The Royal Sampler: Iowa State and K-State always play close games, three Wildcats get honored, Willie’s mishap and links

DAILY TAKE

Kansas State is a touchdown favorite heading into Saturday’s game at Iowa State, but one look at the above picture should be all it takes to realize a winner might not be decided until the final seconds at Jack Trice Stadium.

The Wildcats own a four-game winning streak over the Cyclones, but all four games have come by single-digit margins (K-State had to block an extra point in the final moments to win 24-23 in Arrowhead Stadium in 2009) and none of them were played in Ames.

Throw in the fact that Iowa State has proven itself as a giant-killer under coach Paul Rhoads by beating Nebraska (2009), Texas (2010), then No. 2 Oklahoma State (2011) and previously undefeated TCU last week, and this game could turn out to be one of the most interesting Big 12 matchups of the weekend.

Not everyone has respect for the Cyclones, though. Rhoads is 22-21 in the middle of his fourth season. But Missouri receiver T.J. Moe, of all people, did his best to make sure everyone takes notice of them. He hopes his team can follow in the Cyclones’ footsteps when it takes on top-ranked Alabama this weekend.

“For us, the way our season is going, it’s kind of our opportunity to be an Iowa State of last year,” Moe told Missouri reporters earlier this week. “It happens every year. Somebody does it … knocks off the No. 1 team. It would definitely be an upset. There’s no getting around that one.”

Not sure that’s what Missouri was hoping for when it left the Big 12 for the SEC, but his point is still valid.

Iowa State has the ability to beat highly-ranked teams, so you can’t classify K-State’s trip to Ames as a trap game, even with West Virginia next up on the schedule.

The Cyclones don’t always pull upsets, but they have always played the Wildcats tough. A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are two of the best linebackers in the Big 12, and their offense is built around not making mistakes now that Jared Barnett is in at quarterback.

Other than a 24-19 victory at Oklahoma, K-State has won each of its games by multiple touchdowns. Maybe it will beat Iowa State easily, too. But no one should be surprised if the game is once again close.

LINKS
– Kansas State’s mascot apparently had an unfortunate run-in with a child at a birthday party. While trying to lead a K-S-U Wildcats cheer, he accidentally kicks a child in the head. The Big Lead preserved it in .GIF form.

Willie the Wildcat showed up at a children’s birthday party recently. He gathered all the kids around to do the KSU chant and kicked a small child right in the face. I mean, this is incredible, Anderson Silva-like precision.

– Arthur Brown, Collin Klein and Tyler Lockett all made Phil Steele’s mid-season All-America team. Brown, a senior linebacker, made the first team. Lockett, a sophomore receiver, made the second team as a special teams player. Klein made the team as a third-team quarterback.

– Here’s my story from today’s paper on how much K-State’s defense has improved in its first five games. The Wildcats have shown progress in just about every statistical category and haven’t allowed more than 21 points in a game yet.

– KU football coach Charlie Weis is still mad at the University Daily Kansan. I think we can all agree he has bigger things to worry about right now, though.

– Want to see a fired-up coach? Well, you’re in luck, because Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was pumped after the Aggies’ last victory. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to be filmed celebrating anymore.

– Are coaches wrong in asking players to run as punishment? A few people in Des Moines think so.

– West Virginia fans are still setting stuff on fire after football wins.

– Will K-State and Iowa State play another nail-biter on Saturday? The Ames Tribune takes a look.

– Also from the Ames Tribune, The Cyclones are still trying to prove themselves despite a top 25 ranking in the USA Today poll.

– Iowa State’s new quarterback has the dreaded “game manager” tag attached to him. But that’s not such a bad thing, according to the Des Moines Register.