Saturday, K-State plays the most important football game it's played since... well, since the last time they visited Waco. And wouldn't you know it, there's theoretically an even more important contest that might be going on at the same time.
But we've also got serious matters to discuss, because we've lost another concussed player to suicide.
K-State moved up to #9 in both irrelevant polls, fell four spots to #25 in Jeff's scientifically entertaining Transitivity Rankings, but will forever be #1 in the hearts of Kaiden Schroeder and his family, who will now be going to whatever bowl game the Wildcats travel to thanks to the kindness of strangers. Finally, but by no means least important, Double-Ought drops another chapter of Sunflower Showdown, this time looking back at Vince Gibson's 1969 team.
On a day when the other four Power Five conferences will be staging lavish conference championship games, ESPN's College Gameday will be... in Waco, Texas. Of course, the fact that Disney only holds the rights to one of those games probably didn't hurt when decision time came, but for those who feed on DISRESPECT, note that they chose Baylor-Kansas State over Florida State-Georgia Tech.
Kelly McHugh reports on Senior Day for Sports Extra.
Sean Keeler of FOX Midwest thinks the first step in rebuilding KU's football program is for Bill Snyder to retire.
The Collegian's Emilio Rivera grades out K-State's performance Saturday. Spoiler: although unused in the article, the words summa cum laude apply.
K-State landed a commitment for the 2016 class over the weekend. 6'5" junior tight end/defensive lineman Xavier Kelly of Wichita East was on an unofficial visit Saturday, and responded to K-State's blowout win by telling Blake Seiler he's going to be a Wildcat. Kelly, a three-star recruit, also had an offer from Nebraska; he didn't even wait for Bo Pelini to get fired before deciding.
Dennis Dodd's power poll. Man, I just don't know.
Funniest thing from Saturday, hands down:
John Werner of the Waco Tribune notes that Bryce Petty swears he's going to play Saturday, but Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News says that Baylor's not sure yet. I don't want to sound too self-serving here, because obviously it's good for K-State if Petty's on the bench, but he needs to not play unless he's 100% cleared.
Carlton also weighs in on the TCU/Baylor debate, and notes it could all be academic if Ohio State dominates Saturday.
Around the nation
Bo Pelini: fired.
Auburn DC Ellis Jonson: fired.
Clemson OC Chad Morris: headed to Dallas to take over at SMU.
Clemson DC Brent Venables: not headed anywhere yet.
Alabama-Birmingham football: sentenced to death.
And we'll go around the horn with the usual weekly national columns, all of which are focused on the playoff picture for the most part:
SI's Zak Ellis with three things we learned last week.
CBS's Jerry Palm is probably wrong about something. Unfortunately, that something is probably his idea that two Big 12 teams will make the playoff.
Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press imagines a nightmare scenario where the playoff field ends up being Missouri, Arizona, Georgia Tech, and one-loss Florida State.
SI's Andy Staples checks in with his weekly column, which has a lot of playoff talk, no foot talk (!), and a list of the seven best bands named after places, which results in "Kansas" being mentioned in three different contexts in one column.
Just to be nasty, I'll drop this note: Michael Orris scored a career-high 18 points as Northern Illinois went on a 28-2 run to end the game, knocking off Maine 61-56. Orris had nine of the 28 points during the comeback.
The Wildcats are NCAA-bound, facing Utah in Lincoln on Thursday. The official announcement from K-State, the Collegian previews the matchup, and the Salt Lake Tribune announces from the Utah perspective.
Finally, our thoughts go out to not only the family and teammates of Ohio State linebacker Kosta Karageorge, but also to our friends over at Land-Grant Holy Land (who have the unfortunate duty of having to cover this story).
While we can't go so far as to say it's common, these sorts of incidents keep piling up. Mike Webster. Junior Seau. Dave Duerson. Those are just some the guys we know took their own lives as a probable result of football-related brain injury, and there are certainly a lot more. It's really hard to love a game that has this effect on people. In some ways, it makes one question one's devotion to the sport. Are we horrible people for contributing to young men going out and suffering this sort of damage?
It's almost impossible to envision a way to make it safe enough that we never see this sort of thing again. But we have to try. And this loops right back to Bryce Petty. Over here, we've got a possibly-concussed player who just doesn't care and desperately wants to play... because life is short and this opportunity is gone after Saturday. On the other, we have a dead man.
And that's a chilling juxtaposition.