Category Archives: FLIP SIDE

The K-State vlog — OU week

FLIP SIDE: Texas Tech

Is there a flip side? Seems like nobody is giving Kansas State a legitimate chance to win this weekend. So I’m tossing it out there for you all, especially since I didn’t have any luck luring a Tech beat writer to contribute something. Send your thoughts on Saturday’s game – no more than 50 words, please – to jmartin@wichitaeagle.com (or jmartin@kcstar.com) and I’ll post some of the more entertaining responses today or tomorrow.

The best entry gets – and I kid you not – an autographed Bob Krause K-State hat from the Scott City Catbackers “Nut Fry.” Giddy up!

FLIPSIDE – Louisiana-Lafayette

Joshua Parrott covers the Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser . His blog can be found here. He was born in Olathe, and how’s this for staying true to his local roots? He said he was “angry” when Texas A&M beat K-State in the 1998 Big 12 Championship, so that should endear him to most of you. Here’s his analysis of what we should expect tomorrow:

Two weeks after a 20-17 loss at Illinois, UL gets another crack at beating a BCS conference team on the road.

This time, the Ragin’ Cajuns play Kansas State in a game I think will be closer than many expect.

The Wildcats will get a good look at UL’s tandem of quarterback Mike Desormeaux and running back Tyrell Fenroy. Prince called those two of the better offensive players his team will play this season, and he’s right.

Read More »

FLIP SIDE: Louisville

My life has gotten a little hectic lately, but I know – you don’t want to hear about it. And I don’t blame you.

This is a little late, but I spaced on putting it on the site. C.L. Brown covers Louisville for the Louisville Courier-Post, and he was kind enough to trade viewpoints on tonight’s game with me. His blog can be found here, but here’s the take he wrote Monday (!) for K-Stated:

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FLIP SIDE – North Texas

Brett Vito covers North Texas for the Denton Record-Chronicle. His Mean Green blog is loaded with pertinent information and it’s a good read. He was kind enough to send along some perspective about the Mean Green because, really, who knows better? Certainly not me. Anyway, here’s his essay on the program and the situation…

IMAGINE for a minute that you are widely successful professionally and universally loved in the city you work in with no prospects of the good life changing any time soon.

Want to give it up?

North Texas head coach Todd Dodge, who will lead the Mean Green into a game against Kansas State this week, did just that.

Read More »

THE FLIP SIDE… Missouri

This week, I caught up with the inspiration behind “The Flip Side,” Graham Watson, who covers Missouri for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She’s good people, and I recently submitted an entry to her blog, which can be found here.

Anyway, here’s what Ms. Watson had to say:

Mizzou isn’t overlooking Kansas State.

Sorry. Get the thought out of your head. It ain’t happening.

I thought from the beginning of the season that the game at Kansas State would be the Tigers’ toughest of the season. Granted, I didn’t know it would be for a Big 12 North title or a 10-1 record, but I thought it would have serious implications on Missouri’s season.

Chalk that prediction up as a personal victory.

This ain’t your granddaddy’s Missouri. Heck, it ain’t even the Missouri that came into Bill Snyder Family Stadium and saw all its hopes and dreams crushed in the fourth quarter a couple years ago. This is a Missouri team that knows that Kansas State is the one team that stands in its way of a showdown with Kansas. A Border showdown, if you will. And if you think the Tigers are taking that lightly, you haven’t watched this team all season.

I will say this, I think Kansas State is a good team. A little schizophrenic for my tastes, but still has the talent to shock some people, and is probably far better than it’s shown a lot this year. It’s desperate. It needs that sixth win for bowl eligibility.

But Missouri isn’t going to be the Wildcats’ Huckleberry.

The game will stay close early. Kansas State will come out ready to avenge last week’s loss to Nebraska. It will force Missouri into some mistakes, but won’t be able to take advantage of those mistakes. And that’s where the game will turn. You can keep Missouri’s offense quiet for a quarter, as Colorado did a few weeks ago, but unless the Wildcats come strong while they’re holding the Tigers down, Missouri is going to figure things out and make life tough the rest of the way.

I will say this: Jordy Nelson is fantastic. He was my No. 1 on my Biletnikoff ballot. I think he deserves to win the award. He probably deserves to win Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, but I think Todd Reesing and Chase Daniel will be duking that out. Missouri’s at a big loss in coverage on Nelson without Pig Brown. I would not be surprised if he has another 100-plus-yard day. But, I don’t think Kansas State’s running game gets going. I think Freeman plays under constant pressure, and Missouri forces a couple turnovers.

This game is bigger than just Missouri and Kansas State. It’s bigger than the 18-year history where Missouri has never won in Manhattan. This game has Big 12 championship implications, BCS championship implications, and all sorts of bowl scenarios that I’m not even going to attempt to decipher.

