Wildcats no longer the underdogs
Published on -10/23/2012, 10:03 AM
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Hays Daily News
With each passing week, Kansas State's self-styled underdogs are morphing into a new role.
These 'Cats are no dogs and they had better get used to it.
After destroying No. 17 West Virginia 55-14 on Saturday in Morgantown, W. Va. -- their third road victory against a ranked Big 12 opponent this season and their second as underdogs -- the No. 4-ranked Wildcats now will be favored the rest of the way provided they keep winning.
But while the Wildcats continue to win converts as the victories mount, they can count on one constant: Bill Snyder won't be nearly as easy to please.
"All young people read and watch and get on the cyberspace stuff," Snyder said Monday during the Big 12 coaches' conference call. "You can't keep that away from them and it's not my intent to do that.
"I think our intent is just to brand the message that it really is day by day, and however they're through of externally is not a major factor for us. The important think is just how well we prepare today, and today is going to be the most important day, and tomorrow will also take on that role when the time comes."
In other words, what have the Wildcats done for him lately?
Fortunately, Snyder said the players have kept a level head so far.
"I'm proud of our youngsters because they, I think for the most part, very much do take it a game at a time."
Though the Wildcats have embraced the underdog role since they began climbing the charts last season and Snyder may even have promoted it within the Vanier Complex, they remain focused on the task at hand.
"As far as being an underdog, etc., I'm sure they feed off of that," Snyder said. "But by the same token it really isn't about who's favored and not favored.
"Like any program or any football team or any entity whatsoever, it's about the way we believe. It's about us and how well we prepare and how well we play, nothing more or less than that."
That approach would serve the Wildcats well as speculation grows about a potential national championship run. They trail only Alabama and Florida in the latest BCS rankings but face another stiff test at home Saturday with No. 15 Texas Tech visiting Snyder Family Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
"Nothing changes day in and day out," Snyder insisted. "You just encourage your young guys to believe in that and understand how you got where you are and not worry about two weeks from now or three weeks or four weeks.
"Our concerns are on this afternoon and hopefully we'll keep our mind there. I'd like to think that our young people have those intrinsic values that allow them to do exactly that."
Kudos for Klein, Brown
K-State seniors Collin Klein and Arthur Brown each picked up Big 12 player of the week nods Monday while also joining the conversation for significant national year-end awards.
Klein was named top offensive player after completing 19 of 21 passes for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns, plus ran for four more scores in the Wildcats' rout of West Virginia. In the process, he set the NCAA FBS record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in two consecutive seasons with 41 while his 47 career rushing TDs broke Darren Sproles' career school record.
Klein also was named Monday as one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. He is the fourth K-State quarterback to be picked as a semifinalist for the award, joining 1998 winner Michael Bishop and finalists Matt Miller (1995) and Chad May (1994).
Brown received the league's defensive player of the week award by recording eight tackles, two for loss, and intercepting a pass from his middle linebacker spot. The interception ended West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's NCAA record of 273 passes without a pick.
Brown was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker. Former Wildcat Mark Simoneau was runner-up for the award in 1999, while Josh Buhl (2003), Jeff Kelly (1998) and Percell Gaskins (1995) were other semifinalists.
OSU game time on hold
The Big 12 announced Monday its television partners have exercised a six-day option in selecting their broadcast schedule for Nov. 3, placing the kickoff time for K-State's home game against Oklahoma State in limbo.
The game was one of four placed on the six-day ready list and will be televised either by ABC at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m., or by Fox at 2 p.m.