It’s time for another K-State Q&A.
No need for an intro this week. Your questions are that good! Thanks, as always, for asking them.
A lot could change between now and Sunday, when bowls start making their selections. But, for now, here is my best guess:
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Last week, it seemed like the Liberty Bowl was the most probable destination, but things have changed over the past few days. After speaking with bowl executives and K-State administrators, the current belief out there is that Iowa State has moved in front of K-State in the selection order. The Wildcats played in Memphis two years ago, and it was only a so-so experience that ended with a blowout loss to Arkansas, whereas the Cyclones haven’t been since 2012. Iowa State fans should travel in greater numbers to the Liberty Bowl. That’s the thinking, at least.
The K-State vs. Missouri matchup many envisioned also appears to be falling apart. With three SEC teams likely on their way to major bowls, the SEC may not have enough teams to send a representative to Memphis. Some are projecting the Central Florida/Memphis loser to wind up in the Liberty Bowl, which would eliminate some of the allure K-State could bring to the matchup.
I was also surprised when the Liberty Bowl denied an interview request from me this week. Two years ago before it invited K-State, the bowl’s executive director was more than happy to chat with me about why he liked the Wildcats.
If the Liberty Bowl, indeed, favors Iowa State that leaves the Cactus Bowl as K-State’s likely landing spot. Of all the bowl people I talked to, the Cactus Bowl folks were most enthusiastic about the Cats.
Most believe Texas is locked into the Texas Bowl, no matter what happens Saturday. I am not expecting the Wildcats to make a return trip to Houston. The Camping World Bowl could be in play if both TCU and Oklahoma make major bowls. It would come down to K-State or Iowa State in that scenario. The Heart of Dallas Bowl could also become a possibility if the Liberty Bowl selects West Virginia hoping for an offensive showcase and the Cactus Bowl goes with Iowa State.
This is a strange year. It’s hard to accurately forecast where K-State will end up this postseason. But my guess is Cactus vs. Arizona State, UCLA or Oregon.
Depends on what you are looking for.
The Camping World Bowl is the best bowl K-State can hope for in terms of prestige. The Wildcats have never gone bowling in Florida and the game would be played against Notre Dame or Virginia Tech. That could be fun, but also a really hard matchup.
The Cactus Bowl (against Arizona State, Oregon or UCLA) or the Heart of Dallas Bowl (possibly against Utah) would be more winnable games, but both those games will be played on Dec. 26. That will be hard on fans hoping to attend the bowl game.
K-State vs. Missouri in the Liberty Bowl would be a slam dunk, if it happens. K-State vs. Memphis wouldn’t be so cool. I don’t know of any team that would like to play a road game in the postseason.
Seeing as how he was reportedly fired Friday morning for running a disastrous coaching search, a pretty big one.
But we won’t know for sure until we see who Gene Taylor eventually hires.
The Tennessee coaching search has been a train wreck of epic proportions, and a good chunk of fans are still mad at John Currie for hiring Bruce Weber, so K-State fans are understandably relieved he won’t be around to hire the next football coach.
But his candidate pool would have been much different at K-State. Jim Leavitt, his likely choice, would have taken the job in a heartbeat. And most K-State fans seem OK with Leavitt. So, if you want Leavitt as K-State’s next head coach, then you probably wish Currie was still around. He wouldn’t have been out there making a fool of himself with the Greg Schiano backtrack. At least I don’t think he would have.
Side note: I spoke with Currie five years ago about the process he uses for a story on coaching searches. It’s fascinating to read some of his old quotes, and see how he really hasn’t followed his own advice at Tennessee.
He wouldn’t have been out there trying to lure Mike Gundy to Manhattan, swinging and missing on several sitting power five coaches. He also wouldn’t have been out there considering Sean Snyder for the job, which Taylor might. Depending on what you think of Sean, that could be a good or bad thing.
