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The rise and fall of John Currie

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Plus, we preview the conference title games and playoff implications.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Tennessee
Tennessee and John Currie was something of an awkward marriage, so it’s probably best they parted ways.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, the Slate comes to you with a broken heart.

Yesterday, the Wildcat community lost one of its own. Kaiden Schroeder, 12, lost his battle with cancer. Kaiden was first diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2009, and then had a relapse in 2012. In January of 2013, Kaiden’s story made its way to Ryan Mueller. He visited Kaiden in the hospital, and this began a lasting friendship for Kaiden, not just with Mueller, but with the entire team.

Kaiden made his mark on Wildcat Nation when he scored a 30-yard touchdown in the spring game in 2014, and became everyone’s favorite Wildcat. “Kaiden’s Play” is still one of the greatest moments in Kansas State football, and with good reason:

Mueller, whose friendship with Kaiden is well documented, was devastated by the news.

Bring On the Cats joins Wildcat Nation in offering our condolences and thoughts to Kaiden’s family and friends, and everyone whose life Kaiden touched.

Requiescat in pace, Kaiden.

Football

Kansas State’s regular season is over, and our bowl destination is still unclear. But that doesn’t mean Kansas State hasn’t been in the news.

Thanks to our former athletic director John Currie and the debacle in Tennessee, we’ve been served an entire smorgasbord of schadenfreude. But as Ned Seaton notes in the Manhattan Mercury, Currie’s successes—and there were many in Manhattan—outweighed his failures. His problem has always been “dealing with rock stars” and Currie’s own tone-deafness didn’t help matters.

That is, of course, not the only thing happening in football these days. Yesterday, in a game with no playoff implications whatsoever, USC beat Stanford 31-28 to win its first conference title since 2008.

In a scenario where another conference champion with two losses could still make the College Football Playoff, Trojans’ coach Clay Helton tried to make a case for USC to be included in the final four, but that will probably fall on deaf ears. Consider also that USC played 12 straight weeks without a bye in a tough league with a nine-game rotation. Sometimes even the bluebloods can’t win for trying.

In a game with actual playoff berths on the line, Oklahoma will take on TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game at 11:30 AM. That game will be broadcast on FOX. Today, we are all Horned Frogs.

At 3:00 PM, Auburn and Georgia will square off for a second time this season, and Gus Malzahn tries to keep his team motivated with visions of playoff glory dancing in their heads. You can watch live on CBS, or you can just skip it, because War Meh Eagle.

There’s a simultaneous double-bill at 7PM, with the B1G title game, where Ohio State will try to make a playoff-worthy run against undefeated Wisconsin. Having the Badgers in the College Football Playoff is literally the worst thing ever, so even if you hate the Buckeyes, you know what to do. (Or you know, pray for a meteor to end the game altogether).

The other night game is the ACC Championship Game, featuring one-loss Clemson against one-loss Miami in what could be the day’s most intriguing matchups. In the interest of nothing more than chaos, I’d rather Miami wins than Clemson.