THE MORNING AFTER: Colorado

I’m a Cincinnati Bengals fan. Hold on – this isn’t a gratuitous Bengals reference, so don’t click away.

All season long, through six losses and a likely seventh today against Pittsburgh, I keep reading quotes from my favorite players, all insisting it’s just a matter of time before it all comes together, or how it’s just a matter of execution, or something similar.

But you know what the truth is? As much as it pains me to say this – and if you know me, you know it does – the Bengals aren’t very good. And you want to know how I know? Because you only hear those types of comments from teams that aren’t very good. It’s all talk instead of action, instead of implementing good, sound, winning football.

Which brings us back to Kansas State.

Are you tired of hearing about the game played out exactly how the Wildcats expected, but a play here or a play there would have been the difference?

This is the rhetoric of losing football teams.

This is what K-State is. And I’m not bagging on the Wildcats, or Ron Prince. This is just the reality.

We all know how the next three weeks will play out. Heck, Prince has known since January – why else do you buy out Fresno State? It’s always been about getting to six wins, about being bowl eligible, about being able to point to tangible evidence – five wins in 2007, six in 2008 – of growth and improvement.

The Wildcats should have emerged from Folsom Field with a victory. We all acknowledge this. But you know what the difference was? Colorado played its heart out. The Buffaloes have some athletes, but they’re not overly talented. And say what you want about Dan Hawkins, but he’s not messing around? Benching his son again? Do you realize how tough that must be? Then again, if he doesn’t go to Tyler Hansen, this offense has no life at all.

Suddenly, CU has to feel good moving forward, especially if Hansen can progress. At least there’s hope in Boulder, and let’s be honest here – K-State has been good about doing that for the opposition. Look at Texas A&M. The Aggies hung with Texas Tech after being competitive against the Wildcats.

When does K-State find its dose of hope? Not in the next three weeks. Maybe not against Nebraska, which will be a toss-up when the Huskers roll into Manhattan. And then there’s lowly Iowa State, but wasn’t that what we were saying a year ago before K-State went to Ames?

It’s not just a game of confidence any more. At some point, there’s a credibility aspect. What I mean is, if the coaching staff has consistently predicted or warned the Wildcats about what to expect every Saturday, and the Wildcats still aren’t performing well, that suggests to me some sort of disconnect. Something is amiss. No inside information or such, but it doesn’t make any sense otherwise.

But things could always be worse. You could be a Bengals fan.