Powercat Gameday Panel: TCU

December 2, 20160 Comments

Welcome to another installation of the Powercat Gameday panel, where we answer your questions about K-State football. The regular season finale sends K-State to Fort Worth, TX to face the TCU Horn Frogs. As always, Powercat Gameday will be on the road broadcasting live at the place to be for K-State fans making the road trip.

This week, Powercat Gameday and the K-State Alumni Association will be hosting a Wildcat Welcome Party on Friday night before the game. Frankie’s Sports Bar will be hosting the party from 4-10 PM for all K-State fans making the trip down to Fort Worth. There will be a live broadcast of KMAN’s daily sports talk show, The Game, starting at 4 PM, we would love to see you there.

Saturday morning you can join the crew again at Frankies for Powercat Gameday, where we will be on the air bright and early starting at 7 AM. If you can’t make it down for the game, you can tune to Powercat Gameday on KMAN to get you ready for what should be another exciting K-State football matchup.

Thanks as always to everyone who submitted a question to this week’s Powercat Gameday Panel. To submit a question tweet us at @PowercatGameday or to any of the panelists: @jlkurtz, @Cole_Manbeck, or @StantonWeber.

Cole Manbeck is out this week due to his wife delivering a baby, let’s all wish him luck on being a first time Dad. With that being said, let’s get to it:

John: I certainly wouldn’t say I’m surprised. At the beginning of the year we did a segment on our daily show on KMAN with 7.5 wins being the over/under and I was wrestling with which way to go. Now the final game of the regular season will determine one way or the other which side of the fence was the correct one in that regard. The vegas over/under was 5.5 wins, so I’m sure a lot of people from a national perspective are somewhat surprised. Not those of us who are used to Bill Snyder surpassing expectations, though.

Another factor here is how much differently the season has turned out for Baylor and TCU. At the beginning of the year, those games looked like almost certain losses. We now know that Baylor has imploded and TCU is probably the most erratic team in the conference.

In the end, if K-State gets to 8-4 they will have beaten every team below them in the conference standings and lost to every team above them. It’s remarkably similar to what the 2013 team was able to do when they finished 8-5.

Stanton: Before the season, I predicted K-State would get 7 wins in the regular season so I guess you could say they are on track with what I expected. After seeing how the first 11 games played out, 7 wins could have very easily been 9 and as disappointing as that is, I am encouraged by what I’ve seen in the development of this young team. K-State still has a chance to finish the season with 9 wins if they win the bowl game, a number in which I said was “optimistic” before the season began. The fact that 9 wins was realistic makes me feel very good about this team’s development and what’s to come from many who are returning next year.

Stanton: There are a handful of good candidates for this one: Alex Barnes, DJ Reed, Tre Dishon, Byron Pringle, Abdul Beecham and more. I will give it to Alex Barnes. He started the year behind three running backs who each had experience in the program. The fact that he emerged from under the radar to become K-State’s best offensive weapon certainly qualifies as “surprising.”

John: I’d take one on each side of the ball and go with Alex Barnes and DJ Reed.

Barnes has already shown that he is probably the most talented skill position player that K-State has on offense. I’ll admit that I was slower onto the Barnes bandwagon than most going into the season. I knew that there was plenty of chatter about his ability, but I just didn’t expect that much from a redshirt freshman who was going to have to fight his way past three veterans in front of him at running back (insert joke about his lack of carries here).

It became pretty clear in fall camp that DJ Reed was likely going to be the starting corner opposite Duke Shelley. Much like Barnes though, I didn’t expect him to have quite the impact that he has. He’s been a huge part of a secondary that has helped the defense nearly triple their interception total from last season. Reed has three of the Wildcats 14 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and leads the team (by far) in pass break ups with 15. Not only that, but he’s physical enough to be a big factor in stopping the run and short passing game of spread offenses in the Big 12. He’s actually tied for third on the team in tackles with 58.

Stanton: I hope Coach Snyder coaches for as long as he lives. A couple weeks ago on Powercat Gameday when we discussed this topic, I predicted he had at least 5 years left at the helm. That being said, to entertain your hypothetical situation, I think it’s disrespectful not to start the list internally. There are a handful of guys who could do a nice job: Sean Snyder, Dana Dimel, and Tom Hayes would all be candidates.

An internal guy who may not be getting much attention but I think will be a great coordinator and potentially head coach someday is Andre Coleman. He gets a lot of well deserved credit for his ability to recruit but he brings so much more to the table. Coach Coleman is a high energy guy who has a great football IQ and puts a strong emphasis on doing the little things the right way (next time you watch a K-State game pay attention to what the receivers are doing on run plays, they are tough blockers). He will do great things in the future and is an asset to this K-State staff.

Next you have to look at the obvious, there is a short list of great assistant coaches in college football who either played or coached under Coach Snyder. The list includes Broyles Award finalists Brent Venables and Jim Leavitt.

I will throw this in there too, Collin Klein is going to be a great head coach someday and I sure hope it’s at K-State. He is currently the quarterbacks coach at Northern Iowa but I hope whoever is the head coach at K-State next year or in the future, they find a way to get Collin Klein on their staff.

If I had to choose a coach this January I would like to see Brent Venables get a chance in Manhattan. Having a home grown, Snyder guy, will increase the chances that the core values, that Coach Snyder has made the foundation for the success of the football team and university, will continue to be instilled in the players. Again, I hope Coach Snyder sticks around forever but Brent Venables would be my first alternative if I was forced to choose.

