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The Oklahoma State loss gives food for thought

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We've been talking about things that happened in the game, but not the consequences of the road loss. Time to face the music.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

So we lost. If you've been a Kansas State fan for longer than five seconds, you've been here before. There wasn't much on the line, really. We weren't on the cusp of a national championship or anything. Oklahoma State was ranked, but this wasn't going to be a huge upset on a national scale. Indeed, most of us already had this penciled in as a loss.

So why does it hurt so much? One word: possibility.

When Joe Hubener went down early in the game, it was clear this game was going to be an uphill struggle. But then Kody Cook turned expectation on its head, and suddenly, a win in Stillwater--with a fifth string quarterback no less--seemed not only possible but highly probable. It hurts because Kansas State couldn't sustain the magic for four quarters. It hurts because the coaches called the second-half game like they were scared to lose instead of calling it like they wanted to win. It hurts because the Wildcats lost a game after leading for nearly all of it. But mostly it hurts because for an entire half, the team showed such incredible heart. Kody Cook played like he was just a kid having fun, and the rest of the offense played like they would take a bullet for him. I haven't seen that level of determination or heart from Kansas State since some guy named Collin Klein led to his team of walk-ons and second-chance stars to an improbable 10-win season in 2011.

We're not going to win 10 games in 2015. In fact, we might not even make it to seven wins. The road ahead is bumpy, but for every pothole, there is also promise.

Oklahoma State needed a late field goal to beat Kansas State in Stillwater. Here's Jon Morse with the rapid reaction after the game--Oklahoma State 36, Kansas State 34: Sorry, Kody Cook.

The elephant in the room is also the one everyone is talking about. TB was the first to write about the outrageous officiating blunder that cost Kansas State an important stop and may have changed the tenor of the game. That narrative has since been picked up by other outlets (Jake Trotter, ESPN).

Predictably, some have suggested that all this is much ado about nothing, and bad calls go both ways. But the important thing here is that this was not the sort of judgment call that makes football fans malinger and spout conspiracy theories. This was a technical error--a marker moved when it shouldn't have been, and the officials lost the plot of one of the simplest aspects of their job: keeping track of down and distance. Whether the referees were to blame or the chain gang, a serious technical mistake was made, the sort of mistake that requires attention and consequences.

Interestingly, a similar officiating error happened in the Nebraska-Illinois game, but the officials there noticed right away, as did the Nebraska sideline (Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports). So, in addition to raging at the incompetence of Big 12 officials, it's perhaps worth noting that nobody on the Kansas State sideline was on the ball here either.

This is not a case of sour grapes, and in fact, this error is simply the latest in a long series of gaffes by Big 12 officials. As Curtis Kitchen notes, maybe it's time to call out the league and say enough is enough.

Controversy aside, the actual game gave Kansas State plenty of food for thought, as reflected in post-game comments from the players and Bill Snyder (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle; with video content).

There is no story more EMAW than Kody Cook coming in off the bench and nearly leading his team to victory (Kevin Haskin, Topeka Capital-Journal). The Eagle's Bob Lutz also had things to say about Cook's sudden star turn.

Is Kansas State's commitment to doing things differently on offense costing the team wins? Maybe, but it's too early in the season to say for sure (Haskin, Capital_Journal).

During football broadcasts, the Big 12 airs promotional pieces on its student-athletes as part of the Champions for Life campaign. Yesterday's segment featured Kansas State hammer throw star Sara Savatovic, who comes from a small town in Serbia and thinks Kansas State is Wonderland. We feel you, Sara.

The volleyball team rallied from two sets down, but ultimately fell short and lost to TCU 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 17-25, 15-9) in Fort Worth yesterday. The Wildcats have lost five of their last six five-set matches, but it's not for lack of effort. Junior Kersten Kober had a career-high 37 digs that helped the defense reign TCU in while junior Brooke Sassin continues to be the best player on the team. She managed 18 kills on the day, along with nine digs, three blocks and three assists. Next up, the team heads to Ames to take on Iowa State.