The 2011 Kansas State Wildcats football team definitely kept their fans on the edge of their seats in almost every game this past season en route to a 10-3 overall finish. The Wildcats had nine total games that were determined by a final margin of seven points or less with K-State being victorious in eight of those ball games.
Winning such contested and dramatic ballgames helped make the season special for the team and fans alike. Now the question becomes has Bill Snyder finally run out of