Christmas is almost here. Bowl season is upon us. Big 12 basketball starts next week.
So much to discuss in this week’s K-State Q&A. Thanks, as always for your participation.
Before we dive into your questions, allow me to plug the oral history I wrote about the 1993 Copper Bowl yesterday. In honor of K-State returning to Arizona for Bill Snyder’s 19th bowl, I decided to look back on that classic bowl and write about the game that launched the Wildcats on an incredible run and turned them into consistent winners. Lots of great stories in there from Chad May, Kevin Lockett, Kirby Hocutt, Mitch Holthus, Snyder and many others. It was a fun one to write.
Now, let’s get started.
This question seems to pop up every year around signing day. K-State regularly finishes with a winning record and in the upper half of the Big 12 in the standings, but ranks last (or nearly last) on the recruiting trail.
Since K-State constructed the West Stadium Center, 247sports has ranked its recruiting classes 10th, 8th, 8th, 10th, 9th, 9th in the Big 12. Rivals has rated them 10th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 10th. That’s not good. Clearly, new facilities have done little to boost recruiting.
I think there are a few reasons for this.
For starters, the Wildcats don’t recruit five-star players. They just don’t. They barely recruit four-star players. I remember asking Bill Snyder after the team’s conference championship in 2012 if he planned to take advantage of that momentum and begin recruiting more sought-after players, and he said hell no. Well, he didn’t say hell, but he did say no. His argument: K-State tried that at times during his first tenure and it didn’t land the players it wanted. Consequently, it then missed out on the recruits it would have originally targeted. I would link to the story if I could find it, but he basically said he was comfortable with the team’s recruiting niche. The Wildcats have always seemed to get by without highly ranked recruiting classes, so why change? That’s part of it.
There are also the natural challenges of recruiting to Manhattan. It’s an isolated town in a state that doesn’t produce tons of football talent.
Then there is the fact that K-State hardly recruits during the season in order to focus on each game. There is also the uncertainty about Snyder’s future. Recruits want to know who their coach will be four years from now, and Snyder can’t guarantee he will be back next year. Snyder actually got out and made more recruiting visits than usual this cycle, but he very rarely travels to see recruits. Some coaches use helicopters to make appearances at multiple high school games each Friday.
K-State has a lot working against it on the recruiting front. But, as I pointed earlier, that hasn’t prevented the Wildcats from winning.
It depends on what he told recruits about his future.
Over the past few years, he has said he promises nothing to recruits and urges them to pick K-State because they like the school more than the coaches. If that is truly what he tells them, that he can’t even guarantee he will be their coach next season, then it’s not a jerk move. If he tells recruits he will be there for the next four years and then only says he might retire after signing day, that is a jerk move.
Players know there is uncertainty about his future. I don’t think it is as a big a deal as some. But it certainly doesn’t help recruiting.
K-State loaded up on defensive backs, wide receivers and fullbacks late in the recruiting process, which gives you a pretty good clue that the Wildcats don’t expect D.J. Reed, Byron Pringle and Winston Dimel to return next season.
I don’t know for certain what they plan to do, but the guess here is that the Cactus Bowl will be the final K-State game for all three. Reed will probably be a draft pick. Dimel and Pringle seem more like undrafted free agents to me, but they could get a NFL look. They also graduated earlier this month.
I’m also curious to see what Dalton Risner decides. He told us last month that he plans to return for another season, but he’s good enough to block in the NFL right now.
Pinstripe Bowl, and it probably won’t even be close.
As difficult as it was to get to New York in a blizzard for The Salute, that was K-State’s first bowl trip in four years and first under Snyder in seven years. There was some fan excitement, and it wasn’t the day after Christmas. If I remember correctly, K-State pre-sold its entire ticket allotment and asked for more. K-State claims to have had 10,000 fans at the game.
This year, K-State has sold 3,000 tickets and had to return half its ticket allotment back to the bowl. It should be the team’s smallest bowl crowd since the 94 Aloha Bowl, and that’s completely understandable. K-State (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6) with an interim coaching staff is not a sizzling matchup, and the Wildcats were in Phoenix for bowls in 2012 and 2013. And it’s the day after Christmas. That’s the biggest issue. If this game was on Dec. 28 ticket sales would be much better.
