Practicing to play Bill Snyder’s Kansas State teams is like studying for your most difficult course.
“The preparation for them is always complicated,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “Coach has a big playbook, the way they use the quarterback in all the different ways they run and play action, there’s a lot to work on.”
And yet, Oklahoma, which plays host to Kansas State on Saturday, has mastered the work as well as any Big 12 program.
Snyder has fewer victories against the Sooners than any team in the Big 12 era. He’s 3-7 against Oklahoma since 1996 and 1-7 against Stoops.
Now this should come as no great shock. Oklahoma owns as winning record over every Big 12 school, current and former, in league games since 1996.
But since K-State’s last regular-season victory over the Sooners — in 1997 — the Wildcats have measured up well against everybody else, especially Texas. Snyder is 4-2 against the Longhorns, and the Wildcats are 6-2.
There have been cycles of success, but add it up and K-State has gone toe-to-toe with Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech while running up lopsided series records with nearly everybody else.
The Sooners have won by escape acts and blowouts, like last year’s 58-17 decision in Manhattan. That’s why Snyder wouldn’t buy into the idea of this game as a rivalry.
“I don’t know that we’ve been as competitive as I’d have liked,” Snyder said.
The one Kansas State triumph over Oklahoma in the last 15 years is the most memorable, the 35-7 ambush in the 2003 Big 12 championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. It marks the lone loss for Stoops against his former boss.
Otherwise, Stoops absorbed well the lessons learned from working with Snyder on Iowa’s staff in the 1980s and on Kansas State’s staff from 1989-95, the final five as co-defensive coordinator.
“I worked the scout-team defense against his offense every day for five years,” Stoops said. “The attention to detail, the determination, the focus in your team’s preparation are some things that I always remember.”