It’s May, 2022. Spring practices at Kansas State just wrapped up with the spring game, and the head coach of the Wildcats offered his usual non-committal reactions to what he saw on the field. The amazing — by K-State standards -- recruiting classes of 2016 and 2017 are gone now, all graduated after a run which, for the third time in his career, brought Bill Snyder to the brink of a shot at a national championship.
Of course, Bill Snyder isn’t the head coach anymore, either. Having shepherded what many rightly assumed was his last, best gathering of talent through a few great years, the hall of fame mentor finally hung up his headset.
And now, the incoming class faces an uncertain future. The Big 12’s grant of rights will expire before they graduate. Will this year’s freshmen finish their college careers playing in a major conference, or will they find themselves relegated to a lesser tier?
1. The head coaching position will be much debated
It’s really difficult to ponder the future of K-State football because of the obvious changes which will necessarily occur over the next half-decade. It’s certainly possible that Bill Snyder will still be patrolling the sidelines at the age of 82, but it’s very unlikely. And with the expectation that Snyder will be gone by 2022 comes the inevitable question of who will step in to undertake the unenviable task of carrying on his legacy. Brent Venables? Jim Leavitt? Sean Snyder? Nobody knows, and it will be a matter of contention until probably a decade after the decision is made.
2. The future (and the immediate one) should be bright
It’s also optimistic, although realistic, to assume that the next three years will be very, very good years in Manhattan. K-State has done a very good job of identifying talent in the last three classes, and if this year’s linebacking corps can hold serve the Wildcats very well could be aiming for a Big 12 championship... and don’t stand to lose a great deal of irreplaceable talent heading into 2018.
3. Quarterback will go a long way towards determining things
The transition from Jesse Ertz to either Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson could be rocky, but the talent surrounding either of them will do a great deal to ameliorate the situation.
4. Conference realignment almost assuredly isn’t done
What is certain, however, is that by 2022 the chaos which has swirled around the Big 12 will once again be in full swing. With the grant of rights expiring in 2025, the conference members are really going to have to either ante up again or start seriously making exit plans. That will be a terrifying circumstance for Kansas State, unless another major conference starts showing interest in the Wildcat program.
5. Kansas State has a sizable delta
But in the moment, in 2022, that will still be in the future. Perhaps K-State will be riding the wave of a conference dynasty. Perhaps the post-Snyder transition, just like the Ron Prince interregnum, will see the Wildcats taking a step back. Even if we knew who the next head coach will be in Manhattan, that would be true.
What do you think? Where do you see K-State in 2022?
Which future prediction do you see as most likely?
This poll is closed
1. The head coaching position will be a point of contention
2. The short-term future (and beyond) should be positive
3. The quarterback position is a major key
4. We haven’t heard the last of conference realignment
5. Kansas State has a huge range of possible futures