Ten years ago, a 3-1 Kansas State team took the field against Kansas in Manhattan and clawed their way to a 12-3 victory. At the time, it felt like the normal order of things had been restored after the 2004 loss in Lawrence. But Kansas State dropped the next five games, probably speeding Bill Snyder into premature retirement.
Twenty seasons ago, #14 Kansas State blew out #6 Kansas 41-7. It was Snyder's first win over a team ranked in the Top 10 and paved the way for Snyder's first 10-win season.
If that was the high water mark for the Wildcats in this long-but-not-epic rivalry, then 1985 was as close to the nadir as possible. On the way to a 1-10 season that featured the mid-season firing of head coach Jim Dickey, the Wildcats barely showed up in a 38-7 loss to Kansas in Lawrence.
Let's hope today's contest is more 2005 than 1985.
Even in a good year, the Sunflower Showdown is not especially noteworthy outside the state of Kansas, and this year is not a good year for either team. Kansas is still winless and Kansas State is struggling, to put it mildly. Kellis Robinett suggests the game is nothing to get excited about because the stakes are low, but I disagree. For the Wildcats, this is not only a chance to move one step closer to a bowl game (Dave Skretta, Associated Press), but a chance to reinforce purple primacy in the state. For Kansas, it's a chance to get that elusive first win and to flip the current narrative on its head (Rustin Dodd, Wichita Eagle). From one angle, the stakes are higher than ever (Ken Corbitt, Topeka Capital-Journal).
So what can we expect from this game? Well, maybe Glenn Gronkowski, one of the stars of that improbable win over Iowa State, will feature prominently. The junior fullback has done a bit of everything at Kansas State already, as featured in this profile from Robinett in the Eagle.
For Kansas, which features the worst total defense in all of FBS, stopping the Kansas State offense is the biggest challenge, but avoiding turnovers will also go a long way (Benton Smith, Lawrence Journal-World).
Everyone is picking Kansas State to win this game, including the Eagle's staff in the three-minute preview capsule.
If things go as predicted, this will be Kansas's first winless season since 1954, and one of the worst seasons in school history (Tom Keegan, KUSports). But maybe there are still surprises in store. Kansas State has not played up to expectation, and first-year coaches at Kansas have done well against the Wildcats, posting a 24-10 record over the history of the series. Most recently, Glen Mason beat Kansas State 30-12 in his first year in Lawrence. That was 1988, and nothing has really been the same since.
I mean, the Kansas fans can make fun of us Silo Tech fans until the cows come home, but they'll still be 0-fer when it's all done, right?
If the Sunflower Showdown isn't enough to sate your appetite for college football this weekend, Jon Morse has you covered with the rest of today's college football TV/streaming schedule.
So what do you do with your turkey leftovers? Bobby Flay recommends turkey fajitas, which seems like a nice change of pace. If you prefer a more traditional solution, Martha Stewart suggests turkey casserole. And if you're ready to be done with your tryptophan-induced coma altogether, my favorite food blog says you should make a strata with absolutely no turkey whatsoever.
But since it's the Sunflower Showdown, Billy's Cajun-Fried Jayhawk seems like the best use for turkey ever.