Football Friday: Kansas State has owned Texas, but is the streak really that weird?

It’s time for another Football Friday. This feels like the biggest one of the year.

Kansas State will take on Texas at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Austin. It will be an important game for both teams. It is the conference opener for both sides, the Longhorns are desperately trying to get back on track and the Wildcats are hoping they can continue owning the series.

That seems like more than enough buildup. Now on to your questions:

Here’s the way I look at the streak: Is it odd that Kansas State, a team from the old Big 12 North with a 50,000-seat stadium, is the only team in the conference with a winning overall record against Texas? Yes. Is it strange that Ron Prince, a coach with a losing record who went 2-8 against ranked opponents at K-State, was undefeated against the Longhorns and beat them when they were ranked No. 4 and No. 7? Hell yes. Is it bizarre that K-State has beaten Texas three straight times since Bill Snyder came out of retirement? No. The Wildcats have been the stronger team since 2010, going 30-12 while Texas has hovered above .500 at 23-18.

That much is evident by the way they have won their last two home games in the series, 39-14 in 2010 and 42-24 last year. Those “We own Texas” chants have been justified. The last three wins were no fluke. The first two victories (Colt McCoy got hurt in 2006 and K-State scored on an interception return, a kickoff return and a punt return in 2007) were. K-State has also benefited from avoiding Texas in 2008 and 2009, when the Longhorns were the far superior program. But that’s the way it worked out, and K-State hasn’t lost to Texas since 2003. Is there magic involved? Maybe a little at the beginning, but the last three wins were expected.
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The Week Ahead: K-State hopes for sixth straight win over struggling Texas

Kansas State and Texas are teams heading in opposite directions.

The Wildcats have bounced back well from an opening loss with back-to-back wins and seem to have their running game back on track just in time for the start of Big 12 play.

The Longhorns have lost back-to-back games in embarrassing fashion (they let BYU and Mississippi combine for more than 800 rushing yards) and it seems like everyone and their dog is calling for longtime coach Mack Brown to resign.

It would seem as though K-State is catching Texas at the right time. There is one amazing soap-opera going down in Austin right now. But maybe this is the week the Longhorns figure out how to defend the zone read. Las Vegas oddsmakers clearly think that much is possible, as they have made Texas a four-point favorite.

One thing is for sure: This is a very important game for both teams. The winner will start the Big 12 season with a victory and pick up valuable momentum heading into important stretches. The loser will need to climb out of a hole. K-State has shown progress in its past two games, but the Wildcats don’t have much room for error at 2-1 with a trip to Oklahoma State up next. Texas is already in a world of hurt at 1-2. You have to wonder if players would quit on Brown after another loss.

Here is a look at everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Gameday Preview: Texas at K-State

Coming into the season, this looked like a very compelling game.

After dropping its last two games to Kansas State, it seemed like Texas would have revenge on its mind today in Manhattan. And with a traditional Big 12 powerhouse coming to town, the Wildcats would have the chance to pick up a statement victory.

The game is still compelling enough to be televised nationally at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, but it isn’t the match up everyone expected. The Longhorns (4-4) are struggling like never before under coach Mack Brown. The Wildcats (5-3) have lost two in a row.

Still, bowl implications mean the game is still important for both sides.
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Scheduling strategies differ in new Big 12

Scheduling photo

At his annual preseason media day news conference last week, a reporter asked Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder why he canceled a future home-and-home series against Oregon.

His answer was robotic.

“My feelings about scheduling,” Snyder responded. “That hasn’t changed. I still feel the same way — right, wrong or indifferent — that I always have.”

Snyder’s feelings about scheduling (if you need a refresher) are to play as many nonconference games as possible at home against beatable opponents. Traveling to both UCLA and Louisiana-Lafayette last year was not at all his cup of tea.

With the help of athletic director John Currie, he has added future games against Texas-San Antonio and Central Florida. Expect more games of that caliber to show up on future Wildcats’ schedules. Not just because they please Snyder, but because Currie believes extra home games will be needed when the Big 12 becomes a 10-team conference and switches to a nine-game format.

Other coaches and athletic directors across the league are also talking schedules these days, but no two opinions are exactly the same. K-State and Kansas appear to be scheduling light, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is thinking about doing the same and Texas just added Notre Dame.
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Now at the podium: Texas

Texas football coach Mack Brown spent his time at the podium reflecting on conference realignment and cracking jokes.

He said he was thrilled to learn the Big 12 was going to survive, and that he will miss playing both Nebraska and Colorado on a regular basis. He will particularly miss the Cornhuskers and mentor Tom Osborne.

When asked about the big deal Nebraska fans were have been making about this year’s UT/NU clash, Brown said it was a compliment to the Longhorns that the Cornhuskers were talking about them in July.
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Snyder enters Coach of the Year race

He’s been a strong candidate for Big 12 Coach of the Year all season, but now that Bill Snyder has Kansas State one win away from bowl eligibility and possibly a North division title, he’s beginning to be mentioned in the national race as well.

In his first season back, at the age of 70, he has led a K-State squad comprised of 12 first-year starters to a 5-2 record in its last seven games and a 4-2 mark in conference play. Compared to the beginning of the season, when the Wildcats struggled to beat UMass and lost to Louisiana-Lafayette, it is a remarkable turnaround.

There are lots of other wonderful candidates out there (we’ll get to them in a second) and climbing to the No. 1 spot in the country will be difficult. But he is in the conversation, and that is impressive.
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