Monday, April 30, 2007

Thoughts on 2008 football schedule

I know everybody and their dogs are doing football previews now with spring practice and games over. I'll get one up here in a couple weeks or so, but I just don't have the time to do a thorough analysis of each team in the conference right now.

In the meantime, I've been looking at the Wildcats football schedule for 2008. It seems to be following the pattern Ron Prince has been trying to establish as far as non-conference games go. We have three home games, and one on the road. We play one high-level, BCS opponent in Louisville (at Louisville). We play a solid non-BCS opponent in Fresno State. Then we play two teams who should be fairly easy wins in U-La-La and North Texas. Here's the full schedule:

8/30: Louisiana-Lafayette
9/6: Fresno State
9/20: @ Louisville
9/27: North Texas
10/4: Texas Tech
10/11: @ Texas A&M
10/18: @ Colorado
10/25: Oklahoma
11/1: @ KU
11/8: @ Missouri
11/15: Nebraska
11/22: Iowa State

Of course, a lot can change in a few years. Louisville lost a lot of good players and lost head coach Bobby Petrino this year. Hard to say how the team will adjust in the near future. UL does not have the tradition as a football powerhouse, but Petrino and Co. laid a solid foundation for future success.

Fresno State suffered an awful 4-8 season last year after a fairly strong run of success in previous years under renegade coach Pat Hill (ok, he's not really a renegade, but that mustache is pretty wild). We'll find out more about them in the Big 12 this year as Texas A&M (howdy Ags!) and our own Wildcats take on the Bulldogs.

At this point, I like the non-conference scheduling philosophy. You can't play multiple non-con games against top-notch BCS caliber opponents if you're trying to get a program back to a point where it's making the postseason consistently. I'm also happy to see the games against Div. I-AA teams have disappeared at least for the time being. It's possible to schedule nearly certain wins against I-A opponents (unless you're Colorado). Testing the squad against a high-profile opponent (and occasionally in a hostile environment) is also a good thing once a year for a couple reasons. First, it really gives you a measuring stick that blowout wins don't. Two years ago, we blew North Texas out, 54-7, and yet finished below .500 for the year. Also, it gives the coaches something to really motivate the team with during spring and fall drills. This year, I'm sure the coaches have been pointing to that trip to Auburn as a means of getting the players to really get ready. In the past, the players didn't really have to be firing on all cylinders until about the third or fourth week of the season.

Also, 2008 signals another conference schedule rotation. We drop Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas and pick up Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Not a good tradeoff, obviously, as we drop two teams who are traditionally toward the bottom of the South for three teams that are almost always in the top four. At least we can always play Colorado and Iowa State...

Here's to that game in College Station in 2008. I will be seeing a lot of you Aggies there.


In some final NFL Draft-related news, Brandon Archer and Quinton Echols have signed with the Indianapolis Colts as free agents. Congrats to those two for signing with a successful NFL franchise, and good luck in the future.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Week in Review, 4/29

All kinds of news in Wildcatland this week.


Sunday was a big salvage day in an otherwise thoroughly disappointing weekend for Brad Hill's ballclub. It appeared the Cats would lose another disappointing game after getting buzzed by NU's Luke Wertz (10 strikeouts on the day, wow). But the Cats fought back and pushed a run across in the 8th inning to tie the game, 1-1. After surviving a bases-loaded scare in the bottom of the 9th, the Cats exploded for seven runs in the 10th inning to blow the game open and salvage a victory, the team's first ever at Nebraska's Haymarket Park (beautiful facility, by the way).

Nebraska killed K-State with clutch hitting in the first two games. On Friday, the Cats led 3-2 before ace Brad Hutt made a really bad pitch at a really bad time. Hutt had NU's Jake Opitz down 0-2, leaving him one strike away from getting out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam. Unfortunately, Hutt caught a lot of plate and Opitz ripped a 2 RBI double, providing the winning margin of 4-3.

Saturday was a scoreless pitcher's duel before NU's Andy Brown hit one "two miles" (in Brian Smoller's description) over the left field wall for a three-run home run. The Cats battled back to 3-2, but NU plated three more runs and the Cats could only push across one in the top of the ninth.

Given the weekend's activities, the conference standings look like this...

1. Texas 17-4 (Swept previously #2 Oklahoma State)
2. Missouri 12-6 (Swept Texas Tech)
3. Oklahoma State 10-8 (Swept by Texas)
4. Texas A&M 11-9 (Beat Baylor, 2-1)
5. Nebraska 10-11 (Beat K-State, 2-1)
6. Oklahoma 8-10 (Lost to KU, 1-2)
7. K-State 7-11 (Lost to Nebraska, 1-2)
T8. Baylor 8-13 (Lost to Texas A&M, 1-2) (Own tiebreaker on KU)
T8. KU 8-13 (Beat Oklahoma, 2-1)
10. Texas Tech 7-13 (Swept by Missouri)

Ok. We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of the season at this point. The Cats have three conference series left. Next weekend, they take on KU, one at home, two in Lawrence. After that, Texas A&M comes to Manhattan. The final weekend, the team travels to Waco to take on Baylor.

Thanks to Missouri's sweep of Tech, we have moved into seventh place in the conference, a 1.5 games ahead of the Red Raiders, and half a game ahead of both Baylor and KU. Our spot in Oklahoma City, which is obviously the first priority, is looking a little more secure, although it's hardly a guarantee yet.

As far as making the NCAA tournament, this guy thinks we're in as of last week (prior to our win over Wichita State and the series with Nebraska). He had us fourth in line in the conference, a status that will probably change with this weekend's series loss to Nebraska. However, we have a golden opportunity coming down the stretch. Two of our three remaining series are against the two teams tied for last place in the conference. If we take both of those series, we ought to be a lock for OKC and a regional. Not getting swept by A&M would be a plus, as well.

Men's Golf

As covered previously, the men's golf team made a decent first-day showing at the conference championships in Hutchinson, before slipping to a ninth-place finish Tuesday. Not a bad overall showing by the team, considering how poorly they played most of the year (Golfweek consistently ranked them at the bottom of the conference). A better season could be in the works next year as the Cats lose nobody off the regular traveling squad.

Track and Field

This weekend saw the 98th running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The Cats had what I would consider a great weekend, scoring two individual titles in the historic meet.

Kaylene Wagner won yet another title in the women's high jump, defeating Olympian Amy Acuff. Wagner went to the top of Drake Stadium's record books with her winning height of 6'2.25".

The Track Cats' other event champion was Donniece Parrish in the women's 100 meter. Video replay had to be used to determine Parrish had won the race, by a mere .002 seconds.

Marianne Schlachter finished second in the women's triple-jump. She is highly ranked in the Big 12 and nationally in that event.

NFL Draft

Three Wildcats have been picked so far in the NFL draft. They include Yamon Figurs (3rd round, Baltimore), Thomas Clayton (6th round, San Francisco), and Zach Diles, who will be joining me in Houston (8th round). I'm very surprised that Brandon Archer hasn't been picked yet. Of course, I was a little surprised (though I think it was justified) that Brady Quinn fell to #22 yesterday. What do I know, I don't run an NFL team.

Have a great week. I'll keep updating, but finals week has begun and I won't have a lot of time for very long posts. Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 27, 2007

More conference TV developments

The major papers in the Big 12 North region have finally caught on to this conference TV package problem this morning, with stories about it in the Kansas City Star, Omaha World-Herald and Topeka Capital-Journal. That only took two or three days, but what can you expect, these people are competing with 24-hour cable news channels and trying to get the latest American Idol information, they have more important things to worry about.

Anyway, it seems that while TBS created a football coverage problem, the conference office vastly improved the basketball coverage issues. We now have three guaranteed game slots on ESPN for basketball games this year, which is more than any other conference. That will be huge for national exposure. Think about how many good games there were in the conference last season, and a lot of them weren't shown at all or only regionally. So congrats, Kevin Weiberg, I will give you credit for working out a pretty good basketball deal for us.

Now, on to the football issue. The World-Herald mentions ESPN and the NFL Network as possible replacements for the five or six Saturday night games TBS would have shown. I can't believe ESPN is much of an option. They already show a ton of games from other conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big East, etc.). The World-Herald mentions ESPN might have openings for Saturday night games, but I'll believe that when I see it.

As for the NFL Network...not no, but hell no. At this point, only being able to get the NFL Network would be a disaster for this conference. It has next-to-zero presence on cable carriers across the nation, including very little in Big 12 country. I don't know of a single place in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, or Texas that gets it on regular cable. Now, if there was some indication that NFLN was going to start broadcasting a lot of NFL and NCAA games, as well as get some decent programming the rest of the time and get itself on cable carriers across the nation (not asking much, am I?) then I could be convinced the Big 12 was getting in on the ground floor of something worthwhile.

One thing that's being mentioned everywhere, and simultaneously written off, is playing games on Thursday nights. Thursday night games are popular on ESPN, and I love watching them. It's always good to have a little college football during the week. But I'm torn on whether or not to have Thursday night games in the Big 12.

