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SLATE: Rumblings from the west

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Plus stuff is happening here at home.

Chaos and uncertainty have returned to Wildcatland. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Football

Fall camp finished up on Sunday, and Chris Klieman met with the media on Tuesday for his final press conference of the “pre-season” before the actual season gets underway here in a couple weeks. Overall Klieman is happy with how fall camp went for his Kansas State Wildcats (of course, getting to have it at all was a nice boost), and likes what he see from the development across the team. Probably the biggest news out of the press conference was the announcement that o-lineman Taylor Poitier, who was expected to compete for a starting role this year, will miss the entire season with what was described as a “lower body injury”. Losing anybody with starter ability is rough, but the offensive line position group is probably the best place for that to happen, as even Klieman feels pretty confident about the depth of that unit, which is almost a true 2-deep across the line (8-9 guys with starter ability right now).

Drew dropped in yesterday with a preview of the tight ends, and it could be a very solid group if everyone can actually stay healthy.

With the season nearing, K-State Athletics has announced changes to the gameday experience for the 2021 season. Of course, we knew that beers sales would again be limited due to the return of “pass-out” privileges, but there has been an additional beer garden added to the north endzone area to compliment the new one added to the south endzone area as part of the Shamrock Zone expansion. There’s also going to be a whole new set of concessions options in the south endzone, including “Fair Favorites”, expanded burger options, and wraps and items focused on kids.

Soccer

Jon mentioned it on Monday, but got the location wrong. The Cats are headed east this weekend to take on Austin Peay, and will face the Governors on Friday at 7pm from Morgan Brothers Soccer Field in Clarksville, Tenn. K-State lists that the match will be available on ESPN+. And it will be a whole weekend in Clarksville for the Cats, as they will face North Alabama on Sunday at 1pm at the same location (it does not appear that this match will be streamed). It will be the first meeting against either school for K-State.

Realignment

This is apparently not going to quiet down any time soon.

Thanks to the massive waves created by OUT’s decision to leave the Big 12, the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 have announced a “conference alliance” to help bring stability to the college sports landscape. The three conference plan to work together not only to be a solid voice opposing the SEC and ESPN’s maneuvers in the college football landscape (like how the CFP might be structured in the future), but also to work together on the educational aspects of being, you know, institutes of higher education. Of course, that promise of “stability” was quickly shaken with the announcement that the Pac-12 had formed an expansion committee to look at options for the potential growth of that conference. Currently, the Pac-12 is the only [coherent] conference that is at 12 schools, while the current make-up of the other power conferences is at least 14 schools, so it might make sense for the Pac-12 to get on even footing with it’s peer conferences.

But it might not just be the Pac-12 looking to expand. Former coach and current FOX Sports TV analyst Dave Wannstedt appeared on Chicago sports radio and talked about what he heard at the FOX meetings in Phoenix last week. He says that he is hearing that what’s left of the Big 12 will eventually get picked apart, with WVU joining the ACC (to make them an even 16), ISU and KU to the Big Ten (also going to 16), and Oklahoma State and K-State going to the Pac-12 (to go to 14). This, of course, leaves out the Texas schools entirely, including Texas Tech, who many thought would be a prime target for the Pac-12 due to bringing in the massive Texas market.

So what makes K-State more enticing than Texas Tech? Well our own Jon Morse’s thought is that NBAF could play a big role here in our favor. The Big Ten wanted that facility at one of their own schools, but K-State isn’t in the AAU. However, the Pac-12 doesn’t make that distinction, so adding K-State to the Pac-12, along with the new Alliance that isn’t just about football, could give not only the ag schools of the Pac-12 (like Cal and Wazzu (hey, we know a guy there)) access to a premier federal research lab, but also gives direct access to interested Big Ten schools. Also, The Pac-12 has direct, recent knowledge of how well K-State fans travel to the western timezones; showing up well in recent bowl games against Pac-12 competition and in the Pac-12 footprint (and even the 2013 Super Regional at Oregon State). Sure, it’s not a ton to go on, but it’s starting to make more sense why K-State is actually a viable target for the Pac-12.