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K-State Sports Bracket Round 1- Football

On to everyone's favorite field, the Football region.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We're continuing our bracket series with the football region. I started with the Ring of Honor, and then filled in the holes in our 16 entrants with star players from my time as a Kansas State fan (This also seems to coincide with their success in football. I was born in 1991. The first winning season in decades was in 1991. Coincidence?) But I digress. Feast your eyes upon the wondrous (or not) matchups below.

(1) Bill Snyder I (1989-2005) vs. (16) Veryl Switzer

I honestly don't see how you could put anyone else at the one seed here. The decision was made to split Snyder into two parts (even half of Snyder could take the field, just saying). Before he took the helm at Kansas State, the program had an abysmal 299-510 (.370) record. He led our beloved Wildcats to a their first bowl victory ever, a 6-5 bowl record, the school's first #1 ranking, and a 136-68-1 (.666) record. Good luck Veryl.

Veryl Switzer is the highest draftee to come out of Kansas State, drafted at fourth overall by the Green Bay Packers. He played both ways for the K-State football team from 1951 to 1953. He was a two-time second team All-American and three time All Big-Seven performer, as well as the leading rusher in his junior and senior seasons and the leading receiver in his senior season. He was a dominant athlete, and I can't do him justice. Go read this and this, the two-part article by K-State Sports on his life.

(8) Gary Spani vs. (9) Mark Simoneau

And now for the linebacker matchup. Gary Spani led Kansas State in tackles from 1975-1977 and became the first consensus All-American selection in his senior year. He was drafted by and played 9 years for everyone's favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Mark Simoneau played at Kansas State from 1996 to 1999. He was a pillar on the 1998 football team and amassed 400 career tackles. In December 2012 he became the second Kansas State player ever to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He played in the NFL for 10 years with the Falcons, Eagles, Saints, and Chiefs before retiring in 2010.

(5) Tyler Lockett vs. (12) Jordy Nelson

Maybe this is just recency bias, but I seeded Tyler Lockett at #5. He now owns almost every receiving record in the book and garnered All-American honors in all four years, being a consensus All-American in both his freshman and senior seasons. On top of all this, he was and is the epitome of class, a true Kansas State Wildcat. You all know his stats.

For the sake of transparency, I must let you know Jordy Nelson is my favorite player to have seen and cheered for, and I believe it is a travesty that his career had to dip into the Dark Ages, but it is for this reason that I felt it necessary to rank him 12th. That being said, he was an All-American his senior year, catching 122 passes for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns. If only we could have had him and a Lockett at the same time. Dang.

(4) Terence Newman vs. (13) Jaime Mendez

And now for the what I consider to be the single most dominant athlete that K-State has ever had on campus. Terence Newman was on campus from 1998 to 2002, redshirting in 1998. He was a second-team all Big 12 selection as a junior, and truly blossomed as a senior.

Ok, here we go. He recorded 54 tackles, 5 interceptions, 14 pass deflections, and was awarded with the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous first-team All-American honor, the Jim Thorpe award, and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski trophy (the best defensive player). On top of all this, the was the Big 12 outdoor champion in the 100m Dash in both 2001 and 2002, as well as the indoor 60m dash in 2002.

Jaime Mendez was a ballhawking free safety at Kansas State from 1990 to 1993. In his time at Kansas State, he recorded 313 tackles and 15 interceptions as well as breaking the interception return yards record. He received All-American honors in 1993 with Honorable Mention honors coming as well in 1992. He was recognized as All-Big Eight in both years as well.

(3) Michael Bishop vs. (14) Steve Grogan

Michael Bishop came to Kansas State in 1997, starting all 11 games and completing 80 of 185 for 1557 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 556 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. He was voted second-team All Big 12. In 1998, he broke school records with 2,844 yards passing and 23 touchdowns against 4 interceptions, along with 14 rushing touchdowns and 748 yards. He placed second in the Heisman voting behind Ricky Williams as well as being voted a consensus All-American, All-Big 12 conference selection, and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. (Offensive Player of the Year and second in Heisman votes? hmmm...).

