Tom Keegan: Gap between KU and K-State narrowing in two sports

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. jumps over a teammate to gain more yards against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

Kansas has the better basketball program, Kansas State the superior football team. It’s been that way nearly every year for more than a quarter of a century.

At the moment though, it’s a tough call in both sports.

Kansas is No. 1 in the nation in basketball, but with so many new faces and such a young backcourt, it could be a while before the Jayhawks justify that forecast. Meanwhile, Kansas State, underrated nationally at No. 12, has every significant player back from its Elite Eight squad, including preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Dean Wade.

The playing field evened in football in the state with what happened over the weekend.

Kansas survived a crazy final seven seconds to prevail against TCU, 27-26, Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

No longer alone in the basement, KU is tied with K-State and TCU for eighth in the Big 12 with a 1-4 record, and has the same overall record (3-5) as the Wildcats.

In the aftermath of a 51-14 loss to Oklahoma, K-State coach Bill Snyder made remarks that left some wondering if the end of a remarkable coaching career is nearing.

“I’ll have to reinvest some time in trying to find out if the ship has ever been in this condition before,” Snyder said in the postgame press conference. “I’m not sure that it has. I can’t tell you that I’ve got the immediate answer. We’ll work at it. I know that.”

Tim Fitzgerald of gopowercat.com has covered all 27 of Snyder’s seasons (17 in the first run, 10 the second). Fitzgerald penned a column Sunday that appeared under the headline “The time has come.”

The sixth paragraph: “K-State looked much closer to the feeble program Snyder took over in 1989 than the one he built into a power that won a pair of Big 12 championships. The last one came in 2012, and six seasons later the slow erosion is obvious. Snyder’s castle is collapsing in decay.”

Strong words from a longtime supporter of the coach who, three weeks ago, celebrated his 79th birthday.

Heading into the season, this shaped up as a weak year for the Big 12, and that was with a better projection for Kansas State.

The conference pretty much has played out that way.

Suddenly, the first multiple-win season in Big 12 play for Kansas since 2008, also the same year KU defeated K-State, doesn’t feel so far-fetched.

On a trip to Manhattan for a Nov. 10 game, KU will try to end K-State’s nine-game winning streak in the series.

Two weeks out, picking a winner in that one is a whole lot tougher than in most seasons.

Comments

Dane Pratt

I think we have a better chance of beating KSU than ISU but if I had to put money on it I think the Wildcats prevail. It is in Manhattan and we haven't won a conference game on the road since the great depression.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Ashwin Rao

There is little to no chance that we will beat ISU... and I have a feeling that we will be competitive against KSU (if not victors!). Regardless of the outcomes, I hope that we make a change in the HC position after the end of the year. We shouldn't be "just" feeling good to be beating the worst teams in the league... we need to aim for something higher.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Edward Daub

KU has decided to Forfeit the Iowa State Game.

2 weeks ago

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Adam Bengtson

“than the one he built into a power that won a pair of Big 12 championships”

This is a hilarious like when it comes to the lack of hardware Bill Snyder has. I get the turn around of the program but this man Has only 2 Big 8/12 titles in 27 years. Not national championships or even played for one. Never won a BCS bowl game. And the famous 90s dynasty comment that gets floated around, Nebraska won 3 national titles in that time. In some weird way Snyder is overrated.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Jay Hawkinson

The KSU dynasty came a bit after Nebraska's championships. Snyder's peak was 1997-2000. I do think they were legitimately good in that stretch (they were an OT loss in the Big XII championship game away from playing for the national championship in 1998), but it's probably not a coincidence that it occurred after Osborne retired at Nebraska, Oklahoma was having one of the worst stretches in its history, Texas was in a similar position to where they are now, and KU was in the Terry Allen years. In hindsight maybe Snyder is more like the Scott Drew of football than then Nick Saban of the Big 12.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Bob Strawn

snyder 2003 team beat ou for the big 12 championship. his 2011 squad also won the title. his 1998 team was undefeated going into the championship game and was upset by aTm.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Chris Bailey

I understand being a fan and a Jayhawk it's sometimes hard to give credit where it's due to your instate rival. BIll Snyder has been a man of integrity and class. He has been a coach that turned the single-worst program in the country into a winner. They have been close to winning it all. To call him anything but is just a complete sign of disrespect. He has been nothing short of amazing. I'm not sure how you feel but I'm betting most KU fans would love to have had the record KSU sported over the last 25 years. The Hayden Fry coaching tree has many descendants including, but not limited to, Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops, Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema, Jim Leavitt, Dan McCarney, Bo Pelini, Kirk Ferentz, and the coaches who Snyder himself has catapulted into fame including Mangino, Phil Bennett, Carl Pelini, Rex Ryan, Mike and Bob Stoops, and Dana Dimel. There are more but you get the point. Either way I'd take the last 25 plus years of glory KSU has had any day over what we've experienced during the same time frame. Aside from Mangino's time we don't have much to celebrate. And calling Snyder anything but a class act is something I won't do no matter how much I dislike the Cats. I think he himself is one hellofa human being. Rock Chalk!

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Dane Pratt

And he stayed in Manhattan instead of leaving for a better job. He's not Nick Saban but I would take him in a hearbeat.

2 weeks ago

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Ray Winger

They named a football stadium after him: Is that enough 'Hardware'.

