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Around the Big 12

There isn't any real K-State news right now, so I decided to check in with the other Big 12 schools to see what they are up to.  But first, a new segment here at BOTC...

BOTC's Enemy of the State

Please welcome, Mark Mangino!

Now of course, this isn't really breaking any new ground, because any coach of that school down the river is a de facto enemy of Wildcat Nation.  But besides actually winning a couple football games against K-State, Mangino is doing his best to solidify the enmity of every man, woman and child wearing purple from coast-to-coast.

It started after the Sunflower Showdown this year, when Mangino spouted off with the obviously rehearsed postgame comment: "It's better to stay at home and win than go on the road and lose."  Right, Mark, I'm absolutely certain that the reason we lost to your 'beaks was because we played at Auburn on September 1.

Just yesterday, Mangino continued to prove that logic is not his strong suit at his Orange Bowl press conference, although it was nice to see that, even on the eve of the biggest game of his life, he is still thinking about K-State.

Q.  "At what point in the season did you realize that you had something special?  Was there a certain game or certain point in the season?"

COACH MANGINO:  "You know, I felt like we went on the road to play Kansas State, we hadn't played on the road in any of our non‑conference games.  All four of them were at home.  As you heard earlier, we schedule well in non‑conference.  So it was a consensus that we wouldn't win on the road.  But we were playing in Kansas.

"We were just going down the road 90 minutes, and everything I read, we couldn't beat them.  Well, we beat them at home and had a chance to beat them by a bigger score.  But made some mistakes, but nonetheless, won."

(Emphasis added)

Mangino believes that, but for a few 'beaker mistakes, they would have beaten us by more.  I really can't stop laughing at that comment.  It's really funny that Mangino focuses only on his own team's mistakes, and just assumes that K-State played an absolutely perfect game.  You're absolutely right, Mangino.  K-State did not make any mistakes that could have made the game closer, and yet you didn't see our coach making those excuses.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who would get irritated when other golfers complained after rounds that they could have shot a better score if they would have made this putt or that putt, or if they wouldn't have gotten a bad bounce.  He always liked to point out the two 30+ foot putts they made, as well as the ball that was headed for the lake but bounced off the rocks.  Point is, your team will always make mistakes, but so will the other team.

Mangino obviously forgot about the interception thrown by Todd Reesing on the very first play, giving K-State possession in 'beaker territory.  If Alesana Alesana doesn't make the mistake of committing a personal foul on that drive, we may well have been in field goal range, especially with the strong wind at our backs.  Instead, we punted.  There's at least three points we could have had, and since we're playing fantasy-land here, why not a touchdown?.

He also apparently was thinking Arby's and missed the crappy punt that again gave K-State possession in enemy territory, not to mention the field goal that had plenty of distance but hit the left upright.  There's another three points we missed.

Anyway, I've made my point on that.  Two more quotes from the presser that I just couldn't let slip by:

"I've said this before and I'll say it again, nobody in December remembers who you played in September.  It's what your win‑loss record is."

Southeastern Louisiana, Florida International, Toledo, Central Michigan.

"That is the point I don't understand, what are you criticizing?  We should have opened up with Ohio State and USC and Penn State non‑conference, and then we'd be sitting home today.  It's working."

I'll skip the obvious exaggeration he makes about who they 'should' have played in non-con.  And I'll reserve judgment on the "It's working" comment until after the Orange Bowl tonight, but from what I saw on the field at Arrowhead Stadium on November 24th, it didn't look like it was working then.

Anyway, welcome to the BOTC Hall of Enemies.  Try to leave some room for others.  (Photo H/T to The Wizard of Odds)

Nice to the Oklahoma continuing it's proud tradition of forgetting to show up in bowl games last night with a 48-28 loss to West Virginia.  Well, not really nice, more like disappointing.  Of course, I'd love to have the problem of figuring out how to play well in BCS games.

And OU fans, calm down.  Noel Devine is kind of fast.

Props to Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Missouri for representing the Big 12 well and winning bowl games this offseason.  Jeers to Colorado and Texas A&M in equal proportions, both for losing to a subpar SEC team and letting a winnable game against Penn State slip away.  

Also, this is totally unsurprising, but hilarious nonetheless.  An Aggie Yell Leader continued A&M's proud tradition of acting like jackasses by yelling at a pep rally that Joe Paterno is on his deathbed and needs a casket.

Gig 'em!

An interesting debate came up on Kansas City's 810 Sports show "Between the Lines" yesterday.  A Mizzou fan called in and said he was cheering for 'beaker and the fat man today in the Orange Bowl because a win by the mythical birds would be "good for the conference."  Show host Kevin Keitzman commented that he agreed that Big 12 teams winning bowl games was good for the conference as a whole, but that a 'beak win against Virginia Tech does absolutely no good for teams like Mizzou, K-State, Nebraska, or anybody else in the conference, really.

I have to agree and admit that I really don't want the other Big 12 school in Kansas to win a BCS bowl.  A win against Va. Tech gives that team national recognition, it gives them credibility despite the lousy schedule they played, it gets them more money, and it gets them improved recruiting ability.  All of that is detrimental to K-State.

There are people who will answer that by saying that I'm not being a team player for the Big 12, something I've argued for in the past.  And while I do want the Big 12 to establish itself as the premier conference in the country, my desire for KU to lose its bowl game is not at odds with that desire.  First of all, while I want the Big 12 to be a power conference, it doesn't to K-State any good to have it be a power conference if the Wildcats are in the middle or bottom of the pack.  I want the Cats to be one of the teams carrying the conference's banner.  

Second, a 'beaker win tonight does nothing to establish the Big 12 as a power conference.  All it means is that the team from down the river beat an ACC team in the Orange Bowl.  Like it or not, that team is not an established, traditional Big 12 power.  At this point, it's a team that had a great year.  But you have to do a little more than have one great year to establish yourself as a force to be reckoned with, and the national perception of that team right now is that they beat up a bunch of patsies, missed the best teams in the Big 12, and backdoored their way into the Orange Bowl when Mizzou would have been a much more deserving team.  The pressure is on the 'beaks now, because Mizzou handed Arkansas its collective rear on NYD.

Of course, it doesn't matter who I cheer for.  The fact that I sit on my couch and yell at the TV for one team is not going to change how that team plays thousands of miles away.

So with all that said, it was sadly true in April, and it's true still: We are all Hokies today.

Go Cats!