The whole coaching search at Tennessee was just bizarre. Currie was able to keep most of his private dealings, well, private at K-State. But every move he made in Knoxville seemed really public. Now there are reports that he was on the verge of hiring Mike Leach (he would have reached base on a strike out after the catcher failed to corral the final pitch of his at bat and scored on three subsequent throwing errors) but Tennessee officials wouldn’t let him do so and instead fired him (not sure what baseball analogy to use here. He struck out and got ejected for arguing with the ump?) There are also reports that former Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer sabotaged him throughout the process.
There’s no telling what will happen when K-State hires a replacement for Snyder. But that process will surely go better than what transpired with Currie in Tennessee.
Bret Bielema, Jim Leavitt, Brent Venables ... K-State fans would salivate over possible replacements at defensive coordinator.
Michael Smith could be worth keeping an eye on as a potential addition to the coaching staff when football teams are allowed to add an extra assistant next season.
I am unaware of any head coaching opportunities, but Sean Snyder told me back in July that he has had several opportunities to work elsewhere as an assistant coach/director of football operations. Even had his bags packed a time or two to take them, but he valued staying in Manhattan and raising his family in one place and working with his father.
Sure, come on in!
While I understand why Iowa State fans are mad about officials picking up three flags that would have gone against K-State in #Farmageddon last week, it is ridiculous to claim Big 12 conspiracy. I find it hard (nay, impossible) to believe someone in the Dallas offices is out there secretly hating the Cyclones so much that he rigged their game against the Wildcats.
Did Duke Shelley commit pass interference against Allen Lazard late in the fourth quarter? Maybe. Probably. But not definitely. Both players were competing for the ball, and Shelley properly turned his head back to look for the ball. If the officials came together and decided that no penalty was committed, more power to them.
To steal a line from Sam Mellinger, blaming refs is the ballad of the loser. Unless we’re talking USA vs. Russia in the 1972 Olympics, it’s silly to go there.
There are a lot of ways Iowa State could have won that game with the exact same officiating. Score touchdowns instead of field goals, intercept a gift-wrapped pick six from Skylar Thompson, run the ball late to eat up clock, move Lazard away from K-State’s best corner with the game on line. I could go on and on.
He has been great in back-to-back games (a rarity for the St. John native) logging 25 points and 11 rebounds against Oral Roberts and 17 points and 9 rebounds against George Washington. It’s the best two-game stretch he has had at K-State.
Definitely liked what he had to say after the Oral Roberts game. Perhaps he is growing into the alpha male K-State needs him to be.
I wouldn’t say that.
K-State’s scoring is up slightly (77.1 vs. 76.1 points per game) from this point last year, and Weber sent Wesley Iwundu (a three-star recruit) to the NBA Draft a few months ago.
Defense and getting newcomers up to speed have been the issues this season. I was shocked K-State couldn’t slow down Arizona State enough to keep that game in the 80s. And the bench has disappeared in too many games. That reflects worse on recruiting than development, in my opinion.
It’s still too early to make any grand proclamations about this basketball team.
All we can really say with certainty is that they haven’t improved from last year ... Yet. That could change. But, as of now, the Wildcats are in the exact same spot they were a year ago.
The 92-90 loss to Arizona State was a letdown, but the Sun Devils turned around and looked dynamite against Xavier. With wins over San Diego State, K-State and Xavier, they look legit.
A narrow loss in that game doesn’t doom the Wildcats to a poor season. But it doesn’t build any goodwill, either. That’s the problem with playing an awful nonconference schedule like K-State does. You have to win the few challenging games on it to impress anybody. And K-State hasn’t done that. A narrow win over terrible Oral Roberts didn’t boost anyone’s spirits, but I wouldn’t put much stock into that game. We will learn more about the Wildcats on Sunday at Vanderbilt.
I still like what I see from K-State’s top four players. Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown were great in Las Vegas, Dean Wade looks like he is finally turning the corner and Xavier Sneed has really improved. But the rest of the roster is lagging behind. They need three more players to step up.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett