K-State Sports Newsletter
July 22, 2014

Check Kellis Robinett's Wildcats blog at blogs.kansas.com/kstated

After spending five days in the Metroplex to preview Friday's Cotton Bowl, I've been surprised by one thing more than anything else: The cultural differences between the Big 12 and SEC.

Here in Big 12 country, our conference is filled with coaches and players who go out of their way to say nice things about each other. Ask Bill Snyder about Towel Boy No. 4 over at Baylor, and he's going to have more than a few complimentary things to say about him.

It's not just him, though. Mack Brown talks up the opposition, and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is always talking about the respect he has for other conference teams. Kinda funny that the only Big 12 coaches who used to gripe and complain and make news with bulletin-board comments (Gary Pinkel and Bo Pelini) are no longer in the conference. Players are civil with each other, too.

But in the SEC, where football can feel larger than life, that is not most people's style. Bobby Petrino will criticize opposing coaches if he doesn't think highly of them. Ask a Razorback running back about K-State's defense, and he'll tell you all about how the Wildcats have never seen an offense as physical as the one Arkansas has.

Trash talk is not only on-limits. It seems encouraged.

I've been trying to think of why that is. Part of it probably revolves around the fact that the SEC has had a stranglehold on the national championship lately and will win it again this year. Without a doubt, it is the best conference in the country. But I think it goes deeper than that. The SEC is a physical conference. Players get the chance to hit each other every week, so they might as well make each other angry beforehand. They can take all that out on the field.

But in the Big 12, where spread offenses are king, all insulting an opposing player gets you is burned with deep passes. It's a little harder to bounce back from that than being shoved to the ground by an opposing offensive lineman. If you try to get revenge, you get slapped with a penalty.

Or maybe it goes much deeper than that. Or maybe the change in cultures is as simple as geography. Here in Kansas, we have basketball when football is over. In the SEC, no one cares about hoops except Kentucky.

Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to seeing which culture wins in the Cotton Bowl. It should be a great game.

Don't forget the kicker

If you've watched BCS games the last two days, you know how important it is to have a good kicker. K-State appears to have one in Anthony Cantele, a Wichita junior who has made a game-winning field goal and two game-tying kicks this season. He has an interesting story. He started his collegiate athletic career as a soccer player at Missouri State and took a wild journey to K-State. Want to know more? Check out Kansas.com later today or Thursday's Eagle.

Who will follow Klein?

I'm sure you are looking forward to Collin Klein's final season at Kansas State next year. He's a great college quarterback. But have you ever wondered what's next for the Wildcats under center? Head over to our K-Stated blog for a look at that very question. Daniel Sams and Tavarius Bender should both be in the mix, with Justin Tuggle also fighting for backup duties next season.