Kansas State will want to play spoiler, but they’re at the end of a very long line of teams who have tried. I don’t think the Wildcats are going to show Missouri something it hasn’t seen before.

It would be different if there wasn’t so much history between the programs, and Kansas State hadn’t shocked Texas. Missouri said it wasn’t even going to study the Nebraska tape because the game was such an anomaly. Mizzou is studying the Kansas State team that a lot of people thought it would be. That’s the team Missouri is preparing to play, the team that was supposed to be the darkhorse in the Big 12 North title hunt, not the one that’s lost two games in a row. And that’s probably what’s going to hurt Kansas State the most, the fact that Missouri is preparing for the Wildcats’ former self.

Missouri isn’t overlooking Kansas State. It respects Kansas State and is looking to change a history that has tortured the Mizzou program for far too long. It all goes in cycles. Years ago, it was Kansas State wreaking havoc, now it’s Mizzou’s turn to have some fun.

Prediction: Missouri 48, Kansas State 31

So, what do you all think? Think the Wildcats have a shot?

THE FLIP SIDE… Nebraska

It’s been an interesting season for Sean Callahan at Huskers Illustrated. Nebraska’s stunning fall from grace has been bad enough, but the Bill Callahan saga has been, at times, surreal and sad.

Anyway, here’s his take on what has gone awry in Lincoln:

Heading into the 2007 season, I, like many other people
were very optimistic that Bill Callahan’s program at Nebraska was off and
running. 

Nebraska won their first Big 12 North title since 1999,
they played in their first January bowl game since 2001 and it appeared all the
parts were in place for a nine or 10 win season in 2007. So what went wrong? 

Well, I guess the biggest thing I see is Nebraska lacks
leadership through adversity. Last season, guys like Zac Taylor and Adam
Carriker were the glue that kept things together.  This year, Callahan doesn’t
have those “glue guys.” The USC loss really shattered the ego of this football
team and I feel it’s led to the spiral effect to where things are at right now. 

I also think Nebraska might have relied too much on JUCO
talent on the defensive side of the football, and that has led to  a lack of
development at key positions like defensive line and linebacker — areas where NU
really struggles at this season. A wise old K-State fan once told me that
recruiting JUCO’s is like getting on a drug – once you start using it, it’s hard
to get off it. Callahan was starting  to phase out of recruiting JUCO players,
but the lack of development and damage was already done. 

Covering Nebraska football right now is as unique of a
time as I can ever remember. Every day there are rumors flying around about
potential press conferences that Callahan and defensive coordinator Kevin
Cosgrove plan to resign. My favorite rumor I heard was Callahan and Cosgrove
were stepping down, and Charlie McBride and several of the other retired NU
coaches were going to step in and coach the team for the remainder of the
season. 

Every Tuesday, Callahan has his regular press conference
and it’s almost gotten to the point where everybody knows what’s going to happen
and people are backing down from the tough questions. Two things have now been
established throughout this whole process — Callahan will not resign and Osborne
won’t make a decision until after the Colorado game.

I’ll give Callahan credit, people have tried to get him
fired up by asking him tough questions, but he continues to keep his cool. The
last thing he needs is a major meltdown, which in the football world is called
“committing coaching suicide” when you are on the way out.   

However, I will say this, I think Callahan has done some
really good things at Nebraska, but obviously the only thing that matters are
wins and losses.  I do feel that whoever takes over this job will have a team
with enough talent where NU should still be very competitive if coached
properly.  Next season Nebraska has eight home games, including five in a row to
start the season.  Their only road games are at KSU, ISU, OU and Texas Tech.

THE FLIP SIDE… Iowa State

We lucked into something a little more conventional this week as Bobby La Gesse, who covers Iowa State for the Ames Tribune. He’s a good sport – see the Cyclones’ 1-8 record – who seems knowledgeable about the team, which is always good.

These are his thoughts:

Kansas State should know
what Iowa State is going through.
 

It was only a year ago
that the Wildcats had to learn a new scheme under a new coach. The
Wildcats started slow and progressed as the year went on. That’s
what the Cyclones have done this year.

Coach Gene Chizik has said
his first season at ISU is all about small steps. The more steps the
Cyclones take in the right direction, the better off they will be in
the future.

While the Cyclones haven’t
been able to rack up the wins like the Wildcats in Ron Prince’s
first season, they played with two of the nations best teams —
Oklahoma and Missouri — in the last two weeks. Now the Cyclones
were never in a position to win either game down the stretch, they’ve
made enough strides recently that it wouldn’t be a shock to see
them in a position to win one of their final three games in the
fourth quarter.