Also, interesting note, Jamie Foxx is Michael Bishop's first cousin. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

Steve Grogan started at quarterback for the Wildcats in 1973 and 1974. He threw for 2,214 yards on 166-of-371 with 12 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He also ran for 585 yards and six touchdowns. He was a jack-of-all-trades, adding punting and receiving to his passing and rushing skills, punting 7 times and even catching one touchdown pass of 22 yards. He went on to play for the New England Patriots from 1975-1990.

(6) Collin Klein vs. (11) Lynn Dickey

Collin Klein was an unheralded recruit out of Colorado who played for the Wildcats from 2009-2013. His first career start was against the Texas Longhorns in 2010 (raise your hand if you remember that ugly, beautiful game. **raises hand**). He holds many rushing touchdown records, tying the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season for the Big 12 and tying the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback. In his three-year career at Kansas State, Klein passed for 354-of-572 for 4,573 yards and 29 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. In his senior year he had a stellar 156.18 quarterback rating. He ran the ball 588 times for 2,455 yards (a 4.0 yds/rush average) with 55 touchdowns. All total, he compiled 7,083 yards of total offense.

He was named a 2nd team All-American in 2012 and an Honorable Mention All-American in 2011. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Kellen Moore Award, and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2012. Finally, he is an amazing person who I look up to as a upstanding member of society and a Kansas State great.

Lynn Dickey was the quarterback for the Wildcats from 1968 through 1970. During his career he beat every team in the Big Eight and at one point held career records for completions (501), yardage (6,208), and touchdowns (29). While these records no longer stand, he was still a definite great in Kansas State's past.

I don't remember Dickey, but if you need some stories of this talents I am sure Furnace could give you some.

(7) Darren Sproles vs. (10) David Allen

Darren Sproles played at Kansas State from 2001 to 2004. In his time with the Wildcats, he set 23 school records, finishing 11th on the all-time college rushing yards and 6th most all-purpose yards in NCAA history. In 2003 he finished the season with 1,986 yards, leading all FBS teams in rushing yards. He led Kansas State to a Big 12 Championship in 2003 (goodness that game was cold, still one of my favorite memories growing up) and finished fifth in Heisman voting (he got robbed). He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and has since become a journeyman all-purpose performer. He holds the record for most all-purpose yards in an NFL season at 2,696 yards in 2011.

David Allen played for Kansas State from 1996 to 1999. He was a pillar of the 1998 powerhouse team that rose to Kansas State's first #1 overall ranking. He was also recognized as a consensus All-American pick as an all-purpose athlete and kick returner. He returned seven punts for touchdowns in his career, tying the NCAA record at the time. The 1998 team also registered a 40-30 win over Nebraska that broke a decades old losing streak. He is the only player in NCAA history to return punts for touchdowns in three consecutive games.

(2) Bill Snyder II (2009-Present) vs. (15) Martin Gramatica

In Bill Synder's second tenure at Kansas State he has amassed a 51-26 record overall and a 1-4 record in bowl games. Six players have received All-American honors, totaling 8 overall selections. He has led the team to their second overall #1 rating and second Big 12 Championship.

Martin Gramatica played as a kicker for Kansas State from 1994 to 1998. He made 54 out of 70 field goals and 187 out of 192 point-after attempts, totaling a school record 349 points. He was a first-team All-America selection in both 1997 and 1998, winning the Lou Groza Award for the nation's best kicker in 1997. He kicked a 65-yard field goal in 1998 against Northern Illinois. This still stands as the longest field goal in NCAA history (longer than anything in NFL history too) without a tee.

Well, that is the bracket. I realize my description and seeding choices are mostly weighted for the recent, but make your choices based on your memories and your feeling about each player.

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