Ready for the Cotton Bowl. Tired of writing about the Cotton Bowl. Ready for the Cotton Bowl to be played. I love this match-up between Kansas State and Arkansas. I like it that K-State and its over-achieving team get a chance against a good team from the best conference in the country, the SEC. The only thing I worry about is the rust from a one-month layoff. Practice cannot simulate games and you see that rust in so many of these bowl games. I hope both of these teams are sharp – offensively and especially defensively – tonight. But I have my concerns that the Cotton Bowl will deteriorate into a blase offensive shootout. I hope not.
* My pick: Kansas State 35, Arkansas 31. That’s a lot of points, for sure, but not like some of the other bowl games. Defense won’t be a no-show at the Cotton Bowl.
* I have a lot of questions about K-State’s men’s basketball team after its showing in a one-sided loss at Kansas on Wednesday night. What has happened to freshman forward Thomas Gipson, who was held scoreless in that game and didn’t appear to want anything to do with the Jayhawks? Will K-State be able to move forward effectively without a prototypical point guard, which Will Spradling isn’t and Angel Rodriguez is struggling to become? Can Rodney McGruder ever become a true go-to guy for this basketball team? Kansas State looked out of its league against Kansas.
* That said, I’m fascinated by Saturday’s game between Missouri and Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum. The 14-0 Tigers have been one of the biggest surprises, and best teams, in the country. Talk about a team that’s fun to watch. K-State, meanwhile, will be at home and I’m guessing Frank Martin hasn’t hadn’t out Happy Meals to his players since the loss in Lawrence. To follow up, KSU has a home game Tuesday night against another unbeaten team, Baylor. This is an opportunity for the Wildcats to get back up and dust themselves off. Can they win either of these upcoming games?
* What looked like a top-heavy Missouri Valley Conference just a couple of weeks ago now looks like a league with a lot of parity. And parity isn’t always good. Parity doesn’t lead to multiple NCAA Tournament bids for a conference such as the MVC, either. It’s still early though and there is plenty of time for things to shake out. But I wonder if there is a dominant team in the Valley? I thought Wichita State and Creighton had chances to be that. Still might.
* The Cotton Bowl, hands down, is the best bowl game I’ve covered because of the way the officials treat media, players, coaches, fans, etc. These folks know how to operate a bowl game. Almost makes me want to drop my adamant insistence that college football go to a playoff system, but not quite. I’m still pro-playoff.
* I’m glad for the opportunity to watch Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein play one more football game this season. I guarantee Klein has caused sleepless nights for Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks’ defensive coaches.
* Pitchers and catchers report in six weeks or so. Amazing how time flies. I would like it to slow down some.
* My wife and I saw “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” last Friday and I’m still thinking about that movie. I will be very disappointed if Rooney Mara, the girl with the dragon tattoo, doesn’t get nominated for an Academy Award. She was amazing.
* Can you believe this weather? Sorry, had to be weather guy there for a bit.
* We got out and played golf at D.B. Houston golf course yesterday afternoon and it might have been the best weather day of my long golfing career. It didn’t make me play any better, but the conditions were perfect.
* I lost the ability to chip a golf ball three years ago and I have not been able to find it since. Help, somebody. Where should I go to get help? Who can teach me how to chip a #!@#@! golf ball again?
* I have watched more of the NBA’s regular season than I did all of last year. The NBA should start its regular season on Christmas Day every year. Make it special, the way it was this year. Blanket the airwaves with games on that first day, when people will make it a point to watch. You don’t need to play 82 games in an NBA regular season. Play 66. So what if a team has to play on three consecutive days once a season? So what if the games are compacted more than they used to be? Because the NBA hit the ground running with great match-ups and story lines, there has been little if any backlash because of the work stoppage.
* It’s another beautiful day here in Dallas, as I’m sure it is in Wichita.
* I’m looking forward to covering a game at Cowboys Stadium.
* Kansas State coach Bill Snyder took time to thank me for a column I had done – writings from some of his former players about his influence on their lives – during a news conference Wednesday. I got some ribbing from the other writers for that. But thanks, Coach Snyder. Feel free to stop any news conference you’re conducting to thank me for a column. I’ll handle the naysayers.
* The plans for renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium look impressive. With a $75 million price tag, they should. Then again, the plans for the building of Bramlage Coliseum looked impressive back in the day and look what Kansas State came up with. I’m not saying K-State won’t pull together that money and do exactly what it says it’s going to do to BSFS. I am saying K-State fell well short of its promises for Bramlage.
* Thanks for reading. I’ll check back later in the day. I do have a live Cotton Bowl chat (although other topics are certainly welcome) today from 1-2 on Kansas.com. See you throughout the day and tonight from the Big D.