Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wrap Up

My initial off-the-cuff thoughts about the Cotton Bowl are as follows:

1. Where was Collin Klein?  I haven't looked at the stats yet, but it seems to me that K-State's game plan was pass heavy from the start.  I get that it would have been a good idea to surprise Arkansas that way, but a Klein-led rushing attack is what got KSU to 10 wins on the why would you go away from that?  Was Arkansas' run defense just that good?  Maybe so.  They sure looked a heckuva lot better than their lousy national ranking.

2. Oh, you mean I'm supposed to catch it?  I'm not sure how many dropped passes there were, but it seemed like a lot.  Especially in the first quarter, when the momentum was up for grabs, there were a lot of drops when the receiver had room to run and could have potentially broken a big play.  We'll never know how the game might have been different if even a few of those had connected, but it felt like the overall strategy was to soften up the run defense by gashing the secondary a few times.  A great idea, if it works.  But they just had too many drops early and the momentum slipped away.

3. Who are these guys?  All through the year, the K-State Wildcats played smart, clean football and didn't beat themselves.  Very few stupid mistakes, very few penalties.  Again, I haven't looked at the stats, but it seems that they were not mentally there in the first half.  I think they had more penalties in the first quarter than they usually did in a whole game.  They eventually cleaned up the idiocy, but like the dropped passes, I wonder how the complexion of the game might have been different if they had been firing on all cylinders from the beginning.

4. Another year of insufferable arrogance.  And I do mean insufferable.  If you think the SEC lovefest was bad before, just watch - it's only going to get worse.  You'll have some yahoos looking down their nose at us and suggesting that the SEC actually had the three best teams in the country, and it's just a shame that they all had to play each other.  Gag me with a pitchfork.  While I really wanted KSU to win because they're my team, I also wanted KSU to win because it would have done at least a little bit to shut the SEC sycophants up.  Obviously, that didn't happen, and now it's going to be all-SEC all the time for another full year.  Living in the Kansas City area, it's going to be particularly bad with all the Missouri folks harping and chanting that they're now in the best league ever invented in the history of the planet (never mind that they're going to get pounded on a weekly basis there).  Oh well, such is life.

Overall, it was pretty clear that Arkansas was the better team.  They were more prepared, they executed better, and they had better numbers across the board.  For much of the game, they looked faster and stronger, and that usually happens because of a higher talent level.  K-State pulled off 10 wins this year by embracing the ultimate team mindset - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Outside of Arthur Brown and Collin Klein, you'd be hard pressed to name any 'big name talent', but due to Snyder's coaching and an incredible amount of determined can-do spirit, the Wildcats made a tremendous year for themselves and their fans.  The talent will come.  Now that Snyder's put them back on the national map, the sign has been officially hung on the wall that Manhattan, KS is open for top-level business once again.

Yeah, I would have loved a Cotton Bowl victory and an 11 win season, but I'll happily take 10 wins and a 2nd place Big 12 finish (remember, KSU was picked to finish 8th in pre-season predictions).  It's awfully hard to be too down this morning.  It was a terrific year filled with great memories, and the future is most definitely looking up.  Oh yeah, and Collin Klein is only a junior...  :)

Way to go, Cats!!!

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