Big 12 notebook: Snyder's influence key for Kansas St.
Kansas State is ranked No. 2 in the BCS this week behind Alabama and positioned to play for its first national championship, provided the Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 in Big 12) finish the regular season unbeaten.
Texas coach Mack Brown recalls when coach Bill Snyder guided Kansas State to consecutive 11-win seasons from 1997-2000.
“He's done the best job of anybody in the country this year,” said Brown, who along with Snyder are the deans of Big 12 coaches. “I've been saying since he left Iowa to come to Kansas State, he's been the best coach in America.”
Snyder gave Kansas State national credibility when he suddenly “retired” following the 2005 season. Three years later, however, Snyder resumed control of what had become a struggling program and has returned Kansas State to national relevance.
“He built a program that traditionally couldn't win into a program that has a chance to win all of its games this year and be as good as anybody in the country.” Brown said of Snyder, whom he considers a friend.
“When he was there before, they were really good. He left, they weren't as good. Now he's back, and they're good again.”
Oklahoma State won the first conference title in school history last season. But when the Cowboys didn't play for the national championship after being upset by Iowa State, winning the Big 12 title appeared to lose some of its significance.
“I think there's some truth to that,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who's become better known for his 64-32 career record than for his infamous meltdown with a reporter in 2007.
“I talked to our team about how important it would be to be the outright champion. We recognized it, but I don't know if people outside recognize it because there's so much more buildup for a bigger picture in college football.”
Asked about successful college quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton running their same offenses in the NFL, Kansas first-year coach Charlie Weis said he's against the idea.
“Those guys on the defensive side of the ball, the more times that they get a free hit on the quarterback that's legal, the more they're going to take,” said Weis, an NFL assistant for 16 years including five years as New England's offensive coordinator, as well as Notre Dame's coach from 2005-09. “With all the money invested in the NFL at quarterback, you can only expose your quarterback so much. You get them knocked out, not only is the guy sitting on injured reserve one of your highest-paid players, you have no one to replace him with.''
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.