It was inevitable that in the aftermath of last week's announcement that K-State and Oregon had mutually agreed to cancel their two-game series in 2011-12 that Bill Snyder's critics would crawl out from under their rocks about his scheduling practices. Never mind the fact that K-State paid nothing to get out of the games because the feeling was mutual between the two schools that cancellation was their preferred course of action, nor that very few -- if any -- BCS-AQ conference schools ever play two non-conference games against other BCS-AQ conference schools.
No, clearly this was just Snyder being Snyder. No way he wants to face top competition. We've heard it before from those outside the program. His three Big 12 North titles -- back when that was a serious accomplishment -- were somewhat of a chimera because of who he had played in the non-conference season. We were already hearing it this summer, when 12th Man's Beergut -- he of the famously wrong opinions regarding K-State coaches -- called Snyder a coward for his stance on keeping divisions in the new Big 12 and continuing the championship game. Now, a digression from the topic of this post: saying you have less respect for Bill Snyder as a man "because of his unwillingness to embrace challenges and competition" could be one of the most hilariously ridiculous statements I've ever read on SB Nation. The coach who took on the challenge of turning "the worst football program in America" into a consistent winner in the Big 8/Big 12 conference is unwilling to embrace challenges and competition. Riiiiiight.
Anyway, back to the post. Since Nebraska's and Colorado's defections, I've believed the Big 12's best new name should be the "Self-Interest Conference," rather than the Big 12-2 or the Texas 10 or whatever you want to call it. It's pretty clear that every team in the league is looking after itself and nobody else. So if that's the case, why wouldn't Snyder lobby for a system that he believes would benefit his program? If Texas A&M wants to be greedy in a way that makes Texas and Oklahoma step back and say "whoa, now that's pretty greedy," then Snyder is perfectly well entitled to look out for his own.
But either way, back to the non-conference scheduling issue. In 2011 and 2012, K-State had non-conference home-and-homes scheduled with Oregon and Miami. Given the new format of the Self Interest Conference, K-State will only have three non-conference games those years, and will play each team from the Big 12 South those years. Under that schedule, then, K-State would play 11 games against BCS-AQ competition. I defy you to show me another team that will face a similar gauntlet. It won't be KU or Nebraska, who have had the most vocal critics on this issue in our corner of the blogosphere.
One question that remains open is whether we will keep the series with Miami. There's no evidence right now that K-State is considering dropping that series, but anything is possible. If they have to pay money to buy it out, then they should just go ahead and play it. We're doing better, but we're still not exactly flush with cash, and I'd rather spend the money on something like facilities or salaries than buying out a non-conference game, even if it is one Ron Prince scheduled.
In the end, there's really nothing new under the sun here. Despite the fact that our non-conference schedule this year -- UCLA, Missouri State, Central Florida and North Texas -- is comparable to just about any among our peers in the country, Snyder will always be seen as the coach who ducks tough competition. This also despite the fact that he consistently scheduled one game per season against BCS-AQ competition in the early 2000s. But don't let the facts get in the way or anything. For those who are fans of other teams who say this is just vintage Snyder, I have one thing to say:
I sure hope so.