Saturday was buyer beware day at Kansas State and Missouri, where fans paid for 60 minutes of football but didn’t get their money’s worth.
Safety was at the root of decisions to shorten both games.
After storms delayed by an hour the start of the Wildcats’ contest with Missouri State, another round moved through around halftime, and with the prospect of more inclement weather, it was time to brush up on what constitutes a completed game.
Officials, along with Wildcats coach Bill Snyder and Missouri State coach Dave Steckel consulted with Kansas State game management and agreed not to wait through a second delay. There appeared to be no break in the weather and the game was called at halftime. It goes in the books as a Kansas State triumph by a 35-0 final.
Snyder said afterward that had it been a conference game, one snap would have needed to occur in the second half before a similar decision could be made.
About 1 1/2 inches of rain fell in Manhattan from 3 p.m. until the scheduled 6:10 p.m. kickoff, lightning danced around the stadium at halftime, prompting the decision.
With the big lead, Kansas State was in a position to play reserves for much of the second half, so missing two quarters shouldn’t have an impact on preparation for the next game, at West Virginia — a contest that has grown in significance with the performance of both teams this month.
Even with a five-touchdown loss, the Missouri State players who absorbed the beatdown and slogged through the experience, had a better day than the Bears quarterback who was suspended for the game and possibly much longer.
Breck Ruddick’s offense was “conduct detrimental to the team,” and that conduct was allegedly beating a dog.
A Facebook post on Friday alleged that Ruddick, a sophomore, beat a friend’s 42-pound Australian shepherd named Luca.
The post was made by a woman who said she was a friend of the dog’s owner and it was accompanied by photos of the dog with a broken jaw and loss of some teeth, allegedly caused by Ruddick.
Missouri State’s Office of Student Conduct is handling the case, and the school announced that Ruddick is suspended indefinitely.
As for Mizzou, their game against Delaware State went four quarters and their fans may have felt cheated sitting through a non-competitive 79-0 outcome.
A scrimmage with officials and a paid audience is what the game amounted to. That and the $525,000 guarantee for Delaware State, which should be discounted after the teams agreed to shorten the third and fourth quarters to 10 minutes each.
The coaches did the prudent thing to shorten the game in the name of player safety. Missouri could have scored in triple digits, even with reserves, had the game played out.
But for all the stats happiness of this game, Mizzou is not closer to knowing how it might measure up to what is sure to be a motivated LSU team on Saturday. LSU believed it had a game-winning touchdown at Auburn with no time remaining that was reversed in the instant-replay booth.
As long as schools schedule their own non-conference opponents, mismatches will happen, even between schools with such revenue disparity as Missouri ($91 million for 2014-15 according to USA Today) and Delaware State ($12 million).
Delaware State does not appear on a future Missouri schedule. But the Tigers will face Missouri State to open next season. This matchup makes more sense. If Mizzou is going cut a check to an opponent, keep it in the state. And hope for clear skies that day.