2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

If you cross off being the architect of the greatest reclamation project in the history of college football then an argument can be made that he is overrated. We are on year 9 and coach 3 on our rebuilding plan and we have not completed construction of the basement. I get your point but what he did was no small feat.

2 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

I said this on another article and will say it again. If the Hawks beat KSU, Beaty may keep his job, assuming we play well in the other games. 4 wins, including one over KSU would be big. If Long could land a coach like Miles, he would probably go for it. However, if we can keep Beaty another year, we could be in better shape to sign Doeren after the '19 season if the Hawks go backwards next year.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Sam Meyer

Assuming we beat the kitty cats and finish 4-8, its still difficult to justify keeping a coach with 7 total wins in 4 years and ONLY 1 COMMITTED INCOMING RECRUIT!!! The lack of a recruiting class alone should be enough to warrant moving on to a different coach.

2 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

I don't think 4 wins will be enough. He needs 5, which is really unfortunate to think Beaty's job would turn on his inability to get a win against Nichols St.

2 weeks ago

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Len Shaffer

Unfortunate but symbolic of his general ineptitude over the years.

2 weeks ago

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Andy Tweedy

I've learned from the last ten years of KU football that the moment we feel better about the state of things, something pulls the rug right out from under our feet! Until that doesn't happen again, I'm gonna continue to be skeptical...

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Rick Holmes

I don't think you can say either program (KSU Basketball, KU Football) is really pulling up close to it's rival until one beats it's rival consistently. K-State basketball is doing a Ted Owens right now, in that they had a recruiting class mature where they are mostly JRs and Srs. Next KU will likely be back in the Top 5 (unless the NCAA investigate uncovers more) and KSU will be Big XII middle of the pack. KU Football is looking better than they have for several years (which isn't saying much), but is looking to fire it's coach (if we believe the author of this article), which will at least in the short term make them take a step backward. Let's talk in couple years when we know whether these things are temporary or are actual trends.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Jonathan Allison

couldn't state it better

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Dane Pratt

Where are the Keegan Ratings for this week?

This W should keep us off the Bottom Ten list for the remainder of the season.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Eric Eakins

A few observations:
1. Per Snyder comment above I give him and KSU props. Maybe he hasn't taken them over the top but considering the talent he deals with every year he has done a great job being competitive and their team generally gets better as the year progresses. He also makes great in game adjustments. He took a dumpster fire and made it fun for the fan base. I would be happy with that right now.
2. Even if KU beats KSU I don't think Beaty is retained. His game management is not getting better. He almost single handed lost that game Saturday with one second on the clock. Per post game interviews TCU coach knew the rule and was upset his player didn't follow instructions because TCU could've won with a field goal. Beaty's response seemed like he didn't realize they could've down the ball off the kick and still have the second left. Long doesn't want to hitch his reputation to this.
3. How does Beaty save his job, winning 3 out of 4 and winning a bowl game. Not going to happen. That first game this year was typical of the last 4 years and sticks with us.
4. Long has been working all season on a replacement list and probably putting bugs in other ears. He probably has momentum he isn't willing to back off of now. Unless Suzi is right above and he has the perfect coach but one year out. I don't think that is the case though.
5. It will be nice to start stringing wins together and not have to mention in the celebration how we just broke some nasty losing streak of some kind.
6. Hopefully this win gets us removed from the ESPN bottom ten mention list for the rest of the year.
7. I do appreciate and thank Beaty for improving the talent and keeping the kids motivated. They haven't given up and we need wins for them and the fans. I do hope his next job is under the right coach who can mentor him into being a game coach if that is his aspiration.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Len Shaffer

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Eric! I'm finally not the only one to mention how terrible a call that squib kick was. I'm glad that SOMEONE else sees that as an example of why Beaty has to go.

You're spot on with the rest of your analysis as well.

2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

I thought the mistake was on Bender who could have but didn't run out the clock. I'm pretty sure those were the instructions given to him by Beaty.

2 weeks ago

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Eric Eakins

What I remember of the interview, Beaty did tell him to throw the ball high and far hoping that the time it took to hit the ground would run the clock out. Bender did as instructed but by Bender's own admission he threw it at the canopy (not intentionally) which stopped the clock sooner. It was a goofy situation that I don't really blame either person for. "..it" happens right. It's the next decision from Beaty on the squib kick that I question and especially his response to the interviewer after the game where he seemed surprise at the idea TCU could've downed it without time running off the clock. Fortunately TCU fielded a freshman who listens to instructions as well as my teenage son and it all worked out and we won. RCJH.

2 weeks ago

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Robert Brock

C’mon. K-State will flatten the Hawks in Manhattan. It’s what they do.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Dirk Medema

Didn't grampa retire the first time shortly after we beat them? It could happen again.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Dirk Medema

I'll take our chances at beating them in FB vs. the flip side.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Randy Bombardier

There is no way Beaty stays another year. We lose some awfully good players this year so next year will be a drop off and when you are already on the bottom what's the point of staying the course. Might I remind some of you of our dismal recruiting outlook. That tells the tale. Everyone knows this coach has no future here except for a few cheerleaders or agents.

2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Doug Merrill

Long has Beaty's successor list picked out, I have to believe.
Must believe...
Must believe...

You cannot overstate what Coach Snyder has accomplished: K State was on the cover of SI for being far and away the worst football program (not just team...program) in the U.S.
This year does not detract from all that he has done.

2 weeks ago

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