North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman is fine with the number of teams in the FCS Playoffs, but wants to see it end earlier.
The College Football Playoff is only three years old, with the top four teams in FBS facing each other in a replacement to the much argued about BCS.
For teams in the FCS, a playoff is nothing new, as that has been the way to determine the champion since 1978 when the I-AA division was formed. The first edition had four schools competing, and has now grown to 24 of the best having a chance at the title.
Chris Klieman has been a part of these playoffs for over a decade now, first at Northern Iowa as its defensive back coach before joining North Dakota State in 2011 in the same position and then getting upgraded to defensive coordinator in 2012. Now the head coach of the Bison, Klieman is at ease with the number of teams currently allowed in the playoff.
“I’m comfortable with where it’s at,” Klieman told me in a recent interview. “I don’t think they should go with any more. I was in it for a long time when there was 16 teams and you had to go 8-3. Now it’s 24 teams, and you can go 7-4 or 6-5. Twenty-four is good.”
Klieman is no stranger to the long haul of having to win four (or more) games to bring home the championship, as the Bison took home five straight titles from 2011-15, including the last two with him as head coach. While okay with the number of teams, he would, however, like to see one change to the system: an earlier finish.
“I wish they could find a way to finish it up before the first of the year. It’s just, I think TV, but they’re pushing that thing to January now.”
With the success and tradition that North Dakota State has built in Fargo, Klieman will likely be playing in January for years to come.