First of all, and this is purely my conjecture with no empirical backup, the Thursday night games seem to be more popular among schools located in larger metropolitan areas, or at least within easy reach of a nearby metropolitan area. There always seems to be a Big East game on Thursday night football, which makes sense considering the Big East has a lot of schools in or near major metro areas (Louisville, Rutgers, Pitt, Cincinnati, and WVU is close to Pittsburgh). This means the schools can draw good crowds from a relatively small area.

Contrast that with most of the Big 12. The only schools in the Big 12 located within large urban areas are Texas (Austin) and Oklahoma (Norman/OKC). Sure there are other schools within an hour or so of fairly large cities, including KU (KC), Nebraska (Omaha), Colorado (Denver), Iowa State (Des Moines), and Oklahoma State (OKC 65 miles, Tulsa 70 miles). These schools would probably be able to attract decent crowds to Thursday night game because of their nearby population base.

However, it would have a devastating effect on attendance at more rural Big 12 schools. At K-State, we've seen the difference in attendance between Wednesday and Saturday basketball games. The entire town of Manhattan wouldn't fill Snyder Stadium, and a lot of our fans drive in from KC and Wichita (among other, rural areas). It would be undesirable for the fans from KC and Wichita to rush from work to Manhattan, watch the game, and then get home late and have to be at work the next day. Plus, it destroys the gameday atmosphere, with tailgating beforehand and Aggieville afterwards. I can imagine the effect would be similar for colleges like Missouri, located in medium-sized towns and a couples hours from large metro areas.

All that, and then there's the issue of logistics, as mentioned by Nebraska chancellor Harvey Pearlman in the OWH article. At K-State, the parking wouldn't be too big of a deal because the football stadium is far enough away from campus and has (more or less) sufficient parking nearby not to burden campus too much. But at more landlocked (city) campuses like Nebraska and UT, I can imagine it would be a disaster.

Given all these factors, I'm hoping we can find a TV deal that is not the NFLN and will not require us to play games on Thursday to get exposure.


That's about it for that issue. It appears the football schedule for 2008 is set, so I'm sure I'll be taking a look at that sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, the Bat Cats travel to Lincoln, Neb., this weekend to take on the Huskers in a pivotal conference series. Nebraska has been playing a lot better lately despite its lost series last weekend to Texas, while our Cats have been unable to take two games when they've been in a position to do so.

At this point, the Wildcats stand only a game behind Texas Tech for seventh place, and 1.5 games behind Nebraska for sixth. On the other hand, they also are only 1.5 games ahead of Baylor for the eighth spot. Tech travels to Missouri this weekend, then finishes up with the two Oklahoma schools, certainly not an easy road. If we could take this series off Nebraska (a BIG if), we would almost certainly stand sixth in the conference after the weekend, and in great position to make the conference tournament and even a regional.

It looks like the pitching matchups will be as follows (thanks to

Game 1: Hutt (KSU), Watson (NU). Hutt better be on his game, Watson tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout last Friday to beat Texas. Yikes.
Game 2: TBA (KSU), Dorn (NU)
Game 3: Bayuk (KSU), Wertz

Of course all of this may be moot, as AJ has pronounced the Husker baseball team dead.

(Cow and Penis of the Plains images courtesy wikipedia)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday news digest

Not a lot of major news today, and I'm worn out after yesterday's diatribe on Kevin Weiberg and the joke that is the Big 12 conference office in Dallas. So with no further ado...

Congrats to new basketball coach Frank Martin on the birth of a new baby girl. Exciting time for coach Martin, between the new baby son and his first chance at a head coaching job.

Martin also has other things on his mind, some involving work. To absolutely nobody's surprise, Jason Bennett has asked for a release from his scholarship so he can transfer. This story says there's been no word on whether he'll be released. What?! Why the hell wouldn't we release him? He was a less-than-average freshman post player, whose coach left, who's homesick, and who apparently has pretty good family reasons to go home (sick family members). I see absolutely no reason why Tim Weiser and Martin won't release him, so his scholarship can be put to better use.

Finally, one of the men involved in last fall's unfortunate CatTracker bus incident in Lawrence has made a miraculous recovery and is looking to get back into his old career...sportswriting. It's amazing enough that Chris Orr lived through this accident, let alone that he's probably going to be able to resume a fairly normal life. Best of luck, Chris.

It's unfortunate things like this happen, but it would be more unfortunate if we didn't learn from it. Be safe on the roadways, folks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Big 12 (management) Sucks

Props to Husker Mike for bringing to light a really bad development for the Big 12 conference today. He had to go all the way to the San Antonio News-Express to find it. I didn't notice it in the KC Star, Omaha World-Herald, or Topeka Capital-Journal.

Anyway, the news is this: TBS won't be broadcasting Big 12 football games anymore. Yeah, that's right. Just when you thought the conference's TV deal couldn't get any worse, it did. We are now stuck entirely with FSN, and it would take me the better part of a year to run down all the problems with FSN being our only carrier. I'll hit the high points...

First, FSN is splintered into a bunch of regional networks (some even smaller). Here in Houston, I primarily get FSN Houston, which cares a whole helluva a lot more about the Rockets, Astros and Texans than it does about Big 12 football. Because FSN is so splintered, the conference often don't get national broadcasts of our conference's games because affiliates like FSN West Coast doesn't give a damn. That can destroy our TV exposure in important markets like California, Florida, and the East Coast.

Second, FSN does only a marginally good job of packaging and marketing its games. The graphics are average, the announcers are worse, and the reporters don't have the in-depth knowledge they should considering it's the one conference they always cover. Granted, it's better than Gary Thorne calling us "KU" during most of the UT game last year, but I'll even take Brent Mushmouth over the guys in the booth for FSN.

This is all just a part of what I've seen as a general decline in the overall quality of the Big 12 conference in the last 5 years or so. Think back to about 1998. We had six conference teams (K-State, NU, CU, MU, UT and A&M) who won 8 or more conference games (Texas Tech won 7). Nebraska was one year removed from a split national title. K-State came within one game (nay, one quarter) of playing for a national title. Two years hence, OU would actually win the title game. The point is, from the day the conference was formed until about 2002, there was always speculation that at least one team from the Big 12 would be in the national title picture in football.

Contrast that with where we are today. Even though UT won the national title only one year ago, the Big 12's legitimacy in football has fallen off the map compared to what it was. The only people who talk about Nebraska being in the national title picture now are...Nebraska fans. K-State is now happy to make a bowl game. Colorado has fallen off the face of the earth. The only teams who have any credibility right now are OU and UT. And even OU's credibility is a little lacking after their 2003 beatdown in Kansas City (and subsequent loss to LSU) and the 2004 implosion against USC. Every other program in the conference is at best a pretender, an also-ran in the top 25 (if even that high). Nobody honestly thinks Texas Tech or Missouri is going to win a national title.

We can discuss basketball in this, too. Between 2001 and 2004 (three NCAA tournaments), this conference put 5 teams in the Final Four. We haven't had a Final Four team since. Another nice stat to look at...

Big 12 national championships in basketball: 0

That's right. Since this conference was formed, it has won as many national titles in basketball as Nebraska has won NCAA tournament games in history. Zilch, nada, rien, nothing. That's pitiful for a power conference.

I could go on. Outside of Oklahoma State, Big 12 golf is a joke. Baseball? Well, until they actually make it fair for teams north of Arkansas, I guess that doesn't really count, but how many Big 12 teams do we see each year playing in Omaha? None last year. Like golf, outside of UT, Big 12 baseball is a joke (yeah, I know Nebraska, you went to the CWS a couple times, but you really didn't do much). I guess I'll give some respect to Baylor's women's basketball for keeping the conference relevant in that sport (K-State might have been able to do so as well, if we had a real coach, but that's another rant for another day).

So what does this all come down to? Does it mean our schools generally are only average at sports and always will be? I'm not buying that. If a school like K-State can take the worst football program in college football history and turn it into a legitimate contender, at least for a little while, the other schools in the conference can be competitive. Our schools have the money and facilities to be competitive. So what's the problem here?

Kevin Weiberg.

This man has been the Big 12 commissioner for nine of the conference's 11 years of existence. He is to be blamed for a lot of the problems today (as well as praised for some of the successes along the way).

Why on earth do I have to watch K-State vs. Nebraska on pay-per-view when I can watch Indiana vs. Northwestern on ESPN2 all day long? How did a 17-13 K-State basketball team not go to the NIT two years ago? How in HELL did K-State get left out of the NCAA tournament this year, behind teams like Arkansas? (These are just K-State grievances)

It seems to me Weiberg is much more concerned with making sure he doesn't irritate people at the NCAA than promoting his conference. He doesn't want to rock the boat and suggest (demand) there should be a Big 12 representative on the NCAA selection committee. And I don't buy the argument that conference reps don't have any pull on who gets into the field. That's bullshit. The fact that they're there means they can suggest or mention or in a million ways implicitly recognize their conference's teams, or at least keep them in the discussion. Plus, think about a time when you've had to turn someone down for something. Was it easier to do it by telling them face-to-face, or would you have preferred to make the decision and let the other party find out through channels?

