Kansas State football will benefit from a home-heavy, travel-friendly schedule

If you have access to a car, you can easily attend all 12 of Kansas State’s football games this season.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe just how travel-friendly the Wildcats’ schedule will be this year.

It features eight home games and only three trips across state lines. And it is one of the main reasons many believe K-State will exceed preseason expectations, which have the Wildcats qualifying for a middle-tier bowl and finishing sixth in the Big 12 standings.

Let’s take a closer look at the schedule perks: K-State will benefit from five conference home games, as opposed to four last year, and play all three of its nonconference games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

K-State hasn’t played eight home games since 2006, when Ron Prince had his lone winning season and the Wildcats reached the Texas Bowl. The last time it happened during the Snyder era was 2002, when the Wildcats won 11 games and beat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

This is the type of schedule Snyder prefers. He has been building toward it since he returned to the sidelines in 2009 and only played six home games in his first two seasons back.
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A few minutes with … Andy Assaley

A week ago, the Kansas State basketball team released its nonconference schedule for the 2011-12 season. Several coaches and administrators worked together to make the games fit, but no one contributed more time to the process than Andy Assaley.

As the Wildcats’ director of basketball operations, one of his main priorities is to head up scheduling. Every year, he makes countless phone calls to Division I coaches and sends out more than a thousand (seriously) e-mails to prospective opponents.

In the end, all that work is rewarded with a finalized schedule of a dozen or so games before Big 12 play begins.

“It’s a difficult job,” Assaley said, “but it’s a fun job.”

Earlier this week, Assaley went into great detail about K-State’s upcoming schedule and exactly what it took to put together. Turns out strategy, connections and patience — lots and lots of patience – were the main requirements.

“You have to be willing to haggle, you have to enjoy that,” Assaley said. “You have to be able to make cold calls and you have to know people … And you have to be able to handle rejection well. You can’t take it personally when you don’t get a call back, because that’s going to happen more than you can possibly imagine.

“Every time I go to a Catbacker event I hear from fans asking how come we’re not playing this school, how come we’re not playing that school. I just laugh and try to tell them it’s not that easy. They have to want to play us too.”
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K-State football to play at KU again in 2011

In order to convert an eight-game conference schedule that spanned two divisions into a nine-game, round-robin format that includes all 10 remaining Big 12 teams, the conference had to get creative.

So in 2011, several league teams will make repeat trips to stadiums they visit this season.

For Kansas State, that means the Sunflower Showdown against rival Kansas will be played in Lawrence for two straight years. K-State travels to Kansas for a Thursday night game on Oct. 14, and will return on Oct. 22, 2011 to face the Jayhawks again next season.

The arrangement will no doubt irritate some K-State fans, but Wildcats athletic director John Currie said repeat trips were inevitable under the new scheduling arrangement.

“The conference office did a good job of limiting those instances, but overall we were more concerned about getting the proper balance right since we anticipate that this schedule pattern will be in place for many, many years,” Currie said. Read More »

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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Snyder, Kendall talk 2010 schedule

Kansas State’s 2010 football schedule is loaded with games that don’t land in Bill Snyder’s typical comfort zone.

The final game of the season is being played at North Texas after Thanksgiving, the final three games of the season are on the road and two contests are Thursday night kickoffs.

Weird, right?

Snyder voiced no major complaints about the lineup Tuesday, but said he and athletic director John Currie are working toward more traditional schedules in the future.
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