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Corn Flakes: 400 Pounds - The Future Of College Football?

Dennis Dodd did a couple of pieces on the future of college football, starting with Baylor's 400-pound tight end Laquan McGown. McGown is 6'8" and 408 pounds. McGown is somewhat freakish right now, but Baylor's head coach Art Briles believes that 400 pound players will be common:

"To me, we're dealing with 2035," Baylor coach Art Briles said of McGowan. "We're dealing the future. We've got a physical specimen that plays football that I think will be common 20 years from now.

"If you have a team in 20 years, there will be three or four 400-pounders on it. That's the way the world is coming. That's the way football is changing."

At 6'8", 320 pounds, Zach Sterup is our biggest Husker player. Vincent Valentine is next at 6'3", 320 pounds. (Do you feel we're behind the eight ball?)

Dodd's second article contains a bunch of bullet points about bracket creep (inevitable now that we have a four-team playoff?), conference re-alignment, amateurs being played, and advanced analytics. It doesn't take much of a reach to list these things; they're already happening with the exception of bracket creep (I believe we'll be at four teams for quite a while).

The article also includes this bullet point:

Medical concerns: Players are safer on the field than they have ever been. The overall death rate is down, thank God, thanks to increased testing.

If you're looking solely at death, that's a true statement. Injuries, however, are quite a different story. This past week Boyd Epley told us at the MN4NE gathering that injuries haven't gone down despite improved safety equipment and procedures.

Players are getting bigger, stronger, and faster, and that in itself will lead to more injuries. It's physics. Two 400-pound linemen pounding the hell out of each other are exerting much more force on each other's bodies than two 300-pound linemen and how far the human body can go will be a matter of how many injuries football fans are willing to withstand before they look at it as carnage instead of sport. (You could make the argument that the NFL is already there.)

If I had to guess about the future of football in 2035 it wouldn't include 400-pound linemen without including advances in medical technology; the ability to genetically grow and quickly replace damaged tendons for example, and if you can't grow them, you might be able to quickly repair them through nanotechnology.

Consider the ability to strengthen specific injury points through techniques other than mere weightlifting. (If you're wondering, yes, I am referring to something resembling a cyborg.)

None of these will help with the central issue surrounding football, which is, basically, what is happening to the brain?

A 400-pound tight end hitting helmet to helmet with a 200-pound defensive back - the concept should make you cringe. It's unavoidable unless you either limit player size or move to two-handed touch.

It could be that by 2035, we simply grow our football players in a jar (ala Huxley's Brave New World) and therefore don't really care what happens to them with regards to their injuries nor quality of life because our entertainment will be their purpose in life. Once they're no longer useful they will simply be destroyed.

I'm guessing Art Briles never thought that far ahead. What do you expect from a guy who expects a playoff committee to be impressed by him playing Lamar, SMU and Rice for a non-conference schedule? (Boy, this went off the rails, didn't it?)

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CBS Sports begins its preseason coverage with a peek at what college football will look like in the future. In the first of the two-part series, Dennis Dodd explores how Baylor is changing the game.

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