Campus Corner

Ask Kellis: Could beating Oklahoma State bring ‘GameDay’ to Manhattan?

K-State defensive back Morgan Burns returned a kick 86 yards against Oklahoma State last year.
K-State defensive back Morgan Burns returned a kick 86 yards against Oklahoma State last year. The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A. Let’s get started.

Thanks, as always, for asking questions.

To quote a line from Tommy Boy: “Let me say ... Maybe.”

If K-State beats Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Wildcats will improve to 4-0 and likely enter the top 25. If TCU beats Texas, it will remain undefeated and likely stay in the top 5. So we would be looking at a compelling matchup. No. 4 at No. 23, something like that. There’s a chance ESPN could select that game for “Gameday.”

But it would face competition. The other top games next week are No. 24 California at No. 10 Utah and No. 16 Northwestern at No. 22 Michigan. Navy, undefeated, at Notre Dame could be considered, too. Oklahoma State at West Virginia would also be a candidate if those teams win tomorrow, but since K-State beats Oklahoma State in your scenario, let’s rule that one out.

It’s hard to predict these things. More thought goes into selecting “Gameday” sites than you might think. Which game provides the best story angles? Which game will have the best crowd? Which game has coaches and players that will make for great interviews? It’s not always just, what is the best game? Sometimes ESPN sends the show off the grid to unexpected locations like North Dakota State. You never know where they will go, unless a top 5 matchup looms.

My bet, right now, is Cal at Utah is the favorite. Cal is undefeated and playing Washington State this week, while Utah is on a bye after clubbing Oregon. The Utes make for a good angle. Northwestern and Michigan looks good, too. Both teams are favored this week, and a trip to Michigan gets Jim Harbaugh on camera. But TCU is ranked much higher than any of those teams, and a game against an undefeated K-State would be compelling, as well. It could happen.

But that ignores the biggest obstacle of all: K-State beating Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are favored by eight, and they haven’t lost to the Wildcats in Stillwater since 1999.

To quote Bill Snyder, “Ask me that question again after the game.”

Well, K-State opens Big 12 play with a six-game gauntlet: at No. 20 Oklahoma State, vs. No. 4 TCU, vs. No. 15 Oklahoma, at Texas, vs. No. 5 Baylor at Texas Tech. The Wildcats may not be favored in any of those games. So six straight losses is certainly a possibility.

That being said, this is typically when Snyder works his magic. The Cowboys, Longhorns and Red Raiders are all beatable. K-State tends to play well against Texas and Texas Tech, regardless of the game’s location. Winning in Stillwater will be tough, but not impossible. On paper, TCU should win in Manhattan, but the Horned Frogs needed some luck to escape Lubbock. Oklahoma has a leaky defense, though the Sooners have a history of pounding the Wildcats in Manhattan. And I would certainly give K-State a chance against Baylor, at home on a Thursday.

My guess is K-State finds a way to win two or three of the next six, but it won’t be easy.

And my favorite candy bar is Twix, though I will take a Snickers or Milky Way if you’re offering.

I can tell you one place that definitely is NOT the place to go in Stillwater: Eskimo Joe’s. It’s the most overrated restaurant in the Big 12.

Locals make it out to be God’s gift to bar food, but I don’t understand the obsession. Or why the T-shirts advertising the place are so popular. Sadly, my wife and son both own Eskimo Joe’s shirts. I mean, the place is decent. As far as burgers, sandwiches and cheese fries go, it’s good. And it can be a fun place to watch a game. But that describes 5 million other sports bars across the country, too. Eat there if you want. You will probably like it. I’m just saying, every town has its version of Eskimo Joe’s. But none can match its hype.

A reader offered the following pizza suggestion.

Place seems legit. So I guess go with that.

You would think K-State’s offense would be at its best with Joe Hubener running the zone read alongside Justin Silmon. They are K-State’s two best runners, and that would create confusion for Oklahoma State’s defensive front. But that’s not a look we have seen so far.

In some ways, I think Silmon’s emergence could reduce carries for Hubener. Just hand it to Silmon and get out of the way! Coaches seemed reluctant to run Hubener last week with Jesse Ertz and Alex Delton out. Hard to see that changing. But this is a conference game, with more on the line. Perhaps the coaches open up the playbook.

On Dante Barnett, I would not expect him to play against Oklahoma State. If Snyder says a player is unlikely to play, that means he is definitely out. If there was uncertainty he would have dodged the question. I don’t have a definitive grasp on when Barnett will return to the field, but my guess is late October.

Doubtful. I think K-State coaches want to redshirt Jonathan Banks as originally planned. If they can get by without him, I think they will. But I don’t want to slam the door completely shut on a Banks appearance. He would be an improvement on Charles Jones in the wildcat formation, because of his arm.

I am eager to see how you keep this question going next week and beyond. Love the persistence.

My over/under for Banks would be 0.5. He isn’t starting this season unless Hubener gets injured. And next year he will presumably face more competition than he did this season.

One would think God would open as the betting favorite, but Will Geary isn’t a weight-room freak for nothing.

I hope this happens. I wonder, though, how easy can it be for college students to get their hands on Winnie the Pooh costumes? Tigger, I assume, can be pulled off without much difficulty. But Eeyore could be a challenge.

Kellis Robinett: @KellisRobinett

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