K-State head coach Bill Snyder sat down in the Big 8 room in the Vanier Football Complex to talk about his team’s final home game of the season against the Texas Longhorns, which essentially acts as a Big 12 championship game for the Wildcats.
With a win against the Longhorns, the Wildcats would guarantee themselves a share of the Big 12 title and lock in a trip to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
The 7 p.m. game will mark the last time 27 senior Wildcats will suit up in front of their home crowd, and Snyder said they want the win.
“I think it would be very meaningful to them,” Snyder said. “It’s a lifelong memory, I’m sure. It’s something they could take a great deal of pride in because they had such a major role in it, having come through the program over a four- or five-year period of time.”
Snyder was not shy, however, about expressing his interest in regaining an actual Big 12 Championship game and reestablishing a two-division conference.
“I’ve always felt that way. I’m still a proponent of having two divisions and playing a championship game,” Snyder said.
The topic came up from the aftermath of conference realignment, which has begun to shake up the landscape of college athletics yet again.
The Big 10 Conference, which currently includes 12 teams, announced the addition of Rutgers and Maryland last week for an eventual 14-team conference.
The Big East followed suit, announcing Tuesday that beginning in 2014, the conference will add Tulane in all sports and East Carolina only in football.
K-State’s 73-year old coach used the first year following his return to the Wildcats’ sidelines as an example to explain his desire for a conference championship game. That 2009 team was 6-5 going into the final regular season game against Nebraska with a chance to win the Big 12 North still in reach.
“In that system, people were still in the hunt, so to speak, and the fans continued to support them,” Snyder said. “It kept players excited about the opportunities that existed. It was a positive thing for the game.”
K-State Athletic Director John Currie said that while the Big 12 athletic directors talk about conference expansion frequently in their weekly conference call, adding teams just to keep up with other conferences is not a wise move.
“If you’re looking for fans truly receiving what they’re paying for with incredibly competitive games, once again the Big 12 has delivered that and people are recognizing that,” Currie said. “We are where we are with a very strong 10-team league. Ninety percent of our teams in our league are bowl-eligible right now and nobody else in college football has that.”
Snyder, who often advises his team not to look too far ahead, said his preferences do not hold much weight in decisions regarding conference expansion.
“I’m one of 10 [head coaches]. I haven’t been on a soapbox campaigning for it. It’ll be what it will be. Somebody else will make those decisions,” Snyder said. “If it were to go to 12, I understand that it would be a difficult process of being able to identify how the logistics would work and what teams would come in. But that’s way down the road, I think.”