Category Archives: The Royal Sampler

The Royal Sampler: All major TV providers will carry Fox Sports 1, former K-State hoops commit in trouble, Braden Wilson pumped about Arrowhead debut

It’s been a while since our last Royal Sampler, but now that the football season is 15 days away there is a lot more K-State news out there link to. So we will try to make this a more consistent part of the blog again.

Let’s jump right in.

Good news for college football fans, particularly at K-State and across the Big 12, the new cable sports network Fox Sports 1 will be carried by all major television providers when it launches on Saturday. The Wildcats’ first two football games, against North Dakota State and Louisiana-Lafayette, will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

The new all-sports network will replace Speed Channel. A list of where you can find Fox Sports 1 is included in my story today. For a while, it appeared Fox Sports 1 might not be carried on DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. But that is no longer a concern.

– Anyone remember Robert Upshaw? The one-time Wildcats hoops commit has been kicked off the basketball team at Fresno State for violations of athletic department policy. When Upshaw committed to former K-State basketball coach Frank Martin, he was highly rated by the recruiting services and was seen as a can’t-miss-prospect. But the 7-footer ended up at Fresno State when Martin left for South Carolina. He started five games as a freshman and is now off the team. Interesting how things work out sometimes.

– Former K-State fullback Braden Wilson is pumped to play his first preseason NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson told the Great Bend Tribune: “My parents have purchased several tickets for the game. Nothing outrageous. It’s my first NFL game at home in front of my family and friends. It’s going to be a big deal.”

– Not exactly K-State sports related, but I think this is interesting news, anyway. Varney’s, the king of K-State memorabilia, has purchased Jayhawk Bookstore.

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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The Royal Sampler: Travis Tannahill’s lucky shirt, football predictions, K-State’s latest pump-up video and links


DAILY TAKE
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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The Royal Sampler: Predictions, links and the Miami Herald’s negative K-State article

PICTURE OF THE DAY

If you haven’t done so yet, go click on the massive photo gallery the Eagle put together of Collin Klein earlier this week. This is my favorite picture of the group — Klein throwing a block for Tyler Lockett. Not something you see very often.

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS
Texas at Kansas: The Longhorns are obviously going to win this game, but I’ve heard from a lot of people who think the Jayhawks could stay competitive. While it’s true they played Oklahoma State tough, I don’t see the same happening here. Texas has a bad defense, but so does Kansas. The Longhorns will score lots of points and win easy.

TCU at Oklahoma State: This is one of the most intriguing games of the day. TCU has a much stronger defense. But Oklahoma State has a far superior offense. Which is more important? I think Oklahoma State will benefit from a home-field advantage and win. But it will be a close game.

Baylor at Iowa State: The Cyclones need a victory to increase their chances of reaching a bowl game. The Bears need a win, period. So both sides come into this game desperate. But I give Iowa State the edge, because it has a decent defense. Baylor hasn’t stopped anyone this season.

Notre Dame at Oklahoma: The Fighting Irish have been playing well all season, and if they win this game they will win over whatever doubters are still out there. Can they pull off the upset? I don’t see it happening. Oklahoma has been dominant the past few games. I expect the Sooners to win by 14.

Texas Tech at Kansas State: Expect Texas Tech to provide the test West Virginia was supposed to. The Red Raiders have a great quarterback, a strong offense and a quality defense. And this is the Red Raiders’ chance to get back in the Big 12 championship hunt. They will be motivated, and ready to play. K-State will need to play well to win, and I think it will. Behind Collin Klein, I see the Wildcats pulling away in the fourth quarter. My prediction: K-State 33, Texas 24.
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The Royal Sampler: Why no one should blame KSU for not playing Oregon and links

DAILY TAKE
One thing I’ve noticed a lot of national writers jump on lately is the fact that Kansas State and Oregon were originally scheduled to play the second game of a home-and-home series this year, but decided not to go ahead with the games.

With K-State ranked third in the BCS standings and Oregon ranked fourth, plenty of people now wish they would have played. A head-to-head game certainly would put to rest questions about which team is better.

Most have blamed K-State for cancelling the series, stating that Bill Snyder didn’t want to play the game. While it’s true Snyder griped about former football coach Ron Prince scheduling Virginia Tech and Oregon while he was retired, and he didn’t want to play Oregon and Miami in the same month, Snyder didn’t just snap his fingers and make those games disappear.

In the case of K-State/Oregon, the Ducks didn’t want to play the games as originally scheduled, either. They wanted to push it back and make room for a game against LSU in Arlington last year. According to ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel, Oregon asked K-State to reschedule the series. The Wildcats suggested not playing at all. Both teams agreed.

K-State athletic director John Currie also explained it was a mutual agreement to cancel the series on August 3, 2010 in a letter to fans.

