I just got an interview with Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com, and discussed BCS bowl scenarios with him. The outlook is not great for the Kansas State Wildcats from a BCS perspective. This is what he told me:
TD: What are K-State’s chances of getting picked for the Sugar Bowl over Michigan?
JP: “If Michigan qualifies (for a BCS bowl) they’re in. It’s that simple. K-State and Boise State wouldn’t be chosen for a game like that above a team with a superstar player and a national brand.”
TD: How much impact does a fan base have on bowl selection, compared to the actual resume between the two teams?
JP: “Those bowl games do not care about a team ranked four or five spots ahead of them. It’s all about who has the bigger following and who will bring more fans. Is that fair? Maybe not, but it’s the way things are.”
TD: In a worst-case scenario, if K-State lost to Iowa State and Baylor beat Texas, could the Bears be picked for the Alamo over KSU?
JP: “I don’t think so. Honestly, I think K-State’s chances at the Cotton are really good (if OSU beats OU). Oklahoma is the least attractive team to the Cotton Bowl out of the Big 12, because they play Texas there every year. When you factor in K-State’s fan base, I think the Cotton would really like to take K-State if given the chance.
So, there you have it. K-State’s chances at getting the the Sugar Bowl are almost entirely dependent on Michigan staying out of the top 14 in the BCS Standings. For that to happen, K-State should be rooting for Georgia in the SEC title game (if Oklahoma State could get into Top 2), for a very close Big Ten title game, and for a Southern Miss upset of Houston. Fingers crossed.
But of course, the most important thing is….
Beat Iowa State.
For the second consecutive game, Kansas State made some very good adjustments at halftime and out-bullied their opponent in the second 20 minutes. Behind dominating, double-double performances inside by Thomas Gipson and Jamar Samuels, and very timely shot-making by Will Spradling, the Wildcats advanced to 4-0 on the season with a 69-55 victory over George Washington.
Gipson had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Samuels added 10 and 10. Meanwhile, the Wildcats used great defense during a 15-1 run early in the second half the put the game out of reach.
What I noticed:
Excellent frontcourt play. Better, perhaps, than the majority of games last season for the Cats. Things are far from perfect, but the improvement displayed tonight is an excellent sign for K-State fans. This team looked like it had some swagger at times. Besides Gipson and Samuels’ double-doubles, Jordan Henriquez added 6 points and 11 boards. Solid.
Performances from the guards were average for the most part. Spradling was a bright spot with 14 points, but his shooting percentage was slightly below where I’d like it. Also, where is Rodney McGruder? I expect him to be a leader on this team, but his 7 points on 3/11 shooting tonight make me slightly nervous.
We saw about 15 minutes of really good basketball tonight. If K-State can increase that number to 25-30 on a regular basis, it will win more than enough games for an NCAA tournament birth.
A really tough stretch continues. K-State takes on Virginia Tech in its first game away from home this weekend, before playing West Virginia next week. The Wildcats should be satisfied to go 1-1 in those games, in my opinion.
Typically, I save posting a game preview until Thursdays, but I figured it’s just as well to do it now. I’m pretty excited about Saturday – not only for the game, but to see all of the other games with bowl implications as well.
I’ve received positive feedback on this method of previewing games, so I continue the series for this Saturday’s showdown between the Wildcats and Cyclones.
Not a lot of defenses can completely shut down the Wildcat rushing attack. Texas was one of them, but Iowa State is not. The Cyclones are not terrible against ground attacks; they rank seventh in the Big 12, but asking them to stop an offense with a weapon like Collin Klein is a tall order. Bill Snyder was frustrated with his team’s offense against the Longhorns. Expect to see that anger taken out on ISU if at all possible, but beware: the Cyclones possess an overachieving linebacking corps looking for respect.
The Cyclones possess a number of different weapons on the ground, but none of them are superstar quality. The carries will be distributed between running backs James White and Jeff Woody, and quarterback Jared Barnett. The touches White gets will be determined by his health, as he nurses a nagging shoulder injury. He only had one carry against Oklahoma last week. Meanwhile, the K-State defense continues to show its strength, especially on the outside. Expect the Wildcats to force Iowa State to throw the ball.
As the second-ranked team in the conference against the pass, Iowa State has proved doubters wrong this season. In its last two games, the Cyclones have six interceptions, and those are against two of the best quarterbacks in the country. This secondary is one to take seriously, and it is possible that K-State will only be able to have success passing the ball if the running game is successful first.
ADVANTAGE: Iowa State
Iowa State is led by freshman quarterback Jared Barnett, who has overachieved since entering the starting position in late October with five touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s no Brandon Weeden or Robert Griffin III, but the K-State secondary has struggled at times this season against less-than-spectacular quarterbacks. The Wildcats will likely see Saturday as an opportunity to make a name for themselves in this phase of the game, and if successful, it is hard to picture K-State losing.
The kicking game has been largely inconsistent for the Cyclones. Two place kickers have seen the field this season and have missed on four extra points and six of 15 field goal attempts. In addition, the field position battle has regularly favored K-State this season, and will likely do so again Saturday. Good special teams are a signature of Bill Snyder-coached squads. Expect more of the same.
It is Senior Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and the Wildcats are striving for their first 10-win season since 2003. It is worth noting, however, that all of the bowl-related talk this week can be a distraction. A focused K-State team wins this one, but a few mistakes against a team like Iowa State can prove costly in a hurry. At the end of the day, why doubt Snyder?
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Kansas State 31, Iowa State 21
KSU 7 10 0 14 — 31
ISU 0 14 0 7 — 21
A look at the experiences the Wildcats have had in each bowl game they may end up participating in this season, and the chances I predict of K-State ending up there:
K-State appearances: None
Note: The Sugar is usually reserved for a matchup between the SEC champion and a BCS at-large school. The Big 12 hasn’t sent a team to the Sugar Bowl since Oklahoma last to LSU in the 2004 National Championship Game.
K-State appearances: 2 (1-1)
Last: 2001 (Beat Tennessee 35-21)
Note: The Cotton Bowl credits K-State with the survival of the game, after an unexpectedly large amount of Wildcat fans flocked to Dallas for the 1997 meeting with BYU. Cotton Bowl representatives have been to several K-State games this season and have commented encouragingly about the thought of the ‘Cats playing there again.
K-State appearances: 1 (0-1)
Last: 1998 (Lost to Purdue 37-34)
Note: When the Wildcats last played in the Alamo Bowl in 1998, it did so without much desire to be in the game at all. K-State had fallen to Texas A&M in double-overtime weeks earlier that cost it a spot in the National Championship game.
K-State appearances: 2 (1-1)
Last: 2001 (Lost to Syracuse 26-3)
Note: A lackluster 6-5 regular season placed the Wildcats in the 2001 Insight.com Bowl, but since then, the game has earned more respect as a legitimate postseason destination. When K-State played Wyoming in the game in 1993, it was known as the Copper Bowl.