Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Royal Sampler: K-State gets no love from mock selection committee, K-State Mask jumps the shark and links

Kansas State is used to getting overlooked by the BCS, so maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Wildcats were left out of a mock playoff selection performed by Sports Illustrated this week.

Still, it was a bit shocking to learn they weren’t even considered.

The news outlet gathered up 11 athletic directors and asked them to select the four teams that would play in college football’s new four-team playoff if it was being put into action this year instead of 2014. They settled on Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida and Oregon. They also selected four other teams worth considering: Oregon, LSU, Texas A&M and Stanford.

Stunningly, that meant Kansas State — a recent No. 1 team and the presumptive 11-1 Big 12 champion — did not make the committee’s top eight. Most members could not get past the Wildcats’ 52-24 drubbing by then 4-5 Baylor.

“Even though they [have] one loss, it’s a nasty loss,” said Moos. “That’s why I left them out. The other ones we’re talking about are overtime losses and tough opponents.”

“I just think Texas A&M and Oregon would beat ‘em,” Smith said of the Wildcats. Asked if he would have said that even before the Baylor loss, Smith replied: “Yep, I would have.”

Demonstrating just how thin the difference is between teams, Stricklin noted, “If Pittsburgh had made that [33-yard] field goal in overtime, I don’t know how strong Notre Dame would be in this conversation. Kansas State and Notre Dame both have road wins at Oklahoma and both have good wins, but Kansas State lost to a .500 team basically, and Pittsburgh would have been similar for Notre Dame.”

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The Royal Sampler: Bryce Brown’s big game, Collin Klein falls to fifth in one Heisman Trophy poll and links

Former Kansas State running back Bryce Brown had his first memorable game with the Philadelphia Eagles last night, shattering the franchise’s single-game rookie rushing record with 178 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Brown got the first start of his pro career because usual starter LeSean McCoy was out with a concussion. But Brown played well enough that one website now wonders if he should be the starter regardless of McCoy’s health moving forward.

It wasn’t a perfect night for him. He fumbled twice. But can you honestly expect a mistake-free game from a player who hasn’t started since high school?

Wildcats fans will have mixed reactions to Brown’s game. Some will crack jokes about him accomplishing more in one night than he did during his entire career at K-State. And that is fair. Brown didn’t last long in Manhattan. But some will be happy for him. Here is what he told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the game:

“I knew we were going to run the ball coming into the game, and I was prepared for it,” said Brown, who played one year at Tennessee and one game at Kansas State before the Eagles drafted him in the seventh round. “I was up for the challenge.”

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Postgame: Michigan 71, K-State 57

In its first loss of the season, Kansas State made 36.7 percent of its shots from the field, 22.2 percent of its shots from three-point range and scored more than half of its points on fast break and second chance opportunities.

The Wildcats clearly struggled with Bruce Weber’s motion offense, and that’s the main reason they were unable to push No. 4 Michigan in the second half of a 71-57 defeat.

“We need to spend more time on offense, because a lot of us aren’t on the same page with knowing how to set screens and keep the offense moving,” starting forward Nino Williams said.

That showed when it took nearly 10 minutes for K-State to get its first points out of a half-court set. Seniors Rodney McGruder and Jordan Henriquez were quiet until the game got out of reach and guards Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez were the only two players that were consistently active.

But while they held the ball or sprinted around the perimeter to get open, K-State’s interior players seemed lost. They rarely caught the ball in good position to turn and shoot, and when they tried to pass back outside Michigan made them work.

The Wolverines didn’t allow the Wildcats to make many easy passes, and that was perhaps what hurt K-State the most. When forwards have to jump or lob passes to get the ball to guards on the perimeter, everything slows down.
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Sunday Rewind: Baylor 52, K-State 24

Kansas State’s perfect season came to a crashing halt at Baylor on Saturday. The Wildcats, unable to stop the Bears or move the ball like they did during their first 10 games, played their worst game of the season and lost 52-24.

Few expected Baylor, a team with one of the nation’s worst defenses, to pull the upset. But it did so easily.

