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Title hopes dashed




The Sports Illustrated cover jinx strikes again.

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The Sports Illustrated cover jinx strikes again.

At least, that's the explanation for Saturday night's upset loss by the Kansas State University football team for Dusty Thacker, admittedly a superstitious sort when it comes to Wildcat football.

"I really do," think having Heisman hopeful Collin Klein gracing the cover of SI spelled doom for the Wildcats in their 52-24 loss at Baylor, Thacker said. Thacker, who is from Hanston, was at the Golden Q, 809 Ash, on Saturday night with some friends to watch the game.

"I'm really superstitious," Thacker said. "I wear this (shirt) every weekend and I have a helmet, looks like a stocking cap, that I wear every weekend, too. So, yeah, I'm very superstitious."

Cody Lampe, Spearville, said one of his friends bought three issues of the current Sports Illustrated with the Wildcat QB on the cover and framed one of them. So confident Kansas State would play for the BCS national championship, Lampe's friend already had purchased three tickets to watch the Wildcats in the title game.

"He wasn't even worried about tonight's game," Lampe said.

And now ... tickets here, get your tickets.

Kansas State, No. 1 in the BCS poll for the first time ever last week, wasn't the only unbeaten team to fall. Oregon, No. 2 in the BCS rankings, lost 17-14 in overtime at home against Stanford.

The lone unbeaten team left with a chance to play for the national championship is Notre Dame. But the Irish have to play at USC on Saturday. A win would assure Notre Dame a spot in the championship game, but a loss could cause BCS chaos. There would be several one-loss teams with a chance to play for the title.

"They'll pick an SEC team, just because it's an SEC team," Thacker said. "And then Oregon, because they have cool jerseys."

Gustavo Flores, Spearville, also was sitting around the table at the bar, which was overflowing before kickoff but was barely half full after the loss. He's got it all figured out what will happen next.

"I'll tell you exactly what's going to happen," he said. "(Kansas State) is going to win (against Texas, on Dec. 1), Alabama is going to lose in the (SEC) championship game, Notre Dame is going to lose to USC. And, I still think we're going to get a BCS game, and possibly play in the national championship game."

Now that we know what's going to happen, 'Cats fans won't have to be nervous anymore.

Before Saturday's game, Trent Fox, Hays, admitted he gets nervous "every week." He and his wife, Mandy, have season tickets, as do Mandy's parents, Robert and Renee Hoffman of Hays.

Trent and Mandy went to school at KSU the other time the Wildcats had a chance to play for the BCS title, only to lose to Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship game. And they were there when K-State wasn't so good when Ron Prince was coach.

All three of the Hoffman kids went to school at KSU.

"We do bleed purple; we do have one Missouri fan -- we don't claim him, sometimes," Renee Hoffman said with a chuckle.

While most fans might say Klein is their favorite player, Robert Hoffman had a different choice.

"I like (linebacker) Arthur Brown," he said. "He's a very humble player, and he does a really good job."

Just not good enough Saturday night. Once again it appears the dream of a national title has slipped away, just like 14 years ago.

"Man, I hope not," Thacker said. "But I think so, yeah."

The pressure of being No. 1 might have been too much.

"That's what happens when you've got a big 'X' on your back," Flores said.

Still, one and all believe in Snyder -- win or lose.

"Keep calm; Snyder on," Flores said.

In two years, the BCS will be replaced with a playoff system in which the top four teams match up for a chance at the championship. If that scenario existed this season, Kansas State still possibly could have had a shot at the title. Now, not so much.

"I wasn't (for the playoff system), but after tonight, yeah," Thacker said. "I'm ready for a playoff."