“Since we will likely have a nine-game conference schedule in 2011, we have reached a mutual agreement with Oregon to cancel that series without any financial penalty to either school,” Currie wrote.
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The Royal Sampler: Analyzing the national title hunt and links

THE HUNT
A look at the top five teams in the BCS standings:

1. Alabama (7-0)
Up next: Mississippi State. This is a matchup of undefeated teams, but no one is expecting it to be a close game. The Crimson Tide is favored by 23 points.
Remaining schedule: at LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn.
Analysis: The next three weeks could be interesting. Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M are all quality teams. But are they good enough to challenge Alabama? If the Crimson Tide get by those three games, the last two are basically byes. Then comes the SEC championship game.

2. Florida (7-0)
Up next: Georgia. The Bulldogs are one of the SEC’s best teams, and are always ready to play their rivals on a neutral field. The Gators are favored by a touchdown.
Remaining schedule: Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State.
Analysis: Florida only has two remaining stumbling blocks before the SEC championship game, where odds favor a must-see matchup against Alabama. Georgia and Florida State have been impressive at times this season, and should challenge it. The Gators’ other three games will be easy wins.

3. Kansas State (7-0)
Up next: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders only loss came at home to Oklahoma. Seth Doege and crew have looked good in their six other victories.
Remaining schedule: Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor, Texas.
Analysis: The Wildcats can strengthen their lead over Oregon with a win over Texas Tech, but the rest of the schedule won’t impress voters. TCU, because of its defense, seems like the toughest game down the stretch.
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The Royal Sampler: Big 12 football predictions, gameday thoughts and links


FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS
Here’s hoping no one took my predictions to Vegas last week and dropped money on them. I only picked two of the Big 12′s games correctly. But, hey, my K-State pick of 28-23 was dead on. So maybe there’s hope for this week.

Texas Tech at TCU
This is suddenly a very intriguing game. Both teams looked like bottom-feeders two weeks ago, but turned it all around and played like world-beaters seven days ago. The Red Raiders demolished West Virginia and TCU pounded Baylor on the road. Both teams enter with lots of confidence, and strong defenses. But Texas Tech has the better offense, so I’m picking it to win by a narrow margin.

Kansas at Oklahoma
I know the Big 12 had some wild and crazy scores last weekend … but c’mon, we all know who is winning this game.

Iowa State at Oklahoma State
The Cyclones stunned the Cowboys in Ames last year, and will have a good shot at beating them on the road today. But Oklahoma State will be out to prove something after playing so poorly in a narrow win over Kansas last week. I like the Cowboys at home.

Baylor at Texas
The Bears haven’t looked the same since they lost a 70-63 shootout at West Virginia, and the Longhorns need a win in the worst way possible. After a home loss to West Virginia and a blowout loss to Oklahoma, people are questioning whether Mack Brown still has it. If he can’t rally the troops and beat Baylor at home, he might not. But I expect Texas to play well in this situation.

Kansas State at West Virginia
This is the game of the week in the Big 12 and maybe the game of the week, period. Two different teams with contrasting styles will play in a rowdy environment for conference supremacy. There has been a lot of trash talk leading up to this game, and West Virginia officials released a statement yesterday urging fans to behave at the game. That just adds to the intrigue. I think this game will come down to how well K-State’s defense plays. The Wildcats are going to score against the Mountaineers questionable defense. If they can hold West Virginia to around 30 points, I like K-State’s chances. My prediction: K-State 35, West Virginia 30.
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The Royal Sampler: Big 12 football predictions, videos and links

PREDICTIONS
All ten teams in the Big 12 are in action and playing each other this weekend. A big Saturday awaits. Here are my picks:

TCU at Baylor:The Horned Frogs looked downright bad on offense against Iowa State last week without their starting quarterback. He has since left the team, so don’t expect much of a points boost this weekend. Even though Baylor’s defense is suspect, its offense is legit. TCU doesn’t have the firepower to keep up.

Oklahoma State at Kansas: Charlie Weis tried to bully the student newspaper last week and the Jayhawks responded by losing badly at Kansas State. He is still trying to bully the student newspaper, and a pattern is beginning to form. The Jayhawks will lose badly again to Oklahoma State.

West Virginia at Texas Tech: I made the mistake of picking Texas Tech last week. The Red Raiders got drilled at home by Oklahoma. I don’t think they are normally as bad as they looked against the Sooners, but I no longer think they are good enough to pull a major upset. I see the Mountaineers winning by about 14.

Texas vs. Oklahoma: The Sooners made up for a home loss to K-State with a resounding victory at Texas Tech, but I’m still surprised Oklahoma is favored in this game. Texas fell a missed field goal short of taking West Virginia to overtime last week, and has looked great on offense all season. If Landry Jones plays his best game, the Sooners will win. But can you count on that? I like the Longhorns to win by a touchdown.

Kansas State at Iowa State: Bill Snyder and Paul Rhoads have turned Farmageddon into a highly entertaining series over the past three years. The Wildcats have won four straight in the series, but all four games were close. And now the game shifts back to Jack Trice Stadium for the first time since 2007. With thunder storms possibly on the way, it looks like this game will once again come down to the final moments. Both teams are well coached and have good defenses. But K-State’s running game, behind Collin Klein and John Hubert, gives the Wildcats an edge. My prediction: K-State 28, Iowa State 23.
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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.”
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