Given Kansas State’s superb record under Bill Snyder, opposing coaches have long had a difficult time dealing with the Wildcats.
For opposing coaches in their first year at a program, beating the Snyder-led Wildcats has proven impossible.
But that will be Clint Bowen’s task on Saturday when Kansas visits Manhattan (3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1). This will be Bowen’s eighth game as interim coach. He wants the job on a permanent basis and Jayhawks athletic director Sheahon Zenger said Bowen will be considered.
If the decision depends on Saturday’s outcome, well, here’s a bit of history to consider.
I counted 15 occasions since the Big 12 started in 1996 that a program under new leadership took on a Snyder-coached K-State team, and the Wildcats have won them all.
The encounters against Kansas haven’t been close: Terry Allen in 1997 (48-16), Mark Mangino in 2002 (64-0), Turner Gill in 2010 (59-7) and Charlie Weis in 2012 (56-16).
But they’re in good company. In 1998, Snyder’s Wildcats beat Mack Brown’s first Texas team 48-7 and Frank Solich’s first Nebraska squad 40-30. In 2001, the Cats knocked off Gary Pinkel’s first Missouri team 24-3.
Because of the Big 12’s uneven scheduling in division play, Snyder’s Wildcats didn’t meet the first teams of Bob Stoops at Oklahoma or Art Briles at Baylor. But they did beat Gary Barnett’s first Colorado team in 1999 and the first Texas Tech teams of Mike Leach in 2000 and Kliff Kingsbury in 2013.
The pattern of success stands to reason. Programs with new coaches often are looking to rebuild and are an underdog against superior Snyder-coached K-State teams. That’s been the case in the four overwhelming victories over Kansas.
Bowen and the Jayhawks are up against that trend on Saturday.
▪ Arkansas at Missouri, 1:30 p.m. Friday, CBS (Chs. 5): Which Allen starts at quarterback for Arkansas, Brandon or younger brother Austin? Brandon injured his hip with the Razorbacks leading Mississippi 17-0 last weekend and Austin finished up the 30-0 victory. Hogs Coach Bret Bielema said earlier in the week that Brandon has a chance to play today.
▪ South Carolina at Clemson, 11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN: Neither side is going to a conference championship game. The Tigers’ incentive is the end a five-game losing streak in a series. Before the current trend, Clemson had won 10 of the previous 12 meetings.
▪ Georgia Tech at Georgia, 11 a.m. Saturday, SEC Network: The Bulldogs are 12-1 in the series with Mark Richt as the coach. If only he had that kind of success against Florida.
▪ Kentucky at Louisville, 11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2: It’s always fun when John Calipari and Rick Pitino’s teams get together. And it’s an OK football game, too. The Cardinals have won the last three and look to deny Kentucky bowl eligibility this year.
▪ Florida at Florida State, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN: Will Muschamp could make a big statement in his final game as the Gators’ coach and shake up the College Football Playoff race with an upset.
▪ Mississippi State at Mississippi, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS (Chs. 5, 13): Since defeating Tennessee on Oct. 18, Mississippi has dropped three of four, beating only Presbyterian. The 30-0 loss to Arkansas was particularly troubling. The Bulldogs want to send a message to the College Football Playoff committee: They belong on the bracket.
▪ Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m. Saturday, SEC Network: The Vols are playing for bowl eligibility and the season can’t end soon enough for the Commodores.
▪ Auburn at Alabama, 6:45 p.m. Saturday, ESPN: The Tigers have nothing to lose after playing themselves out of the division race the past three weeks. Top-ranked Alabama is playing for everything, the division, a chance for the SEC championship and a spot on the playoff bracket.
Big 12 games
▪ West Virginia at Iowa State, 11 a.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1: Two more opportunities for the Cyclones to grab a conference victory and the season finale is Dec. 6 at TCU. The Mountaineers have lost three straight and surrendered 400 passing yards to Kansas State’s Jake Waters in their last game.
▪ Texas Tech vs. Baylor at Arlington, Texas, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC (Ch. 9): The teams combined to 97 points in the Bears’ victory last season. The Red Raiders came back to defeat Iowa State last week and running back DeAndre Washington became Tech’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 1998.
▪ Kansas at Kansas State, 3 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1: Not that matchup was ripe for an upset, but Oklahoma caught Kansas at a good time. The Jayhawks had played well the previous two weeks (Iowa State, TCU) and had their biggest rival ahead. But nobody saw a 427-yard rushing day from the Sooners’ Samaje Perine.