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Mike Kern: Kansas State redux for Bill Snyder

THE GREATEST resurrections in college sports have been orchestrated by John Calipari with Massachusetts hoops and Bill Snyder with Kansas State football.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)Read more

THE GREATEST resurrections in college sports have been orchestrated by John Calipari with Massachusetts hoops and Bill Snyder with Kansas State football.

The difference being, Snyder is performing an encore.

When he took over in the other Manhattan in 1989, he inherited what Sports Illustrated had called the worst program in America. A decade later, the Wildcats came within a double-overtime loss to Texas A & M in the Big 12 title game - in which they led by 15 in the fourth quarter - of playing in the first BCS final.

The winning touchdown was scored by Sirr Parker, on a 32-yard, third-and-17 pass, after K-State missed scoring by a few feet on a completed Hail Mary on the last play of regulation.

So instead of facing Tennessee for the national title the Wildcats went to the Alamo Bowl, where they lost to Purdue.

After retiring for 3 years, Snyder returned in 2009 to replace his successor, Ron Prince. Now, at 73, the man who Barry Switzer called the "coach of the century" has another team in position to maybe make it to that ultimate stage.

You think Cal is giving Amherst another shot any time soon?

"I don't remember what happened yesterday, let alone 1998," Snyder remarked recently.

At the time, he compared that loss to a death in the family.

So how many might get a mulligan, after so much time?

Maybe it doesn't have to make sense. The quarterback, your Heisman Trophy leader, used to be a wide receiver. And his favorite target was once a QB. You won't find a bunch of marquee recruits on the roster. It's largely a diverse collection of transfers, from junior college and FBS, who for whatever reasons were overlooked or underappreciated elsewhere.

Hard to argue with the results, then or these days.

"If they fit in, it doesn't matter where they come from," Snyder correctly reasoned.

The Wildcats (9-0) were picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Big 12, behind TCU and ahead of Baylor, although they did get a first-place vote. But here they are, ranked third with three games left: at TCU and Baylor before hosting Texas.

Quarterback Collin Klein was injured in the third quarter last week against Oklahoma State. Snyder isn't saying much, as is his nature, but all indications point toward a possible concussion. If Klein can't go, redshirt freshman Daniel Sams takes over.

Nobody said this was supposed to be easy. Either time.

Just a thought

Last year there were also five unbeatens heading into November. Four lost, one (Alabama) to another unbeaten (LSU). Only twice has an unbeaten from a BCS conference not played for the BCS title: Auburn in 2004 and Cincinnati in 2009. Both times they got left out because of two other unbeatens.

Trivial pursuit

Oregon's Kenjon Barner just set a rushing record for a Southern Cal opponent - by the third quarter. Who held it? Hint: He was a top 5 NFL draft pick but because of injuries only played three seasons. See Answer man.

Deja uh oh

Arizona State was 5-1 last year under Dennis Erickson. It finished 6-7. The Sun Devils were 5-1 this year for Todd Graham. Now they're 5-4, having lost to Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State. This week they're at 6-3 USC, which has lost its last two.


Last season, when it was still in the Big 12, Texas A & M had quarterback Ryan Tannehill. And Mike Sherman as its coach. The Aggies went 7-6, losing a bunch of games that they led at halftime. Now in the SEC, they have freshman Johnny Maziel at QB playing for Kevin Sumlin, who was 12-1 a year ago at Houston. They're 7-2, with losses at home to Florida and LSU, heading to Alabama. Funny how things work out sometimes.

MAC me up

Four teams have at least eight wins (and another has seven). No other league can say that.

Have you noticed? * 

Indiana is going for its first three-game Big Ten win streak since 1993, at home against Wisconsin.

* In its last five games Tennessee has given up 51 in a loss at Georgia, 41 in a loss at Mississippi State, 44 in a loss to Alabama, 38 in a loss at South Carolina and 48 in a home win over Troy.

Answer man

Penn State's Curtis Enis, with 241 yards in the 1996 Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands.

