KSAL Staff - September 28, 2015 8:00 am
MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS
Kansas State’s football team travels to Stillwater this Saturday to play Oklahoma State. The Cowboys eked out a 30-27 win at improving Texas last week in a game that could have gone either way.
O-State QB Mason Rudolph (6-4, 220, So) had a bad day in Austin even though O-State won. Rudolph threw the ball perfectly in the first quarter and then struggled for the rest of the game. It appeared that Rudolph might have hurt his right hand because his passes just didn’t have much zip on them as the game progressed.
Regardless, the Cowboys won and moved their record to 4-0. K-State is 3-0 and coming off a bye week. The Wildcats are something of an enigma after their nonconference games. Their status won’t be a mystery after the Big 12 opener; O-State at home poses a daunting challenge.
K-State will need a sterling performance from QB Joe Hubener if they are going to win at Stillwater; he’s improved and can show he’s equal to the challenge.
The Wildcat receivers have shown steady progress and they need to support Hubener with some quality catches. When Coach Bill Snyder has some extra time to prepare for an opponent, you can expect some surprises in the offense. Nothing will be held back Saturday.
Kansas State’s defense has played well so far; if the defenders are able to keep O-State’s offense from exploding, the Wildcats have a good chance to pull an upset. Snyder’s team will propel themselves into the national rankings and the Big 12 race if they win their first big game of the season. In addition, they’ll make the early season prognosticators look mentally challenged.
With the Big 12 race in full swing this week, it’s impossible to predict which team will be the eventual winner. Oklahoma State and TCU were fortunate to win last week. West Virginia has been impressive and they play at Oklahoma this Saturday (Oct. 3). The league appears to be evenly matched with the exceptions of Kansas and Iowa State; the Jayhawks and Cyclones don’t match up with the rest of the league.
It doesn’t look like any of the top teams in the league are capable of going unbeaten in conference play; that will make it difficult for any Big 12 ballclub to make the national playoffs.
With the start of basketball practice just a few days away, Kansas University still doesn’t know whether or not their prized recruit, Cheick Diallo, is eligible to play this season.
The NCAA Eligibility Committee has been fooling around with this for several months now, and that’s an inexcusable affront to KU basketball and everyone associated with it. They did the same thing with center Cliff Alexander last season and never did make a public decision on that case.
The NCAA is one big committee and there’s nothing worse when it comes to getting something done. It’s not just Kansas; this type of foot-dragging inefficiency is common from the NCAA and many schools and youngsters have been unnecessarily affected. This ineptness is caused by stupidity and laziness and it’s unfair to all concerned.
As for the Jayhawks’ football situation—it couldn’t be much worse. What’s needed in the 2016 recruiting class is offensive and defensive linemen and a lot of them. KU’s OL and DL combined might well be the worst of any team in the nation. That’s not the fault of the new coaching staff; it’s what they inherited.
Most of the Kansas media are trying to rationalize the Kansas City Royals likelihood of returning to the World Series. The conventional wisdom is that the Royals faltered for the last month of the season because of their big lead in the American League West. That supposition is no longer relevant now that KC is the division champion and the playoffs are drawing near. The reality is that Kansas City has been playing poor baseball for quite some time.
KC’s starting pitching is the big worry and there’s little room for optimism before the playoffs. It looks like the starting four-man rotation for the playoffs will be Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura, Kris Medlen, and Edinson Volquez. None of that four has been consistently effective in the last six weeks; in fact, they have all been consistently ineffective.
Adding to the problems is the loss of ace closer Greg Holland. Wade Davis can handle the role of the closer, but the Royals’ bullpen was much more formidable when both Davis and Holland were available and pitching well.
Regardless of all that realistic pessimism, KC could catch fire like they did last season and make a sensational run in the playoffs. Those short series for all the marbles are much like the NCAA basketball tournament—the winner has to have a lot of things go their way.