If you saw any of the five World Series games in the past week and a half, you surely saw it.
A promo video, flashing with Fox’s normal bravado, promoting Thursday night’s tilt between the No. 2 Baylor Bears and the lowly 3-4 K-State Wildcats.
Highlights of one of Baylor’s six wins, each by 18 points or more, flashed across the screen while the voiceover touted the offensive and defensive might of the second ranked Bears.
Finally, wrapping it up in a nice bow, they finally got around to the fact that Baylor was playing someone on Thursday.
K-State’s name, and their name alone, was thrown on the end. This is a sign of the times for the Wildcats.
“You know, it’s kind of disrespectful,” sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee said of the video. “At the end of the day, coach Snyder’s teams have never gotten that much respect no matter how good they are or how decent they might be.”
That, however, is life for a team that’s on the verge of going on the largest losing streak in over 20 years.
The Wildcats’ offense has been driving their backward momentum.
They rank dead last in the Big 12 in total offense, second to last in passing offense and third to last in rushing offense.
Going back to the Oklahoma game, the Wildcats have scored one touchdown in the past eight quarters.
“The shortcoming is that we have had nine points in the last two ball games and that is not a very good statistic to go by,” head coach Bill Snyder said. “We are just at a point where we cannot create new things, but we have to become better at the things that we do. We have to enhance our passing game and continue to enhance our running game to create some balance in our offense, which has been somewhat lacking.”
The Wildcats will be counting on their offense not only to attempt to keep pace with the barrage of points that the Bears put up, but to also assist their defense by keeping Baylor’s high tempo assault off the field.
In games this season where the Wildcats’ offense looked serviceable to even good (the first five games of the season), K-State has won the time of possession battle. But in the last two games where one could argue against the mere existence of the K-State offense, they’ve lost the time of possession.
“Coach always preaches time of possession, and that is always something that as an offense we feel as necessary against a high-powered offense,” junior quarterback Joe Hubener said. “I think we would like to replicate that to some degree and continue it throughout the whole game.”
While K-State’s offense is in the depths of the Big 12, the Wildcats on the defensive side have to crane their neck to see all the way up to see where the Bears’ offense sits atop the conference rankings.
What is especially impressive about Baylor is not only do they have the best ground attack, a common misconception about the Bears, but they average over 100 yards per game, which is more than any other team in the Big 12.
Meanwhile, the steadfast Wildcat defensive front seven are allowing less than half of what the Bears average on the ground per game.
“Just like any other team in the Big 12, they are one play away from making a big play happening,” Lee said.
The K-State secondary will also be tested, with junior sensation Seth Russell sidelined with injuries and true freshman Jarrett Stidham taking his place.
The Wildcats still expect Stidham to put a lot of pressure on a sickly and struggling K-State secondary that is third to last in the conference in defending the pass.
“He is very capable, and the thing we overlook sometimes is that he is a freshman,” Snyder said of Stidham. “But he was there in December and he has always been the No. 2 guy. He has taken thousands upon thousands of repetitions of what they do, so I think they are very comfortable with him.”
With all of that taken in stride, K-State, as confident as ever, looks to do what they almost did over a month ago — try to rock the Big 12 and college football world and upset the No. 2 team in the country.
“You never have too many experiences like that,” Lee said. “We did earlier in the season and I feel like it got out of our hands, but now we have another opportunity.”
Kickoff between the Bears and the Wildcats is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.