Maybe more importantly, why in the hell hasn't he fought for a better media deal for the conference, especially in football? When Tim Weiser came to K-State as athletic director, he immediately upgraded the school's radio package, bringing better coverage and more money for the department. Tell me what the problem is, Kevin. Why can't we get a better television deal? Is it because the TV stations don't want to show games in small markets? I thought that was half the reason we brought these freakin' Texas teams into the conference. We now have schools in markets such as Houston (#10), Dallas/Fort Worth (#7), San Antonio (#37), Denver (#18), Kansas City (#31) and Oklahoma City (#45). It can't be because we didn't have the teams that would attract ratings when the conference began, as I noted previously. So is it just because you're really fucking lazy and just don't want to get it done, or is there an actual, legitimate reason?

Just curious.

(Ship image courtesy Google images, Weiberg photo courtesy Big 12 Sports Web site)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rough day in Hutch

All the good feelings from yesterday's strong showing at the Big 12 championships disappeared like a fart in a Kansas windstorm today for the K-State men's golf team. The best the team could manage today was Kyle Yonke's 75, which led to a disastrous 311 team score and a ninth-place finish. Yuck. At least the Cats salvaged bragging rights (by one whole shot) over the team from that school down the Kaw.

The weather reports indicate it wasn't a very enjoyable day for golf in Hutchinson, as the players were pulled off the course a little after noon because of lightning in the area. Apparently the delay only lasted about 25 minutes, but if the radar is any indication, it was a pretty soggy afternoon at the Dunes. For complete results, check out Golfstat's leaderboard. The board may indicate Oklahoma State won yet another team title, but I'll agree with OSU's Coach McGraw in his statement that Prairie Dunes was the real winner. Ouch.

Dear God it's a boring time in K-Stateland right now. You know there's not much going on when the Manhattan Mercury hasn't updated the K-State sports section of its Web site in two days. I guess that's better than having to talk about athletes getting arrested for bar fights in Aggieville, but it sure does make for a boring blog space.

To help with the boredom, send me a message if you have any particular question or topic you'd like me to write about.

In non-athletic K-State news, band director Frank Tracz has been named one of the nation's top 10 music educators. An award well-received in my opinion, as I've known people who've worked with Dr. Tracz at K-State and elsewhere, and from all accounts to me he's a good guy and teacher. He directed the Nebraska high school all-state band in 2004, where my dad recalled him bragging about our win over Mizzou in Bill Snyder's last game by saying, "Well, they threw an interception to our linebacker who runs the 40 in about 4.7 days." Just the fact that he was able to interact for three days with a bunch of Nebraska high school students (yeah, I'm making fun of myself there, because that was me at one point) should be enough to earn him an award.

Have a great Wednesday. I hope there will be more news to report on tomorrow.

(Prairie Dunes photo courtesy

Monday, April 23, 2007

Random Monday news clips

Another day, another multiple-homicide/suicide here in Houston. That makes two since Friday, in case you're keeping track.

Sad to say, that's the biggest news today. Some people really need to get a hobby.

In K-State related news, what little there is, Coach Ron Prince thinks we looked pretty good in the spring game. Well, maybe not pretty good, but a passing grade anyway. My only question to that is, how could you tell? We changed defenses, the offenses had one day to work together, and the teams were only arguably even. Why don't we just admit that spring game's are only intended to quench the fans' offseason appetite for football? It's all about getting a little entertainment and a little cash flow (which goes to the library fund, if I remember correctly). Nothing wrong with that at all, if I had been in town I would have been all about the baseball game, some tailgating, and whiling away a few hours at Snyder Stadium. But there's not much of a baseline from which to measure the players, and there's no way you can project performance beginning in four months from a game against your own teammates.

A quick update from Hutchinson, where the Big 12 conference men's golf tournament is being played. After first round action, the Links Cats are tied for fifth with Baylor. The team shot a respectable 304 on the difficult Prairie Dunes layout, leaving them 19 shots behind Texas A&M. Individually, Joe Ida led the Cat's way with a four-over 74, five shots behind Texas A&M's Robert Gates. I'd report what place the players were in after round one, but it's a little difficult to do so because the second round is underway right now.

Interestingly, Nebraska has the tournament leader right now (Brady Schnell), but is last place in the team race. Also, as I typed this, the Cats have moved up to a tie for fourth with Texas Tech. A top-half finish would be a great effort by Coach Norris' guys. To keep up with live standings, check out Golfstat's leaderboard.

A quick correction from yesterday. K-State triple jumper Marianne Schlachter won the triple jump at the Kansas Relays this weekend. Impressively, she's not far from qualifying for the European Nationals. To learn more, click here.

Mark Buehrle vs. Gil Meche tonight in Kansas City. Does it get any better than that?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The week in review, 4/22

Another Purple-White game is in the books, and as usual people on both sides of it are making way too much out of a scrimmage.

As all of you know, I'm not quite as high on Josh Freeman as the more optimistic K-State fans. I think he's tremendously talented, but has a lot of work to do to realize all that talent. Last night was another indication of that. He was an unimpressive 9-22 for 44 yards and 2 interceptions. Now before anyone gets too despondent, remember a few things. The game was played with a running clock, meaning it was a lot "shorter" than a real game. Freeman wasn't playing with the entire first-team offense against the second-team defense like most team's quarterbacks do in the spring game. He was playing with an assortment of offensive players, including the backup running backs (John McCardle and Jeremy James) and a shorthanded offensive line (the best linemen, overall, were on the White squad). Let's also not forget that the White defense had Rob Jackson, Ian Campbell, Steven Cline, Marcus Watts, Josh Moore, Bryan Baldwin, Marcus Perry and Reggie Walker. Those 8 will probably be starters this fall for a defense that was 5th in the conference in pass defense last year.

We have a long way to go in a lot of respects this year, but I was encouraged by the rushing gains made by the White squad (although they certainly came against the weaker defensive squad). I can also admit I was wrong, when I wrote earlier this week that the draft system for picking teams usually produces a more exciting game. It did last year, but the 19-0 snoozefest this year didn't live up to the past. It won't be the last time you see me make a wrong prediction here.

Leave it to Husker fans to take something as inconsequential as a spring game and turn it into a life-changing event. Now, no doubt, Josh Freeman didn't look so great last night (apparently, I obviously wasn't there). He threw for 44 yards and two interceptions. But seriously, Husker fans, how fucking dumb do you think we are? Do you really think Ron Prince went back to his office after this practice tonight and said to himself, "Man, Josh just doesn't have what it takes. I'm gonna chuck all that throwing potential he has and move him to tight end because he's a big dude." You people claim you know football like the patterns on your cow, but then you make a statement that dumb? If Bill Callahan is as dumb as your fans who think that, then the rest of the North really doesn't have anything to worry about.

Also, to go back to all your recruiting shit-talk, let's not forget that stars don't determine a player's or program's ultimate fate. If they did, Texas, USC, Ohio State and Florida would never lose. What's that, you say? We would have never beaten Texas if Colt McCoy hadn't been hurt early? First of all, let me talk to you about telling me where I'm going to be in 20 years, because you're obviously Miss Cleo when it comes to predicting the future. Second, Texas has turned down more 5-star athletes than you get in a decade. With a roster as loaded as that, they should have been able to somehow find a way to beat a bunch of farm kids from Kansas. Good God, I'd almost forgotten how little there was to do up there until I saw some of the stuff about our (yeah, ours, not yours) spring game tonight.

As further proof that you Husker fans have nothing better to do, I offer the following statistics.

Spring game attendance:
Texas: 42,500
Texas A&M: 24,200
Oklahoma: 21,000
Nebraska: 54,300

Ok. Austin, Texas, is bigger than Lincoln and Omaha combined, and is one hour from San Antonio, 2.5 hours from Houston, and 3 hours from Dallas. The College Station/Bryan area is about 190,000, and only 90 minutes from Houston. Norman is basically a suburb of Oklahoma City, which is just a little bigger than Omaha. I'll leave that information for you to draw your own inferences from.


This is getting agonizing. Just like the series against Missouri, the Bat Cats won Friday night, 10-6, giving themselves two shots at taking a big series and thus a big step toward their postseason goals. Alas, Brad Hill's Boys got routed 20-9 and 12-4 over the weekend. An inability to keep the Sooners from big innings killed the Cats on the weekend en route to another series loss. This was a series we really needed to get, but it's time to move on from that.

Here are the latest conference standings...

