K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Football, basketball, bowl games and speculation

K-State players in pre game warm up before taking on TCU (October 10, 2015)
K-State players in pre game warm up before taking on TCU (October 10, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

We’ve got a loaded edition this week, so let’s jump right into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

I think a few bowls will be forced to take 5-7 teams, but not as many as some are projecting. The bowls need 80 teams to fill a record number of games. By my count, there are currently 63 bowl-eligible teams and 18 more sitting on five wins and 11 more still chasing the 6-6 dream. A decent number of those teams are going to take care of business and finish .500. So there may not be much of an issue when the season ends.

But any team that finishes 5-7 and gets invited to a bowl will face a difficult choice. Schools lose money on most bowl games, and they will certainly lose money on bowl games that involve teams with losing records. Fans will buy fewer tickets, but the cost of travel, coaching bonuses and ticket guarantees will remain high. It won’t be a sound investment.

Then again, 5-7 is just a number. Not that different from 6-6 or 6-7 or 7-5, which no one has ever objected to. People still watch teams with those mediocre records play each other in bowl games. If a 5-7 team is fired up about a bowl, I say let it play in one. I imagine K-State would accept a bowl invitation at 5-7 simply to give its young roster extra practice.

The goofy thing about this is bowls may use APR scores to determine which 5-7 teams qualify. That makes little sense. Bowls should be free to create the best matchups.

I’m confident K-State will beat Iowa State and Kansas. Not so sure about West Virginia. The Mountaineers are playing really well right now. But a 6-6 finish and a bowl invitation are certainly possibilities.

If it happens, the Cactus Bowl or the Heart of Dallas Bowl seem like logical landing spots. The Liberty Bowl may be too high up the pecking order.

Slow down there, Bruce Weber.

But you’re right. A quick search shows K-State is the best 3-6 team in all of college football. Of course, there isn’t much competition. The only other team with a 3-6 record that I found was Georgia State, which owns wins against New Mexico State, Ball State and Texas State. The Wildcats would handle the Panthers if they met on a neutral field. If both teams finish strong, maybe one of the bowl games can make it happen.

Changes to the coaching staff could be a positive this offseason. I don’t envision Bill Snyder firing any of his assistants (he never has during his long career) but he could encourage one or two to explore other options.

My guess is the offensive staff remains intact. Dana Dimel has taken heat this season for his playcalling, but Snyder has made it clear he wants to maintain a balanced offense. Even if running is the team’s strength. It’s possible he is simply carrying out Snyder’s wishes. And there is so little talent at the skill positions right now that it’s hard to throw all of the blame at the coordinator.

There could be some changes on the defensive side. To me, the team’s inability to stop anyone on the openinig drive of games shows the defense isn’t getting properly prepared. You can blame the coordinator for that.

I would say that’s a possibility, but not a certainty. K-State assistants don’t speak with media during the season, so I am unaware of what Tom Hayes plans to do with the Wildcats’ defense on Saturday, let alone his retirment plans.

But I’m willing to speculate. If Bill Snyder needs a new defensive coordinator this offseason, some logical names would be Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and Oklahoma State defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements. Snyder has tried and failed to hire Leavitt as defensive coordinator in the past. Maybe things could work out this time. Clements doesn’t have coordinator experience, but he knows how to recruit to K-State, which would be big.

My gut tells me Snyder returns for another season, but we already speculated about future defensive coordinators. Might as well speculate about head coaches, too.

1. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. He’s the hottest coordinator in the country, and he has ties to K-State.

2. Memphis coach Justin Fuente. If you can win in Memphis you can win in Manhattan.

3. Houston coach Tom Herman. Houston just boosted his salary to $3 million.

Bruce Weber’s team has definitely exceeded my expectations so far.

I’m not saying the Wildcats look good enough to reach the NCAA Tournament or contend for a Big 12 championship, but they aren’t the train wreck some assumed they would be. Justin Edwards and Wesley Iwundu look like new, better players. Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes have lots of potential. Team chemistry is 10 times better than it was. They are even scoring at a high rate.

The NIT doesn’t seem out of the question.

It’s worth pointing out that K-State opened last season with two lopsided victories and then fell off a cliff. And this team has its weaknesses. Big teams should have their way with K-State inside, for example. So it’s best to reserve judgment until we see the Wildcats take on better competition. For now, though, they look promising.

K-State vs. Missouri at Sprint Center should be very competitive. It looks like a pick-em game to me. Both teams clobbered Maryland-Eastern Shore and beat another mid-major at home. The crowd should be split. I expect a good game, and will probably pick K-State to win. But Missouri may benefit from having played Xavier on the road earlier this week. Even though it lost, it has faced tough competition. The Wildcats haven’t.

Whoever wins will have a tough time against the No. 1 Tar Heels. North Carolina should win the CBE without much trouble.

My football prediction is K-State 28, Iowa State 24. This game is always close, and this one will be, too. But the Wildcats have more to play for and benefit from the home field.

I wouldn’t go that far. But it is a big one. K-State is off to an encouraging start. Losing to Missouri would dampen that considerably.

It really could. Both teams have three victories and kickoff is at 11 a.m. It is also going to be cold. There were lots of open seats for the Baylor game. There will be more for Iowa State.

The pass normally goes to the fullback, so how about the fullback streak? Or the fullback flyer? The fullback surprise? What about the Dimel pass?

On second thought, someone more creative than myself can answer this one.

So you’re saying instead of playing a Big 12 championship game, the Big 12 champion plays Notre Dame at the end of the regular season?

I grant you it would be a cool game, but I can’t see it happening. It would basically amount to an elimination game.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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