The time has come. It’s time for FARMAGEDDON.
The Kansas State Wildcats and the Iowa State Cyclones square off today from Bill Snyder Family Stadium for all the farming bragging rights.
Really, it’s about both teams having the potential to finish their regular season’s on a high note before heading off to bowl games. Which is strange enough, as the last time both teams were bowl eligible was 2012. Just shows the amazing job Matt Campbell has done in his second season in Ames.
Speaking of Campbell’s prowess this season, the Cyclones are sitting at 7-4 with big upset victories over then-No. 3 Oklahoma (in Norman) and over then-No. 4 TCU in Ames, games that book-ended a perfect October for the Spinning Red Birds. Campbell even led his team as high as No. 14 in the polls (after that win over TCU) before suffering two straight losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma State to fall back out of the polls. And the Cyclones accomplished that after going through about a thousand different QB’s, including playing a LB at QB (okay, that LB was Joel Lanning, who was the starting QB in Ames under Campbell’s predecessor).
Campbell has the opportunity for a Bill Snyder-like run in Ames (or at least a Dan McCarney-like run) if he decides not to chase the money train that’s sure to come calling at the end of the season, especially now that so many big programs are looking for head coaches.
An 8-plus-win second season would be pretty stellar for the Cyclones, but the Wildcats are looking to make that just an 8-win season (we want those
stupid Cyclones to win their bowl game, okay?) with a win at home today.
The Cats started the 2017 season full of expectations for a great year - with so many starters and upperclassmen returning, grand visions swam through the minds of Wildcat fans and players alike. But then the Vanderbilt game happened, and the whole season went off the rails in a huge hurry. There were times this season when it looked like the Cats wouldn’t even make a bowl game, let alone have a chance for a winning season. QB’s went down (again...seriously, what’s the deal with that?), schemes needed to be adjusted, and now the Cats are sitting one game over .500 after a huge upset win in Stillwater; a place the Cats haven’t won in since 1999. And K-State has had some GOOD teams between then and now.
The Cats are fighting for bowl position today, and a chance to make sure they end the season above .500 for the second consecutive season and the seventh time in the last eight seasons. And they’ll be playing for a host of seniors who will be playing their final game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium; and one very important guy who won’t.
While it may be Senior Day in Manhattan, the game will hinge on some young guys. Skylar Thompson will be making just his third full start under center. He’s gone 1-1 as a starter, but has that win over the Pokes under his belt. He at least has a veteran support cast, including a stable of running backs in Alex Barnes, Justin Silmon, and Dalvin Warmack who are all capable starters; as well as a re-emerged Byron Pringle out at wide receiver, who caught three touchdown passes from Thompson in Stillwater.
Over on defense, AJ Parker could get his third start of the season if D.J. Reed is still unable to go. Parker played well against the Cowboys last week, but it would still be great to have one of the best corners in the country back on the field for the Wildcats.
Regardless of the outcome, at least we’ll get good weather for this one (high of 61 and sunny..in NOVEMBER????). The last three games in Manhattan have been cold and rainy, with two games being delayed by lightning. Those three games have all resulted in losses, which is never good. But Bill Snyder has never lost four-in-a-row at home, and the septuagenarian is not about to start that streak now.
Also, with a win today the Cats would finish in a four-way-tie for fourth in the conference; with tie-breakers applied they would be 6th ahead of 7th-place Iowa State and behind 5th-place West Virginia (who beat the Cats and the Clones) and 4th-place Texas (who, while only 6-6 overall, somehow beat all three). If the Cowboys somehow lose to KU on their own Senior Day, K-State could end up in a tie for 3rd (though all the tiebreakers are the same, and OSU would still, at least nominally, finish 3rd).
We have all the pregame content you need for the Wildcats final regular season game of the year. TB’s got his Kicking the Tires preview of the Cyclones, we have a Q&A with WRNL, our final Trash Talk of the regular season from AMS, and we’ve got your all-important How to Watch information from Jon.
Thank you Seniors!
Beat the Cyclones!