Bill Snyder is 73 years young, and considered by many as one of the greatest football coaches ever. He is revered across the country as a man of class, dignity and pride. He is the face of K-State football and has been since the Reagan administration.
So how is it that a coach can be so widely respected while his product on the field is so completely ignored? It’s a perplexing question that should, hopefully, be addressed this weekend.
With a nation full of doubters watching (not you, Wildcat nation), K-State will travel to Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday for a battle with the West Virginia Mountaineers. K-State is ranked fourth in the country but is absent from nearly all BCS title talk. A win against WVU on the road could be the decisive factor in legitimizing this team to outside fans and national media.
Even then, I’d be surprised if coach Snyder allows his team to feel satisfied. I don’t want to speak for coach Snyder, but judging by all his quotes and his usual persona, I can assume this: Snyder couldn’t care less about the national media’s opinion of how good his team is. He knows, the team knows and the fans know. To him, that’s all that seems to matter.
While opinions don’t matter, the game on Saturday does. Quite simply, in a conference like the Big 12, K-State has no choice but to run the table. An undefeated season is paramount if K-State’s goal is to earn a BCS National Championship bid. This somewhat balances out the importance of Saturday’s game. Since we have to win them all, making the WVU game more important than any other might end up being counterproductive.
This game is certainly stacking up as the most difficult, but it is just as important as the Miami game, which we could have sleepwalked through. Importance and difficulty have no relation when you are forced to win every game.
On the flip side, a loss would be a huge blow to any national championship talk but would not eliminate the Wildcats from a Big 12 title or a BCS bid. With WVU losing to Texas Tech last week, K-State has a little more wiggle room atop the Big 12 standings.
Now, how about a little rant?
In the present college football system, looking good sometimes becomes more important than actually being good. This should all change when the playoff format is introduced, but until then, we’re stuck in a beauty pageant. Teams like Oregon can run up the score, show off their cool jerseys and persuade voters to believe they are better than they really are. This ideology doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats at all.
The media, and more importantly, the voters, like flash. This team is nearly the opposite of that. Basically, whatever the mass population thinks is cool and hip on the football field, K-State does the exact opposite. Oh, you want tons of passing and glamorous play-calling? How about spread offense and bad defense? Too bad we prefer the “32-belly option keep” with our quarterback following his lead blocker for a 7-yard gain.
K-State’s style doesn’t follow the present-day norms of college football, due almost entirely to the head coach. But stay tuned, because a win on Saturday would move K-State to 7-0 and into the drivers’ seat of the Big 12. An undefeated season, capped off by a Big 12 championship, would surely guarantee K-State a National Championship bid and make this boring, ugly duckling a beauty pageant winner.
David Embers is a sophomore in biology. Please send comments to [email protected]