John: The top of my list is Mike Leach. I’d love to see K-State take a shot at him. I’m not sure it’s the most realistic choice given John Currie’s track record of coaches hired, but I think he could absolutely get it done here. He’s had lots of success with programs in Lubbock, Texas and Pullman, Washington, both similar places to Manhattan, Kansas and schools that aren’t traditional powers by any means. He won at least seven games in all ten of his seasons in Lubbock and has now put together back-to-back eight win seasons with Wazzu.

His style is also the exact opposite of Bill Snyder, and I think in some ways that’s a good thing. It’s not a knock on Snyder at all, we all know the miracles he’s worked with his coaching philosophy, but I think the fan base could use some excitement in the form of a spread offense and a coach that attracts attention with his colorful personality.

Would he view a move from Washington State to K-State a lateral move? Possibly…but the selling point here is a chance for him to stick it to Texas Tech after the messy divorce that they had.

Outside of that, if somehow P.J. Fleck is still at Western Michigan I think that would make some sense if K-State could convince him that this is the place for him (again I’m not sure how realistic of a name this is with his stock continuing to rise). I’d also be fine exploring the line of guys from the Snyder coaching tree (Leavitt/Venables).

John: I’m definitely not a fan of the stark contrast in rules when it comes to coaches and student athletes. I’ve always been on board with getting the athletes paid, letting them transfer without restriction, etc in theory. However, I do realize that they’re really complicated issues seemingly without perfect solutions.

We already have a transfer epidemic in college sports (especially college hoops). If you gave athletes free reign to transfer without any kind of penalty all the time, it’s pretty obvious that it would get way more out of hand.

Stanton: The NCAA puts a lot of time into delicately selecting rules to regulate just about every aspect of the college football player’s experience. These rules are very detailed, and the regulation starts during recruitment. ‘Liking’ a recruit’s tweet is acceptable, but a ‘quote retweet’? Violation! Once the players on campus, the rules amp up. My first two years as a player there were some rules about food that were just laughable. The weight staff was permitted to provide us with bagels, but if they provided crème cheese? Violation! What calculated study by the NCAA came up with that one?

“According to our 3-year investigative study, if we permit the schools to provide the student athletes with crème cheese it will create an unfair advantage to schools who can afford to provide both plain and strawberry flavors compared to the schools who can only afford plain.” (Sarcasm)

What!?

If your teammate needed some money to pay the rent because he had to send his scholarship check home to his family, could you help him out? Nope, that’s a violation too.
My point is, there are many rules to regulate the players but I think the NCAA is failing them in one big way. The NCAA’s mission is to “integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.” The head coach of a football team probably has the most direct influence on a student-athlete’s experience. So it shocks me that the NCAA doesn’t offer protection to student athletes when the unfortunate event of a coaching change occurs.

I get it, the mission statement is a bit of a façade, college football is about winning and the astounding amount of money and excitement that a winning football team produces for a university (If it isn’t than explain to me how Charlie Strong was fired after three years ­for doing everything right but winning). But, the original premise of college athletics had nothing to do with money, or TV contracts, or multi-million dollar facilities. It started as student run groups that could loosely be considered organizations and grew into university sponsored teams that gave prospective students an opportunity to get an education.

Then money got involved.

The SEC said “pay the players,” the Big 10 said “maintain academic standards,” and the Ivy League stuck their nose up and said “we’re too good for you low lives,” and proceeded to dramatically exit, slamming their ivory gate behind them. Thus, the NCAA was formed to regulate, fast forward a handful of decades, and here we are. Players receive about what they did back then and the coach’s salaries have inflated dramatically.

The coaching market is the Wild West and even if the NCAA implemented a penalty on coaches for leaving, the school that was hiring them would just pay the penalty, it would be ineffective. My issue with all of this is where it leaves the student-athlete. Many players have to choose between staying at a school that they chose based on a coach who is on their way out, or, losing a year of eligibility for transferring. The student athlete experience is being compromised at no fault of their own and they have no good option. The answer to this is not necessarily penalizing coaches but taking steps to protect the student-athletes. What those steps are is above my pay grade but I think discussions should happen.

Stanton: In my opinion, Ohio State is in. They are one of the best four teams in college football and, despite a road loss to Penn State (where the Nittany Lions caught a few lucky breaks), they check many of the boxes: elite coach, blue blood program, big time win in their last game of the season. They hold the #2 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings and have for three straight weeks, I don’t see how they could be uprooted from the top 4 by anyone below them.

A second Big 10 team making the playoff is a better discussion. With Clemson at #3 and Washington at #4 both playing in their respective conference championship games, I would have to assume that if they both win decisively they are in. However, if one of them falls, a team outside of the current top 4 will be in the playoff. If you asked me to pick the next best team out of the bubble teams I would have to say it’s Michigan. They beat Colorado early in the year essentially blocking the Buffalos if they beat Washington in the Pac-12 Championship and they just took Ohio State to the wire on the road in their last game. I think they are head and shoulders above both Wisconsin and Penn State which is discouraging because the Big 10 champion would be deserving to go, except for the fact that they are the third best team in their conference (!!).

This all just reinforces the argument that the CFP should expand to 8 teams, give the 5 major conference champions an automatic bid, and let both the most deserving and best teams into the playoff.

John: Right now, I don’t really expect much chaos on championship weekend. That means you’re most likely looking at just Ohio State. Alabama and Ohio State seem like virtual locks at this point, and if Washington and Clemson hold serve I don’t see any way somebody jumps them.

Having said that, if there’s one thing we know about the committee it’s that they love them some Big Ten. It sure seems like Barry Alvarez has more influence than anybody in that room…which is ridiculous.

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