1. Texas 14-4 (Beat Nebraska, 2-1)
2. Oklahoma State 10-5 (Beat Texas A&M, 2-1)
3. Missouri 9-6 (Beat Baylor, 2-1)
4. Texas A&M 9-8 (Lost to OK State, 1-2)
5. Nebraska 8-10 (Lost to Texas, 1-2)
6. Texas Tech 7-10 (Beat KU, 2-1)
7. Oklahoma 7-8 (Beat K-State, 2-1)
8. K-State 6-9 (Lost to Oklahoma, 1-2)
9. Baylor 7-11 (Lost to Missouri, 1-2)
10. KU 6-12 (Lost to Tech, 1-2)

As you can see, no sweeps. OU's win over us today gave it the edge on us for seventh place, and leaves us only a half game ahead of Baylor for the last spot in Oklahoma City. All of a sudden the closing stretch doesn't look so rosy, as the Wildcats travel to Lincoln next weekend to take on an improved Nebraska squad with a lot to play for. All of the closing series are huge, but it looks like the goal of playing in Oklahoma City could come down to the final weekend, when the team travels to Waco to take on Baylor. As I see it, we absolutely must win the series with KU, take at least one game off Nebraska and A&M, and then see what happens in Waco. The good news is Baylor still has the same tough series as we face, traveling to Nebraska and facing A&M.

Women's Golf

The women's golf team weathered the hell that is Waco, Texas, to finish 7th at the conference golf tournament last week. A rough second day prevented the Wildcats from achieving a higher finish, as the ladies could only manage a 321 team score on Tuesday. A few more good bounces could have made a big difference, as the Cats finished a mere 4 shots behind fourth-place Nebraska. The team will have some work to do next year, as they will have to replace seniors Katy Heffel and Helene Robert.

Men's Golf

No action this week as the men prepared to travel to Hutchinson for the Big 12 Championship at storied Prairie Dunes. The last few years have been a busy time at the Dunes, as the course has hosted the US Women's Open, US Senior Open, and the Big 12 men's tournament twice. At least it looks like they'll have decent weather in Hutchinson, for the first two days anyway. Good luck guys.

Track and Field

The track teams traveled to Lawrence for the Kansas Relays over the weekend. No individual champions at the competitive meet, click here to view results.

Dost mine eyes deceive me? The Royals won a series over the division-leading Twins? I'll be damned. Have a great week.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Busy time (but not news-wise)

Sorry for the lack of an update yesterday. Schoolwork is keeping me busy, and there wasn't really anything much to write about. I suppose I could give you a breakdown of the rosters for the spring game tomorrow, but that would be about as informative as it would be boring (and pointless).

I guess I will take this opportunity to get something off my chest. Usually I like to keep the message board stuff off here, because it's well taken care of on its own. However, this week marked a sad anniversary in Big 8/12 sports history, as April 16th marked the 11th year since former Nebraska QB (and a native of Goodland, Kan.) died in a plane crash.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm a full supporter of heckling other programs and their players, as long as it's witty and creative and not mean-spirited. That's part of what makes college sports so great, because fans actually care enough to come up with stinging cheers for other players. For examples of what I consider funny, see Missouri's Antlers circa the Billy Tubbs incident(when they ran out on the court in jogging suits and one guy with a cardboard car ran them over). For examples of what I don't find funny, see Missouri's Antlers pretty much ever since. There's a fine line to be toed between good taste and outright cheap shots.

The inhabitants of a certain K-State Internet message board (I won't dignify it by linking it) have pole-vaulted over that line of decency by making light of Berringer's death in a most distasteful way. If you happen to be one of them, do us all a favor: go to the nearest grocery store/pharmacy, buy a large bottle of ibuprofen, and go home and take every single pill in the bottle (note: don't actually do this).

Going to K-State football games is one of my favorite activities. However, it's always marred by one or two people in my area who are loud, foul-mouthed (and it's hard to offend me) and just generally despicable human beings. It's the same at other schools that I've been to (and a fairly high concentration of them in Lawrence on a certain September evening a few years ago...). We've seen bad things like this before, including the "Sal is dead, go big red" cheer at Nebraska during the Colorado game in the early 90s. Unfortunately, our assholes decided to make themselves known to the world on the Internet recently. They are not representative of K-State fans as a whole.

At least we can yell "get a room!" to the clingy girls who commit PDA with their boyfriends all game long.


In order to toughen up the players for this year's football season, Coach Prince had the football players go through a morning workout with the soldiers at Fort Riley in January. I'm not going to be so ridiculous as to claim this is going to get us another win or two next fall, but I do like Prince's ability to think outside the box and use his available resources (a large military base 20 miles away) to give the players a change from the monotony of workouts. Also, here's hoping the coaches don't have to post any more locker-room notices of Fort Riley soldiers who won't return from Iraq alive.


Have a great weekend everyone. Good luck to the Royals as they take on the division-leading Twins at the K this weekend, as well as the Bat Cats as they are host to the Dirt-Burglars this weekend. We need a series win in that one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All set for the fake football game

The Purple and White rosters are now set for K-State's annual spring game. Josh Freeman was the number one pick. But should he have been? You can make the argument he is the team's number one pick, because when he played well later in the year (the Iowa State, Colorado and Texas, not to mention the Oklahoma State games), we won. When the offensive line gives him time to make good decisions, he can make all the throws, which in turn loosens up the defense for the running game.

All that said, I can't say I wouldn't have taken Marcus Watts, Ian Campbell or Rob Jackson first. Especially Watts and Campbell, who do a lot to change the game on defense. Of course, offensive coordinator James Franklin had the first pick, which might explain why he chose Freeman.

On a related note, I like the idea of holding a 'draft' to decide the teams. The spring game I went to while Bill Snyder was still coaching was 1s vs. 2s, which was about as boring as it gets. No matter how good your second-stringers are, they aren't as good as your first-stringers by definition. No better example than Nebraska's spring game last weekend, where the first-stringers won 38-0. Spring games are boring enough as it is without being blowouts, at least having the teams a little more evenly matched gives fans a little more value for their $5 (or whatever a donation to the library costs these days).

I also like the draft because, by making the teams more equal, it gives the players a better experience by making at least some of the 1s face off against their first-string counterparts on the other side of the ball. It has to help to face off with someone who will more closely resemble the players you'll see in the fall in a simulated game situation.

For those of you who will be watching the spring game, enjoy, but don't take it to seriously. I'm sure at some point, Freeman will make a beautiful throw or two and maybe James Johnson or Leon Patton will break some nice runs, but it's still spring ball. My only goal for the spring game one gets injured.


Breaking news!!! Royals win!!! The first of many losing streaks this summer is over, and KC has improved to a whopping 4-11. I can't wait to go to some Royals games this summer, and I think they will be improved over last year, but this is still an organization that has a long way to go.

On the bright side, KC's $55 million-dollar man has been well worth his $11 million per year salary thus far. Gil Meche started and went 8 innings today and only gave up three runs. If the Royals could ever get the bats and arms going at the same time, they might win a series or two. It doesn't get any easier with the Twins and the White Sox coming to the K for the next two series.


For all Houstonians who read this, and all of you who want a little comedy about the Space City, check this out.


On a concluding note, if Fred Phelps really does go to Virginia to protest at the funerals of those killed at Virginia Tech, I hope he and his inbred family drive their van off the side of a mountain.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Random coaching rant

Two weeks ago, CBS Sportsline writer Tom Dienhart ranked the football coaches in the Big 12. His conclusion? Ron Prince is the second-worst coach in the Big 12, ahead only of Gene Chizik, who has yet to coach a game at Iowa State.

I'm not here to claim Ron Prince should be considered among the top coaches in the conference. He's only coached one year, has no prior head coaching experience, and was the coordinator of a very average offense at Virginia. But to look at some of the coaches he's behind, you have to scratch your head at the criteria used.

First of all, how is Dan Hawkins (#7 on the list) ahead of anybody? He was a fairly successful coach at Boise State, but we saw this year that Boise State didn't lose much without him. Yeah, I know he walked into a disaster at Colorado, but did less than nothing with it. Sorry, but a 2-10 season with a loss to a D-IAA team should not be grounds for any sort of decent ranking. Dienhart defends this ranking by saying Hawkins is a "zen-master." Wow, great support for your argument.

Now, on to Dennis Franchione (#6 on the list). I watched a few A&M games (one in person) last year, and this guy is not that great of a coach. He is a whopping 25-23 at A&M, including a 4-8 season his first year (2003) and a 5-6 record in 2005.

Further, this guy makes some horrible coaching decisions. We'll get into Prince's poor decisions later, but his coaching at the end of the OU game (the one I attended) was pitiful. He had the biggest running back in the conference, and he didn't use him on short yardage, and went for a field goal inside the red zone, down 4, with very little time left in the 4th quarter, and a defense that was gassed from OU pounding the rock all game long. Sack up and go for the touchdown, at least it's more honorable to go down swinging. His team also imploded late against Nebraska, at home.

I'm not going to make the argument that Prince is better than Mark Mangino at KU yet, not after the debacle in Lawrence last year. But how in the hell is Mangino ranked #5 in the conference. Did Dienhart even look at Mangino's record? He's 25-35 in his time at KU. He's had one winning season. One .500 season. I'll grant you he's an improvement over Terry Allen, but that's kind of like being a little better looking than Roseanne. He is not a top half coach in this conference.

