Want the silver lining?

Kansas State would be atop the conference standings right now – if the Wildcats were competing in the Sun Belt Conference. Yep, they’ve beaten North Texas – which lost 42-10 yesterday to Florida International, which lost to Kansas, 40-10 – and Louisiana-Lafayette.

K-State would own the Sun Belt.

And not to be too flip, but was this the ultimate goal? To lower expectations to this degree? All we kept hearing in August was how this team was going to be compete for championships – in the Big 12 North and the Big 12 overall.

Really? How foolish does that sound now? Ask yourself this – do you think K-State could win the Sun Belt championship? I’m not so sure.

These are issues of confidence and trust, and the Wildcats are suffering from a dearth of each. There is internal unrest – the players will never admit it publicly, but it’s there – and I’m only guessing on this, but running sprints at 3 a.m. in the morning probably didn’t sit well with all of the veterans. But there is some optimism, if only because there are games left to be played. While it’s impossible to know what will happen, with what we’ve seen so far, it’s not hard to predict what might happen, and it doesn’t look pretty.

But that’s the not the point.

Want to know how bad it is? There were Tech critics – and really, they’ve piped down a little but they’re still out there – who said all week the Red Raiders hadn’t played anybody. The case could be made that they still haven’t. Look at who Tech beat in non-conference, and note that the 30-point margin of victory was worse than the Red Raiders’ triumphs against Eastern Washington and at Nevada – and this was IN MANHATTAN?

In the closing moments of the debacle, I asked K-State president Jon Wefald – a good, possibly great man -
what he thought. He kind of shrugged his shoulders, looked at me and said, “That’s a really good football team.”

This is where K-State football is? Back to being a punchline on Saturday afternoons? The mere thought of what Oklahoma, Missouri and even Kansas might do this team must be terrifying. And you have to think A&M feels good about its chances next week, and you think Dan Hawkins isn’t drooling at the prospect of his team getting back in the win column when K-State comes to Boulder? Remember, Hawkins hasn’t beaten Ron Prince yet, and he probably feels as if he’s due.

Then again, with that logic, Prince probably feels as if he’s due against Pinkel and Mangino, and the odds are slim of that happening this season.

In closing, maybe the Wildcats were right all along. Maybe this is a championship team – in the Sun Belt. Then again, if K-State played Louisiana-Lafayette on the road, the outcome might have been different. At this point, can you be certain otherwise?