Gameday Preview: K-State at CU


The final Big 12 football game played between Kansas State and Colorado should be an interesting one.

The Wildcats (6-4 overall, 3-4 conference) are looking for a victory to enhance their bowl chances. The Buffaloes (4-6, 1-5) are still in the bowl hunt too, but seem to be more focused on simply closing the season out strong without Dan Hawkins in the picture.

It will be fun to watch experienced running backs Daniel Thomas and Rodney Stewart go against each other and see which team has the most motivation.

Kickoff is set for 1:10 p.m. The game will not be televised.
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Player to watch: Rodney Stewart


In the Big 12, few running backs are more dependable than Rodney Stewart. The Colorado junior rusher currently ranks third in the conference with 1,035 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns.

He is a consistent threat to move the ball on the Buffaloes’ offense, and is capable of handling a heavy workload. Last week against Iowa State, he ran for 123 yards on — get this — 36 carries.

Earlier this season, Daniel Thomas raised a few eye brows by stating that he would be happy to run the ball 30 times per game. Though I’ve never had the pleasure of interviewing Stewart face to face, I’m guessing he would have no problem issuing a similar statement today.

Stewart’s strong will and running ability will pose challenges to Kansas State’s rush defense, which allows an average of 220 yards per game and ranks 119th out of 120 Division I teams nationally.
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Looking ahead to Gameday: at Colorado

Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2010 schedule. Next up, at Missouri.

Two main story lines revolve around Colorado heading into the 2010 football season.

1. With the Buffaloes set to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-10, how will they be treated by opposing fans across the conference they have called home for so many years? My Magic 8 Ball says poorly.

Animosity is rarely directed at Colorado. How will they handle the extra boos? Colorado has lost 12 straight regular-season road games as it is. The Buffs could easily keep that streak going by losing all five of their road games (at California, at Missouri, at Oklahoma, at Kansas and at Nebraska) this year.

2. After being brought back despite a 16-33 record for being a nice guy, can Dan Hawkins save his job? At Big 12 media days, Hawkins said he had not been told by CU administrators how many wins he needed in order to continue coaching in 2011. Nor was he worried about that.

Here’s guessing a winning season and a trip to a mid-tier bowl are his requirements. Can it be done? Most experts say no.

The Kansas State Wildcats will catch Colorado late in the season, and by then the answer to the above two questions will likely have been answered. Odds are the game will mean more to the Wildcats.
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Now at the podium: Colorado

Few teams have been willing to openly speak their mind on Colorado and Nebraska leaving the Big 12 Conference this week.

But the Buffaloes at least were willing to say they will miss the Big 12 on Wednesday.

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins and his players all agreed they will sincerely miss the Buffs’ rivalry game with Nebraska. And offensive lineman Nate Solder said it will be hard for him to say goodbye to the Big 12 North.

“There is always so much to play for in those games,” Solder said.
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Frank Martin discusses new Big 12

As you might expect, Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin was happy to hear his team is staying in the Big 12 Conference.

What you might not expect is how excited he is to begin competing in a new 10-team format.

“The Big 12 is a great league that just got better,” Martin said. “… Having a lot of teams doesn’t necessarily make a power league, because you’ve got a huge discrepancy between the top-tier teams and the lower-tier teams. Our league right now is pretty evenly matched 1-10.”
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K-State says it still supports Big 12

Even in the face of wild speculation and conference doomsday scenarios, Kansas State believes in the Big 12.

That was the message president Kirk Schulz and athletic director John Currie sent Friday afternoon by putting out a news release filled with complimentary words directed at the conference it has belonged to since its creation.

“Kansas State University remains firmly committed to the Big 12 and continues to believe in the long-term viability of our league,” Schulz said in the release. “We are optimistic that this process will result in our existing membership affirming our cohesive long-term future together.”
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Predicting the Big 12 Tournament

Want to know how your favorite Big 12 team will perform at this week’s conference tournament in Kansas City?

Well, I guess you’ll have to watch the games. But if you are curious as to how your favorite team could perform at the Sprint Center, this may be helpful. Below is a look at how all 12 teams, in official seeding order, could do at the Sprint Center.

1. Kansas
Chances of winning it all: High.
Aside from a lone loss at Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks went undefeated in the Big 12 regular season. And after going out in the second round of this tournament a year ago, Sherron Collins and company will be motivated.

Chances of going out early: Remote.
Colorado has been playing well enough lately that it could challenge Kansas on Thursday, but if the Jayhawks meet Texas Tech in the second round they will sleep walk to victory.

2. Kansas State
Chances of winning it all: Fairly high.
Coming off back-to-back losses, the Wildcats are looking at the Big 12 Tournament as their chance to get back into the conversation for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That may be out of reach no matter what they do in Kansas City, but it’s clear they will be playing with something to prove. And that’s when K-State is at its best.
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Big 12 Power Rankings (Week 9)

With Oklahoma State’s big win over Kansas last weekend, there is no more bubble talk for the Big 12.

Seven teams are locked in to the NCAA Tournament. Five teams have no shot at an at-large bid. End of discussion.

According to Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology Oklahoma State is the Big 12′s last team in as a No. 8 seed. Pretty solid. And with wins over the league’s top-two teams, the Cowboys won’t be falling to the NIT anytime soon.

Eighth-place Colorado is way behind Oklahoma State in the standings, and unless a real underdog can win four games in four days at the Sprint Center for the league’s automatic-bid to the Big Dance, everyone else is dreaming of the NIT.
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Big 12 Power Rankings (Week 8)

The Big 12 season is winding down, and so is the race for Big 12 Player of the Year.

Who will win the award? With three games to go, it remains a debated topic.

Most in the media believe it is a three-man competition between Sherron Collins, James Anderson and Cole Aldrich. But coaches have gone out of their way to speak highly of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente in the past week. Damion James and Donald Sloan have also put together worthy campaigns.

Arguments can be made for each of them, and possibly a player or two more.
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Big 12 Power Rankings (Week 7)

At the rate Texas is losing games right now, the Longhorns are obviously the most disappointing team in the Big 12.

But had they not risen to the top spot in all of college basketball before falling down a flight of stairs, Oklahoma would likely own the unwanted label.

It’s hard to remember, but there was a time when the Sooners were ranked this season. When the first polls were released, they debuted at No. 17.

With Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin on their roster, hopes were understandably high. But injuries, illnesses and suspensions have made it hard for that talent to jell.
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