Like I said, Prince has made more than his share of mistakes. The fake punt against Texas...bad call. Losing a lot of assistants after one year? Not a good sign (not the end of the world, either). He's a first-year coach, he's going to make mistakes.

But here's how I look at it. Here we have a first-year coach, who walked into a program that had finished below .500 and last in the North the prior two years. He finished with a winning season and took us back to a bowl for the first time since 2003. Tell me how your first year coach did in 2004, Nebraska? That worked out pretty well. What about Colorado this year (2-10)? Or KU in 2002 (2-10)? Texas A&M in 2003 (4-8)? Missouri in 2001 (4-7)? Oklahoma State in 2005 (4-7)? I won't bother to mention Iowa State and Baylor because they had sucked for a long time when their current coaches took over. The only current Big 12 coaches who did better in their first year than Prince are Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. Mike Leach did as well as Prince (7-6).

I'll take what's happened so far as a sign things are looking up. What's that? We're recruiting a bunch of players with average rankings by Rivals? First of all, recruiting rankings are a bunch of wild projections about 17 year olds by people who don't have much faith in the system. Second, K-State has never landed highly ranked recruits. Terrence Newman? Two-star recruit out of Salina. Darren Sproles? Nobody wanted him because he was too small. Bill Snyder won by getting decent players who were willing to work hard and then unleashed his amazing corps of assistant coaches on them. It remains to be seen if Prince and his staff can improve players like Snyder did, but it will certainly be their key to success in Manhattan.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why does this happen?

I'm sure there's some sports news going on somewhere, but I flat-out don't care today. By now I'm sure you've all heard what's going on in Blacksburg, Va. Unfortunately, you'll all remember this day, where you were, what you were doing, who you talked to. The worst shooting in United States history. Let me repeat that: the worst shooting EVER in United States history.

I suppose I'm denying a reality that we all just have to deal with, but I've been disappointed by how some of this has been handled. On the one hand, I'm impressed by the outpouring of support on the Internet and elsewhere for those affected by this. On the other hand, some people can't just leave well enough alone.

Let me take this opportunity to express my condolences to the families involved. I won't pretent I can imagine what it's like to deal with something like this, because I can't. But I hope everyone knows the country, including the Purple Nation is behind them.

Now, to my gripe about this. I know we have a fascination with getting the most up-to-date information as soon as possible, but I'm disappointed in my media brethren (I was a communications major). I understand there's a discrepancy in the timeline, and the university didn't lock down the campus, and we don't know if there was one shooter or two, and on and on and on. This is NOT the time to deal with those questions. This is a time to get the basic information, and wait a while before we start digging into the how and why of something like this. Look, maybe after the first shooting in the dorm, the whole campus should have been locked down for the entire day. However, I doubt anybody feels worse about the decision than the university president and the police, and I'm sure if it's justified, they'll get their just comeuppance in due course. I was particularly disappointed in listening to the news conference and the flippant questions asked by that jackass from some nearby university.

I was also disappointed by the initial reaction from President Bush, released through a spokesperson. He said he "believes there is a right to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed." Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against gun ownership. Hell, I live in Texas. Let's just say I find the timing a little poor to make a statement concerning the right to own guns when someone with guns just killed 33 people (at least). I had the same feeling two years ago when Katrina leveled New Orleans and the Democrats immdiately criticized Bush's response. Let's make sure we take care of everything vitally important to helping the victims before we start assessing blame and making political statements.

Anyway, that's my $0.00 on the situation.

Oh and by the way, the Bat Cats lost, 9-6 in Stillwater today.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The week in review, 4/15

Quite the week in Manhattan. Here are the highlights...


More awful Great Plains weather messed with the schedule for the Wildcats-Cowboys series in Stillwater. The two teams didn't get to begin play until today's twinbill, and the series will finish up tomorrow. I'm not sure why they didn't play Saturday, as I checked the weather in Stillwater and the rain had cleared out, unless there was so much water the field was unplayable.

Anyway, the Cats had a pretty successful day today. Okie State came in at second place in the conference, but the Bat Cats managed a split today, outhitting the Pokes 28-18 for the day. So at this point we have accomplished the baseline goal for this weekend (not getting swept) and could make a huge stride toward postseason play with a win tomorrow to take the series. Here are the current conference standings (all other series have been completed).

1. Texas 12-3
2. Oklahoma State 7-4
3. Missouri 7-5
4. Texas A&M 8-6
5. Nebraska 7-8
6. K-State 5-6
7. Oklahoma 5-7
8. Baylor 6-9
9. Texas Tech 5-9
10. KU 5-10

The big winner this week was obviously Nebraska, who took two off Oklahoma to move up to fifth place. The big loser was Texas Tech, who was swept by UT. With a win tomorrow, we would move ahead of the Huskers into solo fifth place with six series to go. At this point, I really like our position, because we have played most of the top teams in the conference already. We have remaining series with Oklahoma (in Manhattan), Nebraska (in Lincoln), KU (1 home, two away), Texas A&M (in Manhattan) and Baylor (in Waco). We realistically should be able to win three of those series (OU, KU, BU) and could potentially steal one more from either A&M or NU. If we do manage to pick up three series wins, we're (almost) certainly in Oklahoma City and would likely be invited to an NCAA regional. Way to play, Bat Cats, keep it up.

Men's Golf

The Links Cats ran into some hard times in the desert, finishing dead last at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. Granted, there was some stiff competition with some of the best programs in the Pac 10 and Big 12 competing. Bobby Streb played two good rounds, but a 78 in the second round kept him out of a better finish (he was T-50th).

The team will return to Kansas for next week's conference tournament, held at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson. That will almost certainly be the end of the Cats' competitive season because an NCAA regional invitational is not in the cards for this year's squad. Here's hoping the young guys on this team put their time to good use this summer and make some strides so we can have a little more pride on the course next year.

Women's Golf

No action last week for the women, who begin play tomorrow in Waco, Texas, at the conference championship held at Ridgewood Country Club. My apologies, ladies, nobody should be forced to endure three days in Waco, which has to be the earthly manifestation of the devil's asshole.

Track & Field

The tracksters split the weekend between the UTEP Invitational in another beautiful Texas town (El Paso) and the John Jacobs Invitational in Norman, Okla.

No event champions in El Paso, but Morgan Bonds took home the crown in the Jacobs Invite 800 meter run.

Next week, K-State travels to the heart of enemy territory for the 80th running of the Kansas Relays. I never made it to Lawrence for this event while I was in school, but I would highly recommend a meet like this to anyone who has the time. You'll get to see a lot of really good athletes competing on a big stage, and there will be several big names from USA track and field. For more information, click here.

One event I can personally vouch for will be the Track Cats' action in two weeks, when they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the historic Drake Relays. The highlight this year will be Alan Webb running the mile, but this meet is an absolute must for track fans. Great stadium, great atmosphere, great athletes, and an event that is REALLY well run. They always finish on time or ahead of time here, there's no dithering around up there. For more information, click here.

That's the week's news in the sports programs, but that was hardly the end of the week's events.

A couple sad stories to report. First, my thoughts go out to newly arrived offensive lineman Alesana Alesana (whom I mentioned earlier) on the death of his fiancee. Despite the overwhelming likelihood of an early death, Alesana proposed to her while she was in the hospital. A heart transplant made things look better for a while, but her body rejected it and she died last week. That has to be an awfully difficult thing for someone so far from home to go through, and Alesana will be absent from next week's spring game for the funeral and to be with his and her family. Take all the time you want, big guy, football will always be waiting for you when you get back. I hope they do something nice at the spring game to let him know the Purple Nation is behind him on this one.

In other sad news, former defensive lineman John Stucky (K-State 1968-69) died last week at the all-too-young age of 59. He had been sick for a while with an unspecified illness. At least he didn't play on the worst teams in K-State history...


In case the horse wasn't fully bludgeoned to an unrecognizable pulp, the Topeka Capital-Journal had another piece about Frank Martin's alleged/proved travails at Miami Senior High. I don't care to comment on it anymore, but the article can be read here.


In other news, the rest of the college football world has decided to forfeit the 2007-08 season and declare Nebraska the national champs after the Huskers 38-0 win over...themselves.

Oh yeah, and if you didn't see it, here is some sweet video of backup QB Joe Ganz and his teammates doing their end zone dance after a touchdown. Move over, Chad Johnson...


Longtime Kansas City Chief Will Shields has announced he will retire. Best of luck to ya, Will, may you be blessed with better post-retirement health than most NFL players.

Fortunately, the Royals were rained out today in Baltimore. It prevented them from enduring another loss to a crappy team, and falling another half game back in the AL Central.

More exciting news to come this week...

Friday, April 13, 2007

In the interest of fairness...

I hope this will be my last post about Frank Martin until we actually have something regarding K-State basketball to talk about. But given new information out today, I need to add to my comments in order to be fair.