How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Heisman Watch: Optimus Klein vs. Johnny Football

Two quarterbacks. Two nicknames. One Heisman Trophy.

That’s what the race for the most prestigious individual award in college football comes down to at the moment.

Matt Barkley and Geno Smith had their time at the top, Manti Te’o played brilliantly at Oklahoma and Kenjon Barner torched USC, but they have all fallen back to earth. They are all chasing the two quarterbacks on top of the race.

Kansas State senior Collin Klein (aka Optimus Klein) has been in the lead for a few weeks, and unless the No. 1 Wildcats lose one of their final two games it will be difficult for anyone to catch him. But Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) has the best chance.

Manziel is red hot with Heisman voters coming off the Aggies’ wild victory over previously unbeaten Alabama. He threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 92 yards and often made plays out of nothing. It was impressive stuff, and he surged comfortably into second place. He earned a few first-place votes in some straw polls and convinced Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage to write the following:
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Collin Klein makes Sports Illustrated cover

Kansas State fans will have a reason to pick up a copy of this week’s Sports Illustrated. Senior quarterback Collin Klein is on the cover.

Sunday Rewind: K-State 23, TCU 10

Nothing came easy in this game.

Both defenses played well, Collin Klein looked a little rusty and the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings was likely on the line. K-State ended up beating TCU 23-10 in that environment thanks to a strong defensive effort, and celebrated its 10th win of the season.

How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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The Royal Sampler: Travis Tannahill’s lucky shirt, football predictions, K-State’s latest pump-up video and links

Kansas State tight end Travis Tannahill is a superstitious guy.

He grows his beard out every November, he tries to cut his hair as little as possible during the football season and he never changes or washes his gameday shirt when the Wildcats are on a winning streak.

That means the light blue dress shirt Tannahill wore to the season-opener (K-State players wear suits to every game) is the same shirt he will wear to Saturday’s game at TCU. He sported it to K-State’s football news conference this week, and proudly showed off the stains (and good luck) it has picked up since September.

“The only superstition I’ve got going is the shirt. It never gets washed,” Tannahill said. “I wear the same shirt every week … This shirt is the lucky shirt. It’s got some stains on there, but won’t get washed, hopefully, until the end of the year.”

Tannahill says hopefully, because he will reluctantly wash it should K-State lose.

The last time I heard this type of superstition, I was at a rodeo. Bull-riders are also very particular about when their jeans get washed. If they have a few successful rides in a row, they think their jeans are lucky. It piles up on the denim like dirt. No matter how dirty they get, you can’t wash them. That would wash the luck off.

If Tannahill’s shirt is that lucky, he doesn’t want to touch it. No matter how it feels or smells, he doesn’t want to mess with an undefeated season. Even if it means he has to sit by himself on the bus ride to games.
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Heisman Watch: Collin Klein still leads, but Kenjon Barner becomes contender

Kansas State beat Oklahoma State by two touchdowns last week, and Collin Klein put up solid numbers in the first three quarters. So his Heisman Trophy status didn’t take much of a hit, even though he missed the entire fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.

As long as he stays healthy enough to start and K-State remains unbeaten, the award is his to lose.

But he does have a legitimate challenger chasing him now in Oregon’s Kenjon Barner. The running back exploded for 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a victory over USC. With nearly 1,300 rushing yards this season, and as the focal point of Oregon’s high-powered offense, he is the first player I’ve seen who has a realistic chance of catching Klein.

Most online Heisman polls, including mine, have him as the current runner-up. And if he continues to perform the way he did in Los Angeles, he will eclipse the 2,000-yard mark. That will get him some attention if Oregon goes undefeated.

I’m still not sure that will be enough for him to pass Klein if K-State wins out, but voters will take a long look at him.
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 44, Okla. State 30

It was a strange victory for Kansas State.

Oklahoma State jumped out to an early lead. The Wildcats owned the second quarter and pulled away in the third quarter. Then Collin Klein left the game with an undisclosed injury and everyone’s attention turned to the sideline.

He did more than enough while he was in the game to help K-State win, and the Wildcats picked up another important victory. They inched closer to a Big 12 championship and a possible spot in the BCS championship game.

How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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