The last time the Kansas State Wildcats and the Baylor Bears met on the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Art Briles was still the coach in Waco and K-State was mired in the middle its worst season since 2009.
Oh, how times have changed.
Fast forward two years, Baylor enters today’s game with its second coach in two seasons and mired in its worst start to a season since 1999 (queue Prince song), while K-State is looking hard at a season very similar to 1999 where the Cats tied Nebraska (back when Nebraska was actually still good at football) for the Big 12 North title. Baylor visited Manhattan in that ‘99 season, and left Manhattan after getting thrashed to the tune of 48-7 (which wasn’t even the Cat’s most lop-sided conference victory that season... (right, Tigers?)).
Back to the future, K-State is coming off an embarrassing loss to Vandy. Not because the Commodores didn’t play well that night - their defense was certainly on point - but because the Cats dropped opportunities to take the game in hand and found themselves out-executed much of the night. That game looked like the 2015 Cats. But Coach Snyder was pleased with how the guys responded during the bye week practices (and I’m sure their spirits were buoyed after a hard-fought victory over Minnesota*), that can only mean these Cats are ready to get a bit wild again (in a good way), and treat the Bears like it’s 1999.
To watch for today:
- There’s still a lot of the talent that Briles recruited on this roster, including a stable of fast, athletic receivers. D.J. Reed, Duke Shelley, and their pals will have their work cut out for them.
- Can the Cats running game get back to end-of-2016 levels? Alex Barnes needs another showing like last season in Waco, when he rumbled for 129 yards and 4 touchdowns.
- Jesse Ertz and his receivers need to get back on the same page of the playbook. Oh, and burn those gloves used in Nashville.
Baylor also looked good against the Oklahoma Sooners, and it’s entirely likely there will be some hangover-effect for the Bears after that game.
But for now, be sure and check out our pregame content, starting with TB’s Kicking the Tires preview of the Bears, all-important How to Watch information from Jon, as well as a little fun trash-talk from our very own AMS.
Beat the Bears!