Now we hear, thanks to the Manhattan Mercury (much improved Web site, by the way) that Frank Martin was never personally implicated by FHSAA authorities in the scandal at MSH. This information comes from the authority of the school principal at MSH, Victor Lopez, at the time Martin was fired.

Basically, it sounds like Martin was the fall guy. Even the FHSAA admitted in the story no evidence implicated Martin, and "Martin's name appears nowhere on the final report."

Kansas City sports radio personality Soren Petro had Dan Wetzel on his show yesterday. Wetzel is a sports reporter for Yahoo, and is the actual co-author of Sole Influence, a book chronicling corruption in youth sports. I found Wetzel's take on the matter to be particularly intersting, and you can listen to the full interview here.

Here are my thoughts, many of them similar to Wetzel's. Every hire of an assistant coach or unknown head coaching commodity is a risk. Heck, every hire period is a risk. You never know what a coach is going to do. Even seeming straight shooters can get into trouble. Wetzel chronicles the problems encountered by Quin Snyder at Mizzou and Roy Williams at KU (particularly the recruitment of JaRon Rush). Those former assistants came from Duke and UNC, respectively, and thus were considered straight shooters because they'd been trained by Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith.

The point is, nobody has any idea how this is going to turn out. Martin has a lot of questions. Maybe he's as crooked as a hockey player's nose and will leave K-State sports a smoking ruin. Then again, maybe he really didn't intend wrongdoing at MSH and would never break a single NCAA rule. Maybe he will be the next great coach, or maybe he knows X's and O's like I do (well, I'm sure he knows more than me). I'm done talking about it, I'll wait til the returns are in.


So, Husker fans. I hear your spring game will be broadcast on the NFL Network. I'm sure that all of you are only mildly excited about that, considering I heard what a shame it was the Texas Bowl was on that channel because nobody gets it.

Further, I hear Bill Callahan will be in the announcer's booth doing commentary for the game. I'm sure all of you are as red as Lil Red's hat because of your comments last year about how stupid it was that Ron Prince would be in the radio booth for K-State's spring game. We accept your apology, considering you now realize Prince was a pioneer in this field and beat your program to the punch.

Are you people really expecting 60,000+ for your spring game? Is there really nothing better to do than go watch a fake football game? Oh wait, I know the answer to that, I lived there.


Big baseball weekend for the Bat Cats in Stillwater. Look for a full recap here on Sunday night.

The Royals need to stop this annoying habit of losing close games.

Roy Oswalt (aka "the man") takes the mound for the Astros tonight. God I love baseball.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More about Martin

Today's KC Star has a special piece by longtime Miami journalist and author Robert Andrew Powell (books include "We Own This Game" and "Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed and the Corruption of America's Youth"). ***[EDIT: Powell is not the author of sole influence, his reporting about Martin at MSH was the basis for the chapter about Martin in the book. Sorry.]*** It runs through the multitude of problems surrounding Frank Martin's tenure at Miami Senior High School. Essentially, here are the highlights...

* Martin and the Stingarees won state championships in 1996, '97 and '98.

* The state high school sports governing association investigated the program and found Martin had recruited multiple players (including stars like Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake) from outside his school's district. The players claimed to live with people inside the district when, in fact, they didn't.

* The school was fined and/or forced to pay a total of $7,500 and had to forfeit its 1998 state title.

* Martin was fired.

That's bad. I don't care how you want to spin that. Martin and his program flagrantly violated the FHSAA's rules. Even though I think the rules are stupid (Nebraska has open enrollment in high school, which essentially allows kids to go to school wherever they want), the rules are there to be followed.

Ok, big deal you say, Martin was never personally implicated, as Powell later mentions. It was just his program. The point is, it was his program. Sure, Mark Mangino wasn't personally implicated in KU's academic fraud case, but the point is it's HIS program. The blame falls on the guy at the top, as it should. A responsible coach needs to know what is going on within his program. We don't know what level of involvement Martin had with setting up the situation. Maybe it was all his assistants and he had no personal responsibility. Maybe he personally took care of all of it. I don't know, and you don't know.

Does all this concern me? Maybe, a little bit. We've hired a guy who got caught cheating in the past. Here's why I'm NOT that worried. This was almost 10 years ago, in Miami. Martin has been a college assistant in the interim, and he's never been accused of any wrongdoing. He's been at K-State for a year, and has recruited several of our incoming players, and there's no indication he did any of it illegally. Since the problems at MSH, he's had two children. People can change, and I'm willing to give him a chance.

Further, I've met and talked with Tim Weiser. I haven't personally talked with Jon Wefald, but I spent four years on campus. He has his hands in everything. We know that from Weiser's first attempt to fire Jim Wooldridge. I highly doubt these two will stand aside and allow somebody to get the entire athletic department and university into trouble. We saw that last year, when Weiser announced we wouldn't continue to recruit Tyree Evans. It did appear later Evans came back into the mix, but there was never any indication that it was anything other than Evans saying he wanted to play for Bob Huggins. We'll probably never really know the truth. Given the lack of public comment from Weiser, I think he was probably uneasy about recruiting Evans, but he wanted to avoid a public standoff with his basketball coach. Also, Evans pled guilty to lesser charges, so Weiser's uneasiness may have subsided.

Others think "[t]his will be a disaster." Thanks nostradomus. I'll be sure to email Tim Weiser and Jon Wefald soon and let them know we made a huge mistake, so they can check with all of you first when we have to hire a new coach and defend against numerous NCAA infractions. Don't want to fuckin' hear it, Jayhawk fans. One of our two programs is on probation right now, remind me which one it is? Yeah, thought so. Wait your turn, you people are more impatient than a seven year old with ADD. If we do end up on probation because of this, I'll sit here and take my hits from y'all. Til then, shut the fuck up and get your football coach an anti-theft system for his car.


In other news, let's hope the door doesn't hit Jason Bennett in the ass on his way out. He says he's "looking at his options." However, when he later says "I just don't want to play here" I think everyone can join me in saying 'good riddance.' If you don't want to be at our school, then good luck and happy trails. I was excited when we landed Bennett last year; I mean, who wouldn't be? We had a highly rated 7-footer coming to play for us. When I first saw him I realized he'd be a bit of a project, but he made absolutely no progress throughout the season. Best of luck JB.

Also, Martin announced strength coach Scott Greenwalt has been retained for next year. That's good news, as it appeared to me our players had added a lot of strength and endurance last year as compared to previous seasons.


A belated congrats to K-State students Brad Lutz and Ella Todd for winning Udall Scholarships this year. Since 1986 (the beginning of the Wefald era), K-State is first in the nation among public universities in combined number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater and Udall scholarships, and is sixth when all public and private universities are included.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The travails of Don Imus

I thought maybe I'd avoid this subject, but it just won't die and there isn't really anything better to talk about. Unless you've been living in Montana for the last week or so, you've probably heard that radio host Don Imus is in hot water with prominent black leaders for comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team. In relevant portion, Imus called the RU players "nappy headed hos" and "rough girls." Of course, it didn't take long for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to jump on the case and call for Imus' firing.

We're used to that type of response from Jackson and Sharpton. However, around these parts we're also used to Jason Whitlock jumping into situations to fan the flames, but he actually took a different road this morning in the KC Star. Basically he took a few cheap shots at Imus (calling him "washed up" and a "hack") and saying what he said wasn't very nice, but his ultimate point is that Jackson and Sharpton are fighting the wrong battles. I agree, Jackson and Sharpton would rather sit around and wait until someone offends them and then jump on that than actually fix other problems on their own.

I also heard an interesting stat on the radio today (although I don't have any indpendent verification for it). The DJ said 80% of hip-hop albums are bought by white consumers. The point was that because of this, hip-hop records are the portrayal whites get of "black culture."

From all this, I take away a few points. First of all, hip-hop and rap records don't paint an accurate picture of black culture, but there are plenty of people who think they do. Sure there are some black people who are covered in tattoos, drug dealers, violent, and deadbeat dads. There are also plenty of white people who share these exact same characteristics. This portrayal does a disservice to hardworking black people, because they get painted as either "not black" or "acting white." It's a shame that getting an education is considered "acting white" these days. I know plenty of black people who are completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

So on to point number two. What Imus said was idiotic and insulting. But if he was black, what he said probably wouldn't have been taken as an insult, especially if he was a black rapper. Let's observe a random sampling of some popular rap songs these days.

"Doin' a hundred while I puff on the blunt, and rollin' another one up, we livin' like we ain't givin' a fuck." Chamillionaire, "Ridin'"

"Catch me on the block, every other day another bitch another drop." MIMS, "This is why I'm hot"

And of course, in case anybody forgot:
"You's a ho (ho!)" Ludacris, "Ho"

So if a black rapper calls a woman a bitch or a ho, it's all good, but if a dumbass white shock jock does, it's not? Look, I'm not saying Don Imus should have said what he did, but where's the outrage at the lyrics of rappers who say the same damn thing? Oh yeah, just like Whitlock said, there's not way for Jackson and Sharpton to win that fight.

