K-State has beaten every single Big 12 team multiple times since Bill Snyder’s return as head coach in 2010.
However, no one has been more maligned for doing so than the University of Texas.
The Longhorns had a stint of losing five in a row to the Wildcats, which was a streak that saw the program go from college football royalty to college football’s laughingstock. Perhaps no one was laughing harder than members of the K-State family.
Between “Texas State Champions” t-shirts that still make plenty of appearances in and around the Little Apple and the “We Own Texas” chant that has echoed through all stadiums on the K-State campus, Wildcat fans have made sure that both Texas fans and non-Texas fans alike never forget.
Then, to the dismay of Wildcat fans and t-shirt makers alike, the streak ended.
Mack Brown, the former Longhorn Grand Poobah, coached his final game in the series at home last season and used the Bill Snyder’s methods of madness, turnovers and special teams, to claim the victory.
So why is the series considered to be such a runaway for K-State in the eyes of its fans?
To answer this question, start with the old proverb, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Texas, not even 10 years ago, was Elvis. Not early Ed Sullivan Show Elvis and not sad, bloated and about-to-die-on-a toilet Elvis, but flashy “Viva Las Vegas” Elvis.
They had the money, they had the charm and charisma in Mack Brown, they had the facilities and they had the history.
The Longhorns still have all of these things, excluding the presence of Brown. The only difference between then and now: winning.
Texas was winning conference championships, BCS bowl games and even a national championship in 2005. Most importantly, it wasn’t losing to schools whose total athletic revenue dwarfed their own by $100 million and some change.
Unfortunately for the burnt orange faithful, that changed.
In 1998, Texas touted a stud running back and future Heisman winner in Ricky Williams. He had 43 yards total on the evening as the Wildcats destroyed the Longhorns 48-7.
K-State would also win the 1999 meeting before dropping matches in 2002 and 2003, ending Snyder’s first head coach tenure at K-State.
Then, the wild and wacky Ron Prince years began in Manhattan.
While it can be argued that Prince brought K-State nothing but woe and the Power Towel (the nightmare that, thanks to YouTube, just won’t die), but that bold and daring bald-headed genius did bring an era defining wins over two top-10 Texas teams in consecutive seasons.
Another victory came for the Wildcats came after a demoralizing loss in Waco, Texas that saw their national championship dreams dashed yet again.
The dreams for a conference championship, however, were still alive and the only thing standing between that dream was then ranked No. 23 Texas.
A 42-24 final score and field rushing by the K-State faithful cemented Texas as the team the Wildcats beat to win their second Big 12 title.
Aside from all of that though, do the Wildcats actually own Texas or is it just recent success and high profile wins that are skewing the numbers?
For students at K-State, this recent run is what they know and it’s the norm. It’s the same reason why the Royals’ World Series run has been so massive for so many people because losing for 29 years was the norm.
Perception, while it may not always be truth, is king.
Even if Snyder had never played a non-Mack Brown coached Texas, even if Charlie Strong has this Longhorns team playing completely different from any other Texas team in the past, until a different pattern emerges, perception will not change.
If K-State wins on Saturday, expect to hear “We own Texas” echo through the Flint Hills and Wildcat Country. Because no matter what quality Texas is in any given season, K-State fans are always looking to buy.