K-State’s head coach Chris Klieman and his players showed no concern in their midweek press conference about an emotional letdown against Kansas after K-State’s huge win over Oklahoma last week.
If they were concerned, they would have good reason to be. The big-win-hangover is not just football lore, it’s happened before.
After K-State’s first Power 5 win of the season a game against Mississippi St. that K-State was not widely predicted to win, they had a bye week and then lost two straight.
Last season, Purdue sat at 4-3 after beating a top-5 Ohio State. They lost their next game before picking up wins against Iowa and Indiana and finishing 6-7.
The year before that, Syracuse took out a top-5 Clemson team and promptly lost out in mostly blowouts.
That’s the nature of college football, teams are so inconsistent that they can pull of huge upsets and then falter the rest of the year.
Klieman is focused on the task at hand though, namely beating Kansas soundly in Lawrence on Saturday.
“We really flipped the page pretty quickly,” Klieman said. “We’ve got a big game this week against KU and they’re playing really well.”
The Wildcat coaching staff has been trying to engrain a process of taking everything one game at a time in the team.
“You hope that the process is beginning to be engrained in those guys, but you’re always reminding them about why we have success,” Klieman said.
“I think success is defined by each day getting better and not worrying about Saturday. We can’t worry about Saturday [Tuesday] or on Thursday, we have to handle it each day. That’s kind of been the whole message throughout the entire season,” Klieman said.
Coach Klieman went out of his way before Oklahoma to make sure that he did not make a single game into the biggest game of the season. Despite the rivalry, Klieman does not want to make Kansas into a huge deal either.
“I know it’s a big game,” Klieman said. “We can’t get caught up in [the rivalry and trophy games], we have to get caught up in making sure that we come up with great game plans this week and that the guys understand the details of the plan and don’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Players understand the magnitude of this rivalry as well. Senior offensive lineman Scott Frantz—a Lawrence Free State product—holds this game in a person regard.
“This game means a lot to me,” Frantz said with a Lawrence Free State bracelet on his wrist. “We try to treat every game the same, but I’d be lying to you if I told you this game didn’t mean a little bit more to me just being born and raised in Lawrence… going home for the last time, it means a lot.”
The game is a 2:30 kickoff in Lawrence’s David Booth Memorial Stadium Saturday. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.