It’s time for another K-State Q&A.
Thanks, as always, for your questions. Lots of juicy topics this week, so let’s get right to them.
This question is up for debate, and K-State fans seem to be going back and forth on the answer like never before.
Some prominent national reporters have written harsh critiques of Bill Snyder recently, and there are certainly K-State supporters that are ready for a change (or a transition plan, at least). There are also many that want Snyder to continue coaching for as long as he wants to do so.
What it really comes down to is how you feel about K-State’s recent on-field results. Over the past five years, the Wildcats have found an 8-5 comfort zone. They have gone 8-5, 9-4, 6-7, 9-4 and 8-5. For those of you without a calculator handy, that’s an average of 8-5 with a top half finish in the Big 12 standings.
That’s pretty good. Not amazing, by any means, but solid. A lot of teams would trade to be in that position, including Texas.
At Texas A&M (Kevin Sumlin) and Nebraska (Frank Solich, Bo Pelini) that record will get you fired. But amazing results have yet to follow.
The Wildcats have only seriously challenged for a Big 12 championship once during the past five years, and I think that is where most of the fan frustration comes from.
I will say this: openly flirting with retirement at the end of each season definitely hurts, and I think Snyder’s indecision annoyed more people than usual this time around. It cost the Wildcats in recruiting, and it made for some odd emotions after the Cactus Bowl.
Still, I think he helps K-State in the short term. If the Wildcats want to make a run at 10 wins next season, which could be possibile with most of the offense returning, their chances of getting there are probably better with Snyder than a new coach. But that is hard to say without knowing the replacement options. Are we talking Brent Venables or Herm Edwards? On average, I like Snyder better in the short term.
Long term, you could make the argument K-State is better off with a replacement. Recruiting would almost certainly improve. And the right coach could energize the program. But, again, it would all come down to the hire. The program dipped the last time he retired. Things could get better. They could also get worse.
Odds are K-State will finish about 8-5 next season. How you feel about that record answers the question.
A firmer stance on the future would be helpful for everyone involved.
I’m not sure what that stance should be, but there has been too much uncertainty lately.
Can I go with a push?
You can count on them beating South Dakota, UTSA, Baylor and Kansas. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are probably wins. At Oklahoma and at TCU feel like losses. The 2018 schedule will be more difficult.
So the season should come down to the following four games: Mississippi State, at West Virginia, Texas, at Iowa State.
If the Wildcats manage a split, they are looking at an 8-4 record.
The offense returns enough talent to top that mark, and if Alex Delton/Skylar Thompson can emerge at QB it could certainly happen. But the defense, which gave up a lot of yards in 2017, will need to replace six starters, including Will Geary and D.J. Reed. You’re looking at anything from 6-6 to 10-2 ... A lot like this season.
Now that we know they are targeting Zach Hanson for the 10th assistant spot, the most likely scenario is for Collin Klein and Andre Coleman to share offensive coordinator duties with Michael Smith returning to coach running backs.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say Dean Wade ends up on the All-Big 12 first team.
Second team is the safer guess, but Wade’s numbers are going to go up without a dependable center in the paint. A lot of that work will fall on Wade’s shoulders. He has played a whole lot of five in K-State’s past two games, and he has responded with 34 points at Iowa State and a double-double against West Virginia.
He is averaging 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds. Those are first-team numbers. It may be hard for him to beat out other competition if K-State doesn’t finish with a winning conference record. That will be his biggest obstacle.
I can see two victories for K-State in the next five games. Three might be pushing it.
Let’s take a closer look.
At Texas Tech: Loss. This is arguably the hardest game on K-State’s schedule. Texas Tech opened Big 12 play by annihilating Baylor at home and then beating Kansas by double digits on the road. The only good news for the Wildcats here is that it’s a trap game for the Red Raiders, as they next play Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State: Win. K-State needs to beat Oklahoma State at home. The Cowboys, along with maybe Iowa State, look like the closest thing any team has to an easy opponent in the Big 12.
At Kansas: Loss. It wouldn’t shock me if the Wildcats pulled the upset, because the Jayhawks aren’t playing well at the moment. But there’s a reason they haven’t won in Lawrence since the Jim Wooldridge days.
Oklahoma: Loss. K-State beat Buddy Hield as a senior, so crazier things have happened. But Trae Young will be hard to guard.
TCU: Win. The Horned Frogs are the better team, but this is a game the Wildcats can win close at home.
If I could force any team to play Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum, it would be Wichita State.
I realize some fans don’t love that idea, but it would make for a great game and a great crowd. A win would be huge for the Wildcats. Even a loss would boost their strength of schedule. I love the idea of a home-and-home series with the Shockers.
But you said Power 5 school ...
Nebraska could also be fun, especially now that it has a new arena. Anyone from the Big Ten/ACC would be a nice change of pace. Selfishly, Duke would be cool, because I have always wanted to cover a game in Durham.
I remember some Pac-12 football coaches rewarding their teams for road victories in California with a postgame trip to In-N-Out. Big 12 basketball coaches would be wise to do the same this year. Beat Kansas, and we’re heading to Whataburger!
When I get my hands on $2 million I will try my best to open a Whataburger franchise in Kansas. Should I start a gofundme page?
I can’t narrow it down to one, so here are a few of my favorites:
My profile on K-State running back Alex Barnes, a big nerd who also happens to be really good at football.
The awkwardness of two former K-State basketball coaches making it to the Final Four, while K-State watched from home.
That time Jesse Ertz said his coaches got too much credit for developing players.
My oral history of the Copper Bowl, the game that transformed Bill Snyder and K-State football into consistent winners.
The K-State basketball team rallying behind assistant Chris Lowery after the death of his son.
Skylar Thompson beating Iowa State on the final play.
And, of course, every K-State Q&A!
I don’t see him getting drafted. I can see him making a team as an undrafted free agent and even carving out a nice role, but I don’t see him getting drafted.
Byron Pringle offers some late-round appeal, with his size and athleticism. He has proven he can play receiver and return kicks at a high level. But he was also extremely inconsistent this season. He showed his potential against Oklahoma State (4 catches, 166 yards, 3 touchdowns) but showed his floor in a lot of other games.
Baylor and Iowa State both held him without a catch. His season totals (30 catches, 724 yards, 6 touchdowns) average out to 2.3 catches, 55.6 yards and 0.46 touchdowns over a 13-game season. Maybe he can do more with a NFL quarterback throwing to him, but I just don’t see a team using a draft pick on him. He will have to turn some heads at K-State’s pro day.
D.J. Reed is K-State’s best NFL Draft hope.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett