the highest-ranked conference champions along with at- large selections. The FCS typically has a 24-team playoff, minus the conference championship games that are part of the fabric in the Bowl Subdivision. Still at least a couple of years away, CFP expansion would get a broader pool of teams involved beyond some of the usual suspects like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. It also begs the queston of how many games is too many for college players who are still juggling school and facing more wear and tear on their bodies. Sports medicine Dr. Todd May has seen in his former job working with Marines where fatigue led to more injuries in training, including heat illnesses and stress fractures. Being tired, he said, can lead to more mistakes and perhaps overextending on a play. EXPANDED PLAYOFFS MEAN MORE GAMES AND … MORE INJURIES? AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File Clemson's Travis Etienne (9) runs for a touchdown against Pittsburgh during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C.

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