Yesterday, I felt a new experience at a K-State football game. Well, I had a lot of new experiences, but this one really stuck out.
It started off like most other games. We tailgated outside. The band played. It was Harley Day, so Willie led a phalanx of Harley's around the stadium. Despite the fact that I believed Texas Tech would more than likely defeat K-State, I felt for a while that we might make it interesting. Probably the result of a short memory after last week's debacle against Louisiana-Lafayette.
But for a while, it looked like my belief was justified. Despite Tech's opening drive, in which the Red Raiders scored on six plays and in less than two minutes, I saw our offense come back out and answer. For a moment, I felt a ray of hope. Our team wasn't going to lay down, and our offense had just given our defense a spark by answering Tech's opening score.
Of course, we gave up another touchdown on a sustained drive, and most of the hope was gone. But all of a sudden, a fourth-down stop in our own territory -- an absolutely idiotic decision by Mike Leach, by the way -- made me wonder if our defense had found something.
About 30 minutes and 24 Tech points later, there was no doubt. Same old, same old.
What I saw the rest of the day showed me that George Bush, speaking about the economy earlier this week, may have summed up perfectly the situation K-State's football program faces: "If we don't do something, this sucker could go down."
Of course, in our situation, this sucker is already on its way down. K-State is 3-6 in its last nine games, and has now yielded more than 500 yards in three straight games. We are 3-2 and, if we can't beat the Texas A&M Aggies next week in College Station, are very likely to finish the season without a conference victory. Of course, even if we do beat A&M, it probably will only mean that we're on our way to 4-8 instead of 3-9. I see no reason to celebrate that difference.
But back to what I saw at the stadium. I was one of the few K-State fans who stayed all the way until 0:00. That doesn't make me a better fan than anyone else. I'm not blaming anyone for walking out. I stayed mostly because I live in Housotn and only get to one K-State home game per year. The booing by the fans did frustrate me, however. Most of it was probably aimed at Ron Prince and the coaching staff, but the players can't help but hear it and feel like it's directed at them. These guys are giving it their best, and as student-athletes they're putting in a lot of hard work to represent the University for which us fans cheer.
At this point, I hope the fans' walkout and the boos show the K-State administration -- both athletic director Bob Krause and University President Jon Wefald -- the critical mass that we have reached. This isn't a bump in the road. It's not a minor situation that can be quickly addressed. This situation is going to require a lot of thought.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure our administration is seeing what's going on. Numerous newspaper articles today mentioned that Krause claimed not to notice the fan walkout.
This level of dishonesty could only be worthy of a politician. I understand that Krause is trying to convey that this athletic department stands behind Ron Prince. He proved that when he gave Prince a contract extension after two years of mediocre football. But we don't need unqualified support right now. We need honest assessments of the serious problems going on right now. We have a defense that can't stop anyone. We have an offense that can't run the football, and yesterday couldn't catch passes. K-State fans aren't stupid, and Krause needs to stop pissing on our legs and telling us it's raining.
Not every K-State fan remembers 1987 and 1988. If you need a reminder, check out this link. We're not there yet, but we're a lot closer than we have been since about 1990. Krause and Wefald need to show us they understand what is going on, and are going to do something about it. This sucker is going down, and the crash is going to be ugly.