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Bob Lutz: When will we media folks wise up about K-State?

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at 4:40 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, August 30, 2013, at 9:19 p.m.

I would prefer to talk to my fellow Big 12 media brethren in private, but it’s tough to get us all together. So indulge me.

Men and women, I thought you were on the ball. I thought you had a little something going on inside those brains of yours. Apparently, I’m missing something.

You picked Kansas State to finish sixth in the Big 12 football race this fall? Are you trying?

Two years ago, you folks — many of you my friends — picked the Wildcats to finish eighth. And they finished second.

Last year, you picked K-State to finish sixth. The Cats tied with Oklahoma atop the league and beat the Sooners in their head-to-head matchup in Norman.

May I remind you that Bill Snyder coaches at Kansas State? Still. I think you’re aware of him. I’m pretty sure most of you have written or produced eloquent stories about how Snyder transformed K-State from a laughingstock into one of the most consistently-good programs in the country.

Remember?

Snyder could take a bunch of guys on lunch break from the sanitation department and go 6-6.

No matter what you think of K-State’s talent level, there’s Snyder. No matter what fine-tooth comb you use to analyze the roster, there’s Snyder. No matter what you think you might see, you first have to look at Snyder.

The man has a track record, to say the least. If Snyder is coaching, I’m always going to give K-State the benefit of the doubt.

Folks, you’re overthinking this. Yes, I realize the Wildcats don’t have Collin Klein at quarterback. I know linebacker Arthur Brown has moved on to the NFL and that a lot of other good players are missing from the 2012 team that played in the Fiesta Bowl.

But Ellis Rainsberger isn’t coaching this team anymore, in case you missed the memo.

Now I know a lot of the Big 12 preseason voters come from Texas. And I know some of you look down your noses at us basketball geeks here in Kansas.

But with all due respect, I would like to remind you Texans that Snyder is 14-8 against the formidable teams from your state, including 5-2 against the mighty Longhorns.

He has big wins against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, too.

Snyder is as money as a $5 bill. Yet the preseason voters continue to treat him like he’s Turner Gill, for crying out loud.

I’m not saying K-State is a threat to win the national championship. I see the question marks.

I also know that Snyder is great about turning questions into answers and that his team is almost always more talented than people give them credit for.

Snyder might not recruit blue chips like some of the bigger-name schools. He prefers finding players with lower floors and higher ceilings. And by the time players leave K-State, they have to duck to get through doorways.

Replacing Klein, from the outside, might look like an impossibility. But the two candidates to do so are redshirt sophomore Daniel Sams, whose body is fueled by electricity, and junior-college transfer Jake Waters, who led Iowa Western to a national championship last season and passed for 3,500 yards.

Given that Snyder almost always has a top-flight quarterback, is there any reason to think this season will be different?

Eight starters return on offense. The Wildcats are going to score.

But the naysayers focus on a defense with only two returning starters, forgetting that the Big 12 has transformed into a wide-open, Gunfight at the OK Corral-kind of conference.

K-State’s defense is going to bend. It might even break. But it’s not going to be a laughingstock. Linebacker Tre Walker and safety Ty Zimmerman are All-Big 12-caliber players.

Do you preseason voters really think Snyder and his staff won’t find others to step up?

Sixth place?

Texas keeps shooting itself in the foot and is picked fourth.

Did you see Oklahoma in its bowl game against Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel last season? But the Sooners are picked second this season because they’re the Sooners.

Oklahoma State is picked to win the conference. OSU might very well win the conference.

K-State does play Texas and Oklahoma State on the road. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

I just feel like you voters, my colleagues, are not as focused as you need to be. Picking K-State sixth in the Big 12 is irresponsible.

It speaks poorly of your aptitude. It proves you haven’t done your homework. You are thumbing your nose at history and at Bill Snyder.

After all these years, you still haven’t learned. Shame on you.

Reach Bob Lutz at 316-268-6597 or blutz@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @boblutz.

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