Spotlight on . . . Small-college showdown

DELAWARE VALLEY (7-2, 7-1 Middle Atlantic) and Widener (8-0, 6-0), which is ranked ninth in Division III, will be playing in Chester on Saturday for a conference title and the automatic NCAA playoff spot that goes with it.

Last November Del Val won in Doylestown, 56-28, by scoring the last 42.

If Widener wins, it'll be in the tournament for the first time since 2007. Even if it loses, it could get an at-large berth.

Del Val, which made the playoffs the last 3 years, has to win by 16 to get the bid. If the Aggies win by less and Lycoming (7-2, 7-1) beats 0-9 Misericordia, Lycoming would take the three-way tiebreaker. It beat Del Val by 10 and lost to Widener by five.

Oops, almost forgot. The winner also gets the Keystone Cup for a year.

In 2010, the Pride won by converting a two-pointer with no time left.

"We're laying 16 on the road, to the No. 1 offense in the country," said Del Val coach Jim Clements, who played at Widener. "Are you kidding me!?

"We can't think about that. It's a huge challenge. It falls however it falls. Our first goal is always to win the MAC. So we're where we want to be. A championship is still a championship [even if it's shared] . . . This is great for local football."

Del Val is trying to become the second program to win at least a piece of it five straight times. Widener did it back in the day for Hall of Famer Bill Manlove.

"We learned from [last year]," said third-year Pride coach Isaac Collins. "I hope we're a little motivated by that. I hope there's some bitter factor because we lost an opportunity.

"It's the right game for us at this point. We know what's at stake. I'll be curious to see how it unfolds. We talked about it as we walked off the field a year ago. Once again, here we are. We control our destiny. We don't want to leave [our fate] up to the NCAA."

And you thought that only happened with the BCS.



* Connecticut has scored three second-half points in its last four games, and none in the fourth quarter in its last five.

* Syracuse has three 500-yard receivers for the first time.

* Pitt hasn't had a turnover in its last four games.



7 Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas State, ESPU

7:30 Florida State at Virginia Tech, ESPN


8 Pittsburgh at Connecticut, ESPN2


Noon Arkansas at South Carolina, CBS3

Noon Louisville at Syracuse, 6ABC

Noon Cincinnati at Temple, LiveWell

Noon Northwestern at Michigan, ESPN

Noon Wisconsin at Indiana, ESPN2

Noon Army at Rutgers, ESPNU

Noon William & Mary at Old Dominion, CSN

Noon Kansas at Texas Tech, FCS

Noon Harvard at Penn, NBCSN

Noon Purdue at Iowa, BTN

Noon Missouri at Tennessee, WMCN-44.2

12:30 Georgia Tech at North Carolina, CW57

12:30 Colgate at Lehigh, CBSSN

1:30 Colorado at Arizona, FX

3:30 Texas A&M at Alabama, CBS3

3:30 Penn State at Nebraska, 6ABC

3:30 Maryland at Clemson, ESPNU

3:30 Arizona State at Southern California, Pac-12

3:30 West Virginia at Oklahoma State, ESPN2

3:30 Maryland at Clemson, ESPNU

3:30 Marshall at UAB, TCN

3:30 Air Force at San Diego State, NBCSN

3:30 Minnesota at Illinois, BTN

3:30 Baylor at Oklahoma, WMCN-44.1

5 Tulsa at Houston, CBSSN

7 Kansas State at TCU, FOX29

7 Mississippi State at LSU, ESPN

7 Georgia at Auburn, ESPN2

7 Vanderbilt at Mississippi, ESPNU

7 Southern Mississippi at SMU, FCS

7 Boise State at Hawaii, NBCSN

8 Notre Dame at Boston College, 6ABC

10:15 Idaho at BYU, ESPNU

10:30 Oregon at California, ESPN

10:30 UCLA at Washington State, ESPN2

10:30 Fresno State at Nevada, NBCSN

10:30 Utah at Washington, Pac-12


Contact Mike Kern at .