Today we got this breaking headline from the KC Star sports page: "K-State trailing in KU's wake in major sports."
Really? I hadn't noticed. That Howard Richman, nice guy that he is, really has a grip on the incredibly obvious.
The article trots out all the stats that every sports-loving Kansan knows. The recent basketball history. The last few years in football. Trust me, traditional media, fans of both teams are well aware of who's been winning and who hasn't.
At least we still have volleyball.
This article really doesn't rile me like it apparently has a lot of K-State fans. It's an article in a newspaper that doesn't have much to report on today. None of the local teams played a game last night, except for women's basketball. Which, while I'm thinking about it, it's kind of funny that the Star is calling women's basketball in KU's favor considering it's the Cats who own a 10-1 advantage in games played the last 5 years.
Does it sting me to lose three of the last four games to KU in football? Damn right it does. I hate losing to that school. But I can't really get too worked up about the "big picture" considering it was only four years ago when Joe Posnanski wrote the following:
"You know the Kansas State football team has now beaten Kansas 11 consecutive years. The average score: 42-9. That's no rivalry. That's Little Bighorn."
I begrudgingly congratulate the 'beakers on their football success this year. I know how much fun it is to have your football team do well. I grew up in Nebraska and watched the Huskers win two national titles (well, 2.5 technically). I was in Kansas City on a chilly December night when Bill Snyder's club took "the greatest team ever" behind the woodshed. I've seen home blowouts of KU, Nebraska, Mizzou, Seneca Wallace, Colorado, Okie State, and a million others. I've seen a home win over USC the year Carson Palmer won the Heisman. I've watched road wins at Texas and Nebraska. We had the preeminent program in the Big 12 North back when that was something to be proud of.
So as far as football goes, I'm not too worked up over KU's success in football. Now if they beat us 11 straight games, go to a bunch of major bowls, move up to No. 1 in the nation, win a few Big 12 North titles and a Big 12 championship, then I'll really be down in the dumps. Until then, don't bother. These things turn around quickly. Just four short years ago, in the same Posnanski article mentioned above, a KU fan was asked what he wanted in the next Sunflower Showdown football game. His answer? "Survival."
As for basketball, anybody who knows me knows that the streak is the single thing about K-State sports that really stings me down deep. That hurts, and there's no way to spin it. But I think as K-Staters we put too much emphasis on it. Trust me, it will end someday. Maybe it won't be this year, but despite what the DeBeers people say, even diamonds aren't forever.
The best part of the article, for me, was athletic director Tim Weiser's comment near the end.
"I’ve never really measured our program against Kansas," Weiser said. "I measure our program as how it relates to the Big 12 Conference and winning championships. At the same time, I fully understand how our fans value the rivalry between KU and K-State."
Thank goodness. I would have loved to see K-State win the Orange Bowl this year, but we have to remember it was one year. In today's college sporting world, it's really all about getting the right coach. I hope Ron Prince is that guy, because I want K-State to return to its position of the late 1990s/early 2000s, and I want it to happen as soon as possible. I hope Frank Martin turns out to be a good coach, because I want to get back to the days when the conference title was settled in the Sunflower State.
Don't worry too much about this article or the state of the programs right now, Cat fans. We need to see improvement in the next year (for football) and in the next conference season (in basketball). But right now is a time for patience, no matter what the Star seems to think on a slow news day.