In central Kansas, we should know better than to expect better from the New York Times. However, the Times recently started a college football blog, The Quad, which is on a quest to rank all the FCS teams in a countdown to the 2008 season.
Checking in at No. 84, your Kansas State Wildcats.
I confess I haven't read every post by The Quad because I really don't consider it worthy of that much attention. However, a cursory glance indicates posts regarding other teams are not nearly as mean-spirited as the one discussing our beloved alma mater. Fear not, K-State fans, such nonsense is precisely why yours truly exists.
As I read through Paul Myerberg's dissection of our squad, I detect the following insults: last year's power towel video (because we know that no other BCS school has ever made a ridiculous video...at least we never used ours), bringing up 1998, creating an image of Ron Prince's "caustic" demeanor (he has clearly never watched a K-State press conference nor met Prince in person), somehow insinuating we're less classy than any other program for beating Texas (I personally was at DKR/Memorial Stadium that day, and did not once turn a Hook 'em Horns handsign upside down), claiming 2007's Nebraska squad was the worst in history (umm, 1918, anyone?), accuses us of being gutless for dropping freaking Fresno State from our schedule for next year (already addressed here, plus we all know what a benefit it is to play a difficult schedule in today's FCS), decries our schedule as "embarassing" (what was KU's or Ohio State's last year, Paul?) outright hopes for Montana State to defeat us (objective journalism is alive and well), and finally considers the KC Star one of the top sites where K-State fans congregate. I literally have nothing for that last one.
So what does it all mean? In the grand scheme, it means some schmuck from New York City made fun of us. You could knock me over with a feather. I guess at least we can thank Myerberg for staying in the Big Apple and out of the Little Apple, which is better without him. Apparently, someone from K-State threw Myerberg's wife's legs in the air at some point, which has prompted him to drag out every negative perception he can find (no matter how contrived) as an answer to all our success. Yes, how dare that small land-grant school from the Flint Hills become a national player in football. How dare we come up short in a Big 12 Championship game with a national title game appearance on the line. How dare we not care about the freakin' Alamo Bowl after a shot at the national title was within our grasp and a BCS appearance was well and truly deserved. How dare we drop a west-coast university that isn't worth the trouble from our schedule.
I will fully admit that I am not terribly optimistic about our prospects for this season. A 7-5 season and a bowl appearance would satisfy my expectations for this year. However, Myerberg has us rated behind such powerhouse programs as Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina, Memphis, Bowling Green, Mississippi, and San Jose State (we may or may not have blown that team out last year). The list will only grow.
And yet, I somehow think our alma mater will still field a football squad this fall, and our boys will go out each Saturday and give it their best, and we'll let the chips fall where they may. Maybe the JuCo recruits won't pan out and we'll prove Myerberg's prediction of No. 84 correct.
Or maybe Prince found some playmakers at key positions and things won't be so bad. Either way, Myerberg has a standing invitation to a "friendly" wager with me, and I'm sure a lot of you, as well.