If the Wildcats are to
become bowl eligible Saturday here is what they must do:

1. Overpower the ISU
offensive line and stop the run. The Cyclones offense is based on
the run. If they can establish the run, they can make the passing
game a bigger threat because than it is otherwise by utilizing play
action fakes. If the Wildcats can stuff the run, they will turn the
Cyclones into a one-dimensional team and the offensive line has had
trouble stopping the blitz in passing situations.

2.  Jordy Nelson and the
rest of the Kansas State receivers must wear out the ISU secondary.
The Cyclones only have three healthy cornerbacks. They can’t even
run a dime defense. Missouri had success spreading out the ISU
defense and picking apart the mismatches the Cyclones lack of depth
in the secondary has created. Kansas State must do the same.

3. The Wildcats need to
take advantage of what the Cyclones kicking game gives them. The ISU
kickers struggle to put the get the ball inside the 20 and the
Cyclones opponents average starting position is the 38-yard line. If
the Wildcats can turn their good field position into as few early
scores, they could pull away from the Cyclones before the game hits
halftime.

Prediction: Kansas State
31 Iowa State 17. Kansas State knows how to win. ISU is still
learning how to win. That experience — and a bigger stable of
explosive playmakers — will make the difference.

THE FLIP SIDE… Baylor

We’re doing something a little different this week. Instead of tracking down an opposing beat writer for commentary, he decided to contact the good folks at BearMeat, which might be the funniest blog in existence about a cellar-dwelling BCS program.

We didn’t want the standard fare. Instead, we asked for an essay explaining what it takes to be a Baylor fan, and why do hundreds of people (give or take hundreds) put themselves through the misery? Hopefully this provides some clarity:


Baylor University is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of Texas. Situated on the fabled banks of the Brazos river in
Waco, Baylor has been playing mediocre football since 1899. Baylor
football has had its high-water marks (Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, ranked #3 in the country) in its illustrious history, and its
low-water marks (1996-present).

What keeps fans like us coming back for more is the pull of tradition,
the eternal hope of the next season, and the fact that its the only
college football for miles around. Baylor fans are a long-suffering
sort, whose expectations have been systematically lowered during the  Big 12 years to the point where our internet message boards are
consumed with pointless speculation and "turd polishing" – trying to
put the best spin on a bad situation.

Lately our creed has been "Embrace the Absurdity" – revel in the
bizarre twist of fate that has led us to the current state of affairs.
No, we won’t compete for a bowl any time soon, but our assistant
coaches will add levity with their unique pub urination customs and
zany Texas Tech-style offense.

In short, life as a Baylor football fan is a truly post-modern
experience. It has nothing to do with what happens on the field; it is
an entirely socio-linguistic construction. As our  top-notch athletics
department slogan says, "Baylor sports: More than just a game." We would add: "Not even a game."

Works for us – we especially appreciate the creed. Don’t forget to check out BearMeat  – you won’t be disappointed. 

THE FLIP SIDE… Oklahoma State

Have I mentioned that every time we’ve done one of these – OK, there’s only been two so far (thanks, Kyle) – the opposing team’s beat writer has been flat-out wrong. Don’t know if that’s telling or not, but if so, you’ll be happy with this week’s guest, The Oklahoman’s Mike Baldwin.

Kansas State and Oklahoma State are each fighting to stay atop their
division standings. The key matchup will be OSU’s high-powered offense
facing a formidable Kansas State defense that ranks among the league
leaders.

The Cowboys and Boise State were the only two schools in
the country to average both 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing
last season. This season, OSU’s offense is on pace to fare even better.

Led by Big 12 rushing leader Dantrell Savage (124.4 yards a
game), the Cowboys are averaging 246.3 yards rushing which ranks sixth
in the country. The Cowboys, featuring an all-American wide receiver
candidate (Adarius Bowman) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, also are
averaging 238.0 passing yards.

K-State counters with a defense that’s allowing only 3.1
yards a carry and 112.5 rushing yards a game. The Wildcats also test
opponent’s pass protection. K-State owns a 20-4 advantage in
quarterback sacks.

The other matchup isn’t as intriguing but could play a key
role. OSU’s once suspect defense has allowed the equivalent of 14.6
points a game the last 14 quarters after allowing 33.6 points in its first
14 quarters.

Led by QB Josh Freeman, WR Jordy Nelson and RB James
Johnson, the Wildcats will provide some answers whether OSU’s defense
can continue its recent hot streak or be suspect against the pass as
they were in losses at Georgia and Troy and a 49-45 shootout win
against Texas Tech.

Still, the key matchup is OSU’s offense versus K-State’s
defense. The Wildcats haven’t allowed more than 30 points in any game
this season. The Cowboys, though, are starting to resemble last year’s
unit that finished seventh in the nation in scoring. As a result, OSU
playing at home, with an offense finding its stride, will be the
difference.

Prediction: OSU 31, Kansas State 24.

Thanks, Mike. His coverage of the Cowboys can be read here.