Editor's note: This column first appeared in the Miami Herald
The complexion of Dana Holgorsen’s face said it all.
Last week, Holgorsen’s offense — the one led by former Heisman Trophy front-runner Geno Smith of West Virginia — had just been cut down at the knees by Kansas State’s unrelenting defense, and Holgorsen’s normally ruddy face was an ashen shade of ghostly pale. Comatose and big-eyed, Holgorsen walked toward the middle of the field in Morgantown, W.Va., for the traditional postgame handshake between opposing coaches.
Slowly but with purpose, Holgorsen’s counterpart was closing the distance from the opposite side of the field. Bill Snyder reached midfield a few beats behind Holgorsen, extended a hand and then brought Holgorsen in close to whisper something in his ear.
I just crushed you on your home field and set fire to your season is probably all Holgorsen heard as Snyder offered some grandfatherly words of encouragement.
Snyder, the 73-year-old sage of Manhattan, Kan., has been offering advice — scorching the egos — to a lot of young whippersnappers these first two months of the college football season. His Wildcats (7-0) are ranked third in the Bowl Championship Series standings heading into Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech, and Snyder is the clear Coach of the Year front-runner.
All that is great, and we’re really happy for the old man; now please go away.
No one — and I mean no one except for maybe a few crusty sportswriters and a handful of people in the Middle of Nowhere, Kan. — wants to see the Kansas State football team board a plane on New Year’s Day 2013 and fly south to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game.
If you thought the expression on Holgorsen’s face was lifeless after last week’s 55-14 loss to Kansas State, just wait until Snyder and Alabama coach Nick Saban meet up for that wondrous Kansas State vs. Alabama pre-championship game news conference in Miami.
The phrase “cadaverous bromides” comes to mind.
Saban’s bully shtick is tiresome enough. Just wait until you get a full dose of Saban on your TV screen followed by Snyder’s boorish people skills. The two teams’ defense-first philosophy is a direct reflection of their coaches’ thorny dispositions.
Look, I’m sure it’s a feel-good story to some people that Snyder thumbed his nose at Social Security to return to Kansas State and rebuild the program with JUCO players and transfers. Frankly, I could care less, and I’m pretty sure the majority of college football fans feel the same way.
In Miami, a Kansas State-Alabama BCS title game matchup would just be downright embarrassing. Miami, it seems, is already going to have to grin and bear a visit from Nick Saban. The city sure doesn’t want the Crimson Tide’s opponent to be a school that defeated the Canes 52-13 this season.
Saturday’s slate of games is highlighted by four matchups of teams ranked inside the top 15. It’s a seminal week for the Bowl Championship Series with No. 1 Alabama hosting No. 11 Mississippi State, No. 2 Florida playing No. 10 Georgia, No.5 Notre Dame traveling to No. 8 Oklahoma and Kansas State taking on No. 14 Texas Tech.
Clearly, the Orange Bowl Committee will be rooting for victories by Alabama and Notre Dame. While an Alabama-Kansas State matchup in Miami has all the excitement of a self-induced dry heave, Alabama-Notre Dame would feel like a Super Bowl. Even Oregon State-Florida would be welcomed.
Anything but any combination of teams involving Kansas State.
(Not a reflection of my ballot if the season ended today.)
1. Barrett Jones, senior center, Alabama. 2. Manti Te’o, senior linebacker, Notre Dame. 3. Collin Klein, senior quarterback, Kansas State.