If Jackson and Sharpton want to get mad about this and organize their minions to protest what Imus said, that's fine with me. But it's ultimately Imus' boss's call if he should be fired or not. And if you really are that offended by something, I have some advice for you...change the damn radio dial. We still support free speech here (I think), and last time I checked we only have about 500 radio stations to choose from.


The Sherron Collins Internet rumor has been put to rest. The only player beak fans still need to worry about is Brandon Rush. I have a hunch he may come back (grudgingly) because this is going to be a pretty deep draft. Of course, if he comes back he has to go to class for at least another semester, which doesn't seem to be his favorite thing (he doesn't like balancing "basketball, girls, practice and tutoring.").

Go Royals.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring football update

What a slow Tuesday. You know it's slow when I read quotes from a press conference in order to find something to write about.

Reading coach-speak during spring football and trying to figure anything out about your team's chances during the fall is about as worthless as a promise of loyalty from a college coach these days. I suspect even the head coach of Louisiana-Lafayette claims his team's prospects are looking up during spring practice.

I can only cull a few discernable improvements from K-State's spring practice thus far. It appears Alesana Alesana (yeah, that's his real name) has been a nice addition on the offensive line this spring. We can certainly use the help after the injury bug bit the OL hard and often last year, and has continued on this spring with Brad Rooker and Nick Stringer missing time. If the OL comes together this spring and on into fall camp, we may be able to put up 150 yards total offense on Auburn's defense in the season opener. Sorry, but I'm not at all optimistic about that opening road trip.

In other news, it appears the Lynch Mob will be switching to a base 3-4 set. That's not exactly breaking news, I know. I'm not sure how I feel about this, as I'm not exactly an X's and O's expert in football. There has also been talk of moving last year's Big 12 tackles-for-loss leader and the Houston Chronicle's defensive player of the year, Ian Campbell, from defensive end to outside linebacker. Now granted Campbell is a little undersized for DE at 6'5" and 232 lbs., but it seems changing something that worked so well is a big risk. I'll be the first to admit that I'm wrong if I am, but I'd rather have Campbell on the OL wreaking havoc in the opponent's backfield than learning a new position where he may be less effective.

In other news, it has been reported that redshirt freshman Carson Coffman may push sophomore Josh Freeman for the starting position. Umm, yeah, and I'll probably be elected governor of Texas. I hope Coffman is a serviceable backup, but we better do everything in our power to protect Freeman.

All right, that's enough of that. I better move on to other topics before I fall asleep.


The college basketball coaching carousel is starting to slow down a little bit. Both Arkansas and Texas A&M have named head coaches, which ends what little speculation there was (outside of Lincoln) that Doc Sadler might be chosen to fill either of those positions. A&M today introduced Mark Turgeon as its new head coach. Good call by the Aggies, as Turgeon is probably the lowest-risk coach who was reasonably available to the Aggies. He's a tireless worker and fearless (went on the road early this year to George Mason, LSU, Syracuse and Wyoming). He has the benefit of returning three starters. Now, if he can convince the top recruit in Texas, DeAndre Jones, to honor his commitment to the Aggies, he could have the Aggies back near the top of the conference standings next season.


An Internet rumor is now circulating that KU guard Sherron Collins may transfer from KU to DePaul. Of course, an Internet rumor is worth about as much as a cold bucket of piss, but it would be quite a blow if the beaks lost Julian Wright, Brandon Rush and Collins.

I sure hope tomorrow is more exciting.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The week in review, 4/9

And what a week it was. I'll start with the current sports news, and move on to the "other" stuff...


Tough series for the Bat Cats in horrible weather this weekend. The series was supposed to start Thursday to avoid the Easter holiday, but bad weather forced it back to a regular weekend series. The Cats opened strong with a 12-0 win Friday, but were buzzed by Missouri ace Rick Zagone's one-hitter Saturday.

Sunday brought heartache as the Cats tried to take their second straight conference series, but failed when a two-out, two-strike triple by Mizzou's Brock Bond tied the game and an extra-inning homer by Trevor Coleman ended the game in the 12th.

Let's be honest. Even at home, it was likely No. 29 Missouri was going to take the series off us. The win on Friday was a huge boost, now we need to hope the tough losses the next two days don't kill that momentum. Taking a win off Missouri is a decent weekend, and it puts us in position to achieve our primary goal of making it to Oklahoma City. Here are the current conference standings...

1. Texas 9-3 (Beat KU, 2-1)
2. Oklahoma State 6-3 (Lost to NU, 1-2)
2. Missouri 6-3 (Beat K-State, 2-1)
4. Texas A&M 6-5 (Beat TTU, 2-1)
5. Texas Tech 5-6 (Lost to aTm, 1-2)
6. K-State 4-5 (Lost to MU, 1-2)
7. Oklahoma 4-5 (Lost to BU, 1-2)
8. Nebraska 5-7 (Beat OSU, 2-1)
9. Baylor 4-8 (Beat OU, 2-1)
10. Kansas 4-8 (Lost to UT, 1-2)

As you can see, K-State is 1.5 games ahead of Baylor and KU for the 8th spot, which ensures a berth in the conference tournament. A tough weekend awaits the Cats as they attempt to hold their position as they travel to Stillwater for a tango with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys dropped a series to struggling Nebraska in Lincoln this weekend, which may indicate vulnerability. A series win is probably out of reach, but we need to at least ensure we don't get swept.

Oh yeah, and in midweek action, the Cats dropped KU in a "non-conference" matchup, 10-6. Tomorrow they will be host to the Creighton Bluejays, who dropped their weekend series to Wichita State.

Men's Golf

The men's golf team finished in a three-way tie for 5th place with Northeastern State and Nebraska at the Shocker Classic in Wichita. Individually, golfer Bobby Streb finished in second place with a seven-over-par 220.

The Cats stood second after Monday's double round, but imploded with a team score of 318 on a windy second day, dropping them into their final position. Again, outside of Wichita State, the Cats did not face a lot of strong competition in this meet, but that will change this weekend as K-State travels to the desert to for the ASU Thunderbird Invitational.

Women's Golf

The ladies started off solidly yesterday in Norman, tieing for 5th after two rounds of the Susie Maxwell Invitational. The women only have a realistic chance of catching fourth-place Tulsa, as they trail third-place SMU by 13 shots, but they lead fellow Big 12 programs KU, OU and Texas Tech. The final round is probably concluding as I type this, but scores are not yet available.

Track and Field

The tracksters got to compete on a big stage this weekend in Eugene, Ore., as they competed at Hayward Field. And compete they did, winning seven events in finishing 2nd (women) and 3rd (men). Event champs included...

Beverly Ramos (3,000 meter steeplechase, new school record time)
Marianne Schlachter (Triple jump)
Lindsay Grigoriev (Discus)
Kaylene Wagner (High jump)
Morgan Bonds (800 meters)

Scott Sellers (Triple jump)
Kyle Lancaster (High jump)

The Cats will split up this weekend as they compete in both the Oklahoma Invitational in Norman and the UTEP Invitational in El Paso.

OK, the current events are updated, now on to other news.

Some final thoughts on the Bob Huggins saga...

We've had a few days to think about the situation we dealt with last week. I'm just going to say this; Bob Huggins must really love West Virginia (and Morgantown) to leave a #1 recruiting class and a team that would have been in the running to win a conference title next year, not to mention a good chance to make a Sweet 16. WVU is certainly no slouch of a program, but they're not in the same position we're in as far as competing in our conference. Anyway, we really need to get over this whole situation and move on.

That brings me to the next situation...the hiring of Frank Martin and retention of Dalonte Hill. Those outside the program are taking their chances to laugh at us right now, but what's being said right now is nothing but conjecture. We hired a guy with no head coaching experience. Big deal, so did KU when it hired Roy Williams. The point is, none of us have any idea how this is going to turn out, not even fatass Jason Whitlock (way to cite sources for your claim that Huggins conned Weiser, Jason. Been a while since j-school, huh?). Martin might be the next great coach, or he might be a total bust. I'm not that worried about the lack of head coaching experience, because our other alternative would have been to hire a head coach from a mid-major program, which is no guarantee of success. We've seen promising head coaches flame out in the Big 12 before, most notably Barry Collier at Nebraska.

Martin is no bigger risk than anyone else we would have hired, and by hiring him and retaining Hill, we likely have kept our recruiting class intact. That will be a big help to the new coaches as they experience the inevitable growing pains of learning the day-to-day operations of a BCS-conference program. If we would have lost the recruiting class, we would have been left with David Hoskins, Clent Stewart, Blake Young and probably Bill Walker. Not to mention there's a decent chance Jason Bennett or Luis Colon might have left, leaving us with some decent talent but a dangerously thin bench and no post players (not that we really had one with Bennett and Colon anyway, but they should be improved next year). If we can keep the momentum of this last year going with a high conference finish and an NCAA appearance, we have a great chance at a good recruiting class for 2008-09.

