Everyone has that moment. That moment when you fall in love with someone or something. For K-State football, that moment for me was the 1995 Sunflower Showdown. I had just turned nine at the time, and my Grandpa, an alumnus of K-State when it was called Kansas State Agricultural College, decided he would take me to my first K-State football game. It was the biggest game of the Snyder era up to that point. KU, as crazy as it sounds now, was ranked sixth and K-State 14. K-State would go on to win 41-7, and from that moment I was hooked on K-State football. I loved it all, the pageantry, the fight song, and the purple.
K-State football was always there for me growing up. When I was having a tough time, I knew I always had K-State football to look forward to. I loved K-State football before I actually knew what the word meant, and so much of that is due to one man. That one man is Bill Snyder. Bill Snyder is K-State to so many of my generation, he is the reason we went to K-State. The reason we have life long friends from K-State, the reason we have those fun memories in Aggieville, and the reason a small land grant school in Kansas is known nationally. So what I’m about to write does not come easy and is written with a heavy heart.
I believe it is in Kansas State University’s best interest for Bill Snyder to retire. I came into this year cautiously optimistic about the Cats. Our defense was loaded and healthy, and the offense had some playmakers we so desperately lacked last year. Sadly after 4 games it looks like 6 or 7 wins and a mediocre bowl game are what we have to look forward to – which is fine. I don’t think winning 11 games a year like Snyder did in 6 of 7 years during the late 90s early 00s is realistic anymore. I do, however, believe that K-State once every 3 or 4 years should challenge for a conference championship. It saddens me to say I no longer believe Snyder can do this.
The West Virginia game on Saturday is the perfect example of why I believe Snyder no longer has the magic. That is just a game any well coached team doesn’t lose. There were so many frustrating things from the game on Saturday, but most of all it’s the offense. Snyder is an offensive coach at heart, and genius one at that. He once averaged 28 points a game in a season with Carson Coffman as the starting Quarterback. To watch K-State struggle to score 16 points on a bad West Virginia defense, I can’t help but think the magic is gone.
The issues run deeper than that though. Recruiting, the lifeblood of any top program, has dried up. Last year we signed the 9th best class in the Big 12, and currently Iowa State is wiping the floor with us in this year’s recruiting rankings. No offense to any Cyclone fans, but there should be no excuse for getting beat in recruiting by Iowa State. So that leads me to believe that this year’s team is the most talented team K-State will have in the near future under Snyder, and quite simply – this year’s team isn’t good.
I understand my fellow K-Staters’ hesitation when it comes to this subject. Snyder is all we have ever known, and is the only coach to bring us any success. So all I ask of my fellow K-Staters is to have some confidence and belief. We are no longer that school that Snyder took over 1989. We are a nationally known football program, with a state of the art stadium, in a booming college town. We absolutely can win big again with the right hire. We just need to have faith in ourselves. I think at the end of the day that is what Bill Snyder would want from us.