There is no way around it. No more hiding in a sleepy poppy field of non-conference don't matters like Massachusetts. Big 12 Conference play starts for Kansas St. this weekend against the Texas Longhorns in Austin. We discuss whether this is a good thing, if KSU has already maxed out defensive accolades for the season and Mack Brown, whose office might soon be listed under Craigslist rent space.
From the time the Dead Sea first got sick, the strategy preferred by Bill Snyder has been to have three cake non-conference games all scheduled in the name of roster preparation and evaluation before conference play began. After the cake-iest of contests against UMass, do you think the strategy worked in 2013?
Jon: Not even remotely. First, we lost a game. That in and of itself is a problem when you schedule like this. Second, I don't think the staff used the time properly, unless Snyder's just playing a head game with Mack Brown. Third, we pretty much failed to learn anything in the last two games.
Derek: I, for one, miss the huge blowouts of the late nineties and early aughts. I know the team this year is far from some of those dominant squads, but would just one 70-point shellacking be too much to ask? The last few years have been bad, but this year was terrible.
Anon: We all know the six plays that are going to be run, and that nothing is really accomplished. So, in that regard, it has been successful. My perception is that Coach Snyder is using these games as a scrimmage to prepare for conference games.
TB: Not only didn't it work, it was mostly a disaster. Yes, NDSU is really good, and yes, if we had opened things up and let the team play, we would've won that game. But, we didn't. And if the plan was to learn more about how Daniel Sams handles live fire, then we again failed miserably. At this point, we've either been intentionally hiding his true ability, or he's an unmitigated disaster with the full playbook.
Kitchen: Offseason workouts, spring practice, spring game, summer camp and three non-conference games. Guys, we're being unfair. That's only seven or eight months, conservatively, that the staff had to form a plan for this season. They need more time. Awwwww...... okaaay. I'm just foolin' ya. All I know is some drunk Twerking freshman dude from Larned is laughing at the lack of rhythm on offense. And, I've seen enough from the secondary, I think, to shudder... just like that same drunk freshman the morning after.
Kip Daily was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Yes or no: He will be the last K-State defensive player to win the honor this season.
Jon: BWAH-HAH-HAH. Yes.
Derek: I was surprised when I heard Kip got this one. Maybe the Big 12 knows K-State won't get another shot.
Anon: Other teams could do worse than us all season.
TB: Ty Zimmerman has enough name recognition that if he has a good game at some point, he could get receive the award. But this is it, more than likely.
Kitchen: TB has this one nailed, unless Ryan Mueller has a monster total tackles game in a big win or something.
Have we seen what this year's offense has to offer, or do we see some sort of super-secret, unstoppable design that was kept under wraps for the past three weeks?
Jon: I'm inclined to the former. If it's the latter, though, we need to ask ourselves how beneficial it is to have a coach who's apparently more interested in behaving like a James Bond villain than winning football games... because if that's what Snyder's been doing the last three games, it's the most convoluted Rube Goldberg-esque scheme he's ever devised.
Derek: Call me crazy, but I think there's more to come. It's not something I'm happy about, but the offensive play-calling the past few years has improved in conference play. I've said all along that there's a plan beyond what we've seen for Sams and Waters, and I still believe it.
Anon: As always, the plays will get more complex as the season progresses until we have a play such as the infamous behind-the-back pass that fails, at which point the plays will stop growing in complexity.
TB: There's more, but in an incremental-additions sense, not in a revolutionary sense. Occam's razor applies here.
Kitchen: I'm just hoping it was discovered that some pages in the playbook were stuck together with old gum. And, if I'm going to dream big, the tab on that section is labeled "Bishop/Roberson/Sams."
As for this week, K-State gets its chance to knock off Texas (again), which would give the Longhorns three-straight losses and a 1-3 mark overall. When Mack Brown's tenure finally ends, will it rank in the top five saddest days in Kansas State football history?
Jon: Some of us remember when every day was a sad day, so no. Look, the Mack Brown thing is fun, but let's be honest with ourselves: at least Mack Brown's winning percentage against K-State isn't .000, which is something that can't be said for his predecessor.
Derek: Unlike Morse, I wasn't around for the dark ages of Wildcats football, but many in my family were. I'm well aware of how far the program has come. As fun as it is to joke about owning Texas, I don't think it's just a coaching issue. If Mack goes, there's no guarantee that the next guy will do any better. The whole program is a mess.
Anon: It doesn't even rank in the top five days of K-State football when I've been in attendance. The tie with KU and the Willie Nelson concert game are two of the more memorable 'good thing I'm attending a basketball school' moments.
TB: No, but it will be close to one of the five saddest days in the CTR. There's no guarantee that the next guy at Texas turns it around, but the odds favor it.
Kitchen: I'll just say "See Oklahoma," and walk away.
Based on what you've seen from Texas, if K-State does ______, the Wildcats will have a new Longhorn hide in their trophy case.
Jon: Anything even remotely resembling playing defense. That simple. The Cats are going to score on them. They just have to stop Texas from doing it to them.
Derek: Morse said it. Defense. That's how the Cats have done it every year, especially in 2011. If they can't play defense, they're done. K-State won't win a shootout in Austin.
Anon: Need to score by running. Two years ago, we beat UT with 121 total yards. That won't beat Texas this year. And Texas is going to be motivated for this game, or Mack Brown might as well use the time to plan his next career.
TB: Agreed that defense is most important, but if Case McCoy plays at quarterback, Texas may mostly defend itself. If we can't make some big plays in the running game, it's time for full-blown panic about the offensive line.
Kitchen: KISS IT, K-STATE! Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. Run the ball with that Sams kid. The Longhorns are 121st in the nation against the run, giving up 308.7 rushing yards per game. (The two behind them? UMass and New Mexico St.) Piddle around with the running backs and a passing game if you want, but do so at the expense of letting Sams go nuts. This game favors him over Waters. Don't bog down in equal snaps and perfect plays and all that.