Sat, Jan 2, 2016
Liberty Bowl (61,008)
|2:20 PM CT
6-6, 3-6 B12
7-5, 5-3 SEC
Not headed to Memphis? Well, we've got the scoop for you on how to enjoy the finale of K-State's disappointing and painful season. Next year looks much brighter; can the Wildcats get 2016 off to a surprising and positive start? We'll see.
The game: Kansas State clashes with the Arkansas Razorbacks in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. K-State leads Arkansas 3-2 in the all-time series, with the Razorbacks of course winning the last meeting 29-16 in 2012 at the Cotton Bowl. Interestingly, K-State is 3-0 in games played on either school's campus, and 0-2 in games played elsewhere.
It's K-State's first visit to the Liberty Bowl, although they have played at the Liberty Bowl one time previously (a 28-21 win over then-Memphis State in 1971). Arkansas has played in the Liberty Bowl four times previously; they lost to Tennessee in 1971, Auburn in 1984, and Georgia in 1987 before finally getting to play a non-SEC team in 2010, when they beat East Carolina. Their luck playing in Memphis against Memphis hasn't been much better; the Hogs lost to the Tigers there in 1992 and 1994 before winning in 1998. (Odd note: strangely for a program of Arkansas' stature, they have never played Memphis in Fayetteville.)
Arkansas has appeared in 40 bowl games previously. They are 14-23-3 in those contests, although one of those losses was to cheatin' Ohio State, who had to vacate their win in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 2010 season. This is the 19th post-season journey for the Wildcats, who are 7-11. Yes, K-State has a better bowl record than the Razorbacks, although a loss would alter that.
Also notable, and beaten into the ground at this point, are the connections between the current coaching staffs. Bret Bielema played at Iowa, then eventually joined Bill Snyder in Manhattan for two years. Michael Smith is also the Razorbacks' wide receivers coach after many years in the same position at K-State. What you probably didn't know: Bielema's associate head coach and offensive line coach is former Pittsburg State Gorilla Sam Pittman.
Odds: The line opened with Arkansas as 13-point favorites, but there's good news: it's now only 12.5! The over-under is 56, down from a 62.5 open, which is a notable shift. All told, that means Vegas is expecting a 40-28 Hog victory.
Television: ESPN at 2:20 pm CT with Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, and Dawn Davenport.
Radio: K-State Sports Network, with Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, and Matt Walters; also on ESPN Radio Affiliates with Mark Neely, Jay Walker, and Kevin Weidel. The ESPN feed is also available on Sirius 80/XM 80. If you happen to be in Arkansas, you can catch the game on the IMG Razorback Sports Network with Chuck Barrett, Keith Jackson, and Quinn Grovey.
Special note: due to the timing of events, most K-State Sports Network affiliates will be carrying the basketball game against West Virginia until 12:30 CT, then switch over to the football pre-game show. However, six stations will remain with the basketball game until its conclusion: 1510 AM and 99.3 FM in Kansas City, KMAN 1350 in Manhattan, 1490 AM in Topeka, 1150 AM in Salina, and 1480 AM in Wichita. For listeners of those stations who want to catch the football pre-game, it will be available at KStateHD.tv; for listeners of all other affiliates, the remainder of the basketball game can be heard there or on Sirius 145/XM 199.