If Josh Rosen plays, I think K-State wins a close, high-scoring game. Something like 35-31.
If Rosen doesn’t play, the Wildcats will roll.
Check back early next week and I will have an official prediction for you.
Give me the Insight.com Bowl. It’s not quite as cool as the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl once was, but it’s still pretty cool.
You didn’t ask me to rank them, but I will do that anyhow. Let’s go: Insight.com, Buffalo Wild Wings, Copper Bowl, Cactus Bowl, Insight Bowl. Sorry, Insight. You lost me when you dropped the dot com.
Doesn’t look like any team has played in all five versions of the bowl. K-State comes awfully close, but it sadly missed out on the Insight Bowl era. Arizona and Arizona State have played in a few, but not all. Sidebar: props to Minnesota for being the Buffalo Bills of this bowl. The Gophers played in the Insight Bowl in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and lost all three games.
The only choices should be water or Gatorade. The confetti last year at the Texas Bowl was weak.
Well, if it’s steamed cactus I guarantee you there won’t be a media stampede for the buffet line.
True story: Moments after they announced Buffalo Wild Wings was catering a halftime meal for media, mob rule took over in the press box. So many reporters sprinted to the dining area that they had to make a second announcement, asking the scribes in attendance to please form an orderly line. I remember that moment more than I do the game.
This season was far from perfect in the prediction department.
I didn’t see the Vanderbilt loss coming, at all. I didn’t think they would win at Oklahoma State as 21-point underdogs, and they did. I foolishly picked them to beat TCU and West Virginia. Didn’t realize Skylar Thompson was going to play against Texas Tech and got that one wrong, too.
Ended up going 7-5, just like the team.
In the spirit of Christmas, I will let your ill-informed opinion of BBQ slide and answer your question.
The Don Juan Taco at Juan in a Million is the best breakfast taco in town. It’s huge and it’s cheap. Make sure to say hi to Juan, the owner, while you’re there!
There are other good spots, too. Taco Shack is all over. Trudy’s breakfast is legit. You can even combine BBQ and breakfast tacos at Rudy’s. There’s really no going wrong. Just about every Austin restaurant with breakfast on the menu will have breakfast tacos.
Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus.
I just hope KMAN has the song in their music database.
When the season began, I liked K-State’s chances of winning 20 games and reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Now, even with a 10-2 record, I have my doubts.
Makol Mawien showed up against Washington State, which was great, but this still seems like too much of a four-man team. Kamau Stokes, Barry Brown, Xavier Sneed and Dean Wade are all quality players, but they need help. Where is it going to come from? I like Cartier Diarra and Amaad Wainright, but they are still developing. And what about size? The Wildcats don’t have much of it.
K-State looks like a team that will win some big games when its best players are hot and lose some bad games when its best players are cold.
KenPom and ESPN both rank K-State 44th, so it’s not like this is a horrible team. But with a nonconference schedule of 327 and a RPI of 160, it will have to do all its damage in the Big 12. And the Big 12 looks super strong. Iowa State and Oklahoma State aren’t the pushovers some expected. TCU is undefeated, Texas Tech is ranked and Trae Young looks like the player of the year at Oklahoma. Not to mention Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia.
Here’s guessing K-State goes 7-11 in the Big 12 and makes the NIT.
No, not yet anyway.
I think this team has more potential than last year, because it has four really good players compared to two. But the depth was better last season, and the Wildcats obviously miss D.J. Johnson.
Short answer: the team is not good enough to blow out a good/decent opponent for 40 straight minutes.
Long answer: The Wildcats have taken a step back on defense, so it’s hard for them to protect big leads. And though they have improved slightly on offense, they don’t have an easy source of points. Without a reliable big down low, this team is reliant on outside shooting. That comes and goes.
He’s dressed for the past few games and is inching closing to playing time. If he’s good enough to get on the court, Bruce Weber will throw him out there. He has already used his redshirt, so it’s not like they are saving him for anything. He just needs to prove he can play in practice. I’m skeptical he can pass Levi Stockard, Nigel Shadd or Mawdo Sallah in the rotation. But he will play if he can.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett