Sound off: ESPN analyst calls K-State football team ‘mediocre’

Mike Stanton

On yesterday’s episode of ESPN First Take, analyst Stephen
A. Smith was less than flattering in his remarks about the quality of K-State
football, referring to quarterback Collin Klein as “a big fish in a little pond,” while
calling the rest of the team “mediocre.” 

Smith is dead wrong, as he often is.
K-State is undefeated and ranked fourth in the nation with an excellent shot
to run the table and play for a national championship, which can’t often be
said about a mediocre team. Klein is, without question, as Smith said, the MVP of
this Wildcats team, but K-State has a lot of other playmakers as well. The Wildcats
wouldn’t be contenders without standouts like Arthur Brown, John Hubert, Nigel
Malone and Tyler Lockett, to name a few. The Wildcats may not have the name recognition of West Virginia or Ohio State, a couple of the teams Smith mentioned in the tirade during a debate about Heisman Trophy candidates, but the level of football K-State is playing is undeniably very high.

Smith is famous for running his
mouth. His job is to heatedly argue sports with sportswriter Skip Bayless on national TV.
However, these remarks are downright ridiculous, even by his standards. K-State has a big road test this weekend in Morgantown, taking on Geno Smith’s West Virginia Mountaineers. Let’s see what Smith has to say after a key Wildcat win.

Andy Rao

When Stephen A. Smith took to the stand on ESPN yesterday and called the K-State football team “mediocre,” it was a slap in the face to a program that has experienced perhaps the most drastic turnaround in college football over the last 10 years.

The Wildcats, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein, have consistently played brilliant football thus far. In what has been a total team effort, this team has weathered adversity and developed a mental toughness that is unparalleled. 

This mental toughness shone through when the Cats beat then No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman after a hard fought game. After merely decent first halves against both North Texas and KU, this team stormed back and executed nearly perfect second-half adjustments.

Perhaps what this team lacks is the flashy plays, the air-raid type of spread offense or eye-popping stats. What this team does have, however, is an undefeated 6-0 record which, at the end of the day, is all that counts.

This is a classic, hard-nosed, fundamentally sound football team. Are there improvements to be made? Definitely. But Smith’s allegations that the K-State Wildcats are an average football team are ignorant and off-base.

But hey, like the players will tell you, they’ve been here before. They’ve played the underdog role and have used it as motivation to prove the critics wrong, and I have no doubt that after the Cats take on Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday, the great Stephen A. Smith will be eating his words.

Austin Nichols

On Oct. 16 Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless performed their usual debate of sports on ESPN’s First Take. Yesterday, however, Smith went on to derail K-State quarterback Collin Klein, saying that he isn’t Heisman-worthy because he is a good player surrounded by a bunch of “scrubs.” 

Bayless was right when he counteracted Smith’s point by defining what the Heisman really means. Geno Smith, West Virginia University quarterback, might have outstanding numbers, but he is not leading a 6-0 football team for the second year in a row, let alone a team no one thought would even come close to winning the Big 12. Klein and the outstanding play from the rest of K-State’s football team have surpassed all expectations from anyone outside the university by beating the Sooners in Norman, Okla. 

The reason Klein is the best Heisman candidate is because he has used his leadership and skill set to help his team become fourth in the BCS standings and in the position to go undefeated and possibly play a national championship. People also don’t realize that Klein now has 43 rushing touchdowns, which is only two behind the school record-holder Darren Sproles, who had 45 in his career. Klein has also shown that he can throw the ball this season, with 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns to just two interceptions through the air. What can’t go unnoticed is the supporting cast Klein has around him. No team can go 6-0 with one player in the game of football, and the Heisman Trophy, in the past, has usually gone to the most valuable player on the best team in the nation. This season, Klein and the Wildcats are putting forth a strong resume for the award.