Some say Martin is a huge risk because of some problems he encountered at Miami High, where he was the coach of a state championship team that was fined and forced to forfeit its championship in 1998. Martin was also apparently fired over the incident. Others have written that Martin was the victim in the whole situation and is a principled guy who would never cheat. What's the truth? Who knows, but I'm guessing it's somewhere in the middle.

Now on to those who claim we're doing this becuase we're all about winning (*cough* Joe Posnanski *cough*). Of course we're all about winning. That's what college sports is all about these days. Any delusions we had that it's about kids going to school and getting their degrees went out the window about 15 years ago when it started to become routine for players to jump to the NBA early. No coach is ever going to stand in the way of kids going to class, but it's no shame to encourage a kid to go down the best path for him, and if that's the NBA, so be it. College sports is about winning and big money these days, so get off your high horse about us being a bunch of sellouts. Iowa State had Larry Eustachy and Wayne Morgan, Mizzou had Quin Snyder, KU had Mark Mangino (and the history Roy-boy left you), Colorado had Bill McCartney and Gary Barnett, and Nebraska had its litany of off-field trouble during Osborne's latter years. And that's just to mention the Big 12 North programs who have gotten in trouble. So get the fuck over yourselves and deal with the fact that we have some major talent coming in next year.

Finally, even if it turns out Martin isn't the man for us, we will probably still be in decent shape. Former Wildcat player Tim Jankovich just signed on as the head coach at Illinois State, meaning he will get some head coaching experience, which would put him in good position to return to his alma mater if we ever need him. I'd love to have a K-State guy on our sidelines because it he'd be less likely to leave for another program, but I'm not as worried about Martin, considering his alma mater is Florida International.


Surprising news from "Harvard" on the Kaw (that's KU to you non-Kansans) as sophomore forward Julian Wright announced today he's leaving for the NBA draft. Wright had stated at least three times previously that he intended to stay next year and get his degree before leaving.

This should be worrisome news for the beaks, as they now face the possibility they could lose 2/5ths of their starting lineup, as there's still a good chance Brandon Rush will turn pro as well. Gee KU fans, you were told one thing by one of your own and then he changed his mind and ditched you. Don't you feel betrayed?


In other Big 12 news, it looks like Texas A&M will hire Wichita State head coach Mark Turgeon to replace Billy Gillispie. Pretty good hire for the Aggies, in my opinion, as Turgeon has made steady improvements in the Shockers' program without ever bringing in high-level talent. He has a system that works and proved he can coach in the tournament, taking the Shockers to the Sweet 16 two years ago.

Here's a link to some video of Martin's press conference today in Manhattan (right side of the page).

Friday, April 6, 2007

That didn't take long

It's still been less than 24 hours since official word came down that Bob Huggins was turning his back on K-State to go to West Virginia, and we already have a replacement coach. and the KC Star are reporting assistant coach Frank Martin is being promoted to the head coaching position. Perhaps more importantly, it appears Dalonte Hill is staying put in Manhattan. For those who don't remember, Hill is the coach who was hired away from Charlotte because he was the man who recruited Michael Beasley.

Obviously, this appears to be a calculated risk on AD Tim Weiser's part. We're hiring a 40 year old, lifetime assistant to take the reigns of a major conference program. We're also dancing with them what brung us by hiring one of Huggins' guys to replace the man who walked out on us after one year. See Jason Whitlock's column in the KC Star for an assesment of the merits of that risk.

I'm not saying I agree with Whitlock, but it looks like we're gambling that Martin is ready to be a head coach at a major program in order to hold together the #1 recruiting class in the nation. If we can manage to get Beasley, Pullen and Sutton on campus for next year, as well as keep Bill Walker in Manhattan (I doubt he's going anywhere), we will have as much talent as anyone next year. The question is, can Martin coach? Does he have a system? Is he ready to handle the day-to-day operations of a major college program? I would like to see him hire an old coaching hand as his director of basketball operations or a special adviser to help get him started. The good news is, I highly doubt Martin would be tempted to leave K-State for his alma mater (Florida International).

I'm ready to give him a shot. I'm a K-State basketball fan, not a (name of coach here) fan. K-State basketball existed long before Bob Huggins was born, and it will continue long after he's dead. Let's get those recruits in town, pack Bramlage, and bring on the Cats.


At least we could find a silver lining in our misery, and had a day or two to get ready for it. Today, Texas A&M fans awoke to the news their head coach, Billy Gillispie, had bolted College Station for Lexington, Kentucky, to take over at UK.

To me, this is quite the egotistical move on Gillispie's part. He got to make A&M lick his boots and promise the world to keep him in College Station, then he left them high and dry by not signing his new contract and and bolting for Kentucky. As I mentioned before, I don't know why the hell anybody would want to coach Kentucky basketball. Ok, so you have 24,000 screaming fans at every home game, all the money in the world, and a ton of tradition. You also have a whole bunch of Kentuckians whose lives hang on how succesful your team is every year, and just winning SEC championships isn't enough. Now that conference rival Florida has upstaged the Wildcats, the hunger is probably twice as strong to "get back to where they belong." I would never want to coach at a place where two or three conference titles every five years and a Final Four every five years isn't good enough. What a bunch of delusional fans.

Best of luck Billy Clyde. For what you're about to put up with, I hope sexual liberties with Ashley Judd is part of your contract.


Thanks to all the new readers I apparently have. I had triple the hits yesterday of any previous day. I won't have a weekly update posted Sunday night, but I'll try for sure to have one up by Monday night. Cheer on those Bat Cats in the crappy Great Plains weather against Mizzou tonight.

(Picture courtesy

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Huggieville is no more

Fox Sports is now reporting Bob Huggins has agreed in principle to become the new head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Ok, so that's not quite Huggins himself saying "I'm the new head coach at WVU" but I doubt he's going to have a press conference in Morgantown to announce he's staying at K-State.

First of all, a big salute to the internet West Virginia fans for handling this with class. That's probably not a big surprise considering they just had to deal with their own coach leaving last week, and know what it feels like. To my fellow K-State fans who read this (all 5 of you), I beg you...please do not go to the WVU message boards and act like a jackass. If you personally know 'Eer fans, don't be a jerk about this to them. This is not the fault of WVU fans. It's really not anybody's fault. This is big business...err, college athletics. It's also about going home. We all knew Huggins would have a hard time saying no to WVU if they came calling.

I feel worst for Bill Walker in this situation. He has wanted to play for Bob Huggins since 7th or 8th grade. Busted his butt to graduate high school early and get to college this year, instead of next year. Has now had to fight through a knee injury, and if he still wants to play for his chosen coach, he's going to have to transfer and sit out a year. If he transfers, he'll just be starting his college career by the time he figured on starting his NBA career. You can't please everybody in making your career decisions, but this is a particularly egregious case of stepping on others.

Now on to the rest of you (and given my hatred of generalizations, this doesn't pertain to every person in the following categories, but you get the idea)...

Fuck you Husker fans. Fuck you Jayhawk fans. If you want to kick us while we're down, fine, go for it. We'll bounce back. We've been there before. Remember Sirr Parker? Remember a motel room incident in Tempe? Remember Pervis fucking Pasco? We've already been through all that hell already. Losing a really good basketball coach isn't going to kill us. We're not gone forever. In fact, this is better than the Pasco Fiasco. At least now, we're getting really high expectations shot down, rather than dealing with just hoping to be a little better than mediocre.

For all you Husker fans throwing this at us, let's think back about 3 years. Seems to me you all dealt with a similar situation, except your AD manufactured your own little version of hell by firing a relatively succesful coach. About 200 coaching interviews later, Steve Pederson emerged with his first-choice candidate (insert rolling eyes). While you're thinking about all those good times, don't forget 5-6, the end of a 30+ year bowl streak, the nightmare in Lubbock, the split in your once proud fanbase, and the fact that the earth will crash into the sun before you're better than K-State in basketball. On top of that, go to the West Virginia message board to see what the rest of the nation thinks of you.

For all you Jayhawk fans laughing at us, let's think back about about 4 years, and a Sportscenter shot of Roy Williams leaving Lawrence in a maroon Town Car. Sure, you didn't want him, if he didn't want you. He wasn't that great of a coach anyway. He was a choker. He couldn't get the most out of his talent. He was tied to Dean Smith's apron strings. Bullshit. He ran your school. He castrated your former athletic director (and allowed boosters to pay former players). He could tell your WHOLE FUCKING STUDENT SECTION to shut up if he so desired. He was your king, and you were his fellators, if he so desired. Also, don't forget about Terry Allen, 11 years in a row, 64-0, lack of institutional control, aKademic fraUd, and first-round tournament losses to mid-majors.

In sum, thanks for the abbreviated memories, coach Huggins. I enjoyed having you as our coach. Good luck with the rest of your career, and good luck to West Virginia. I can't really say I'll be cheering for you, but I certainly don't wish you ill.

Thank God the Masters is on today. Now I have all that hatred out of my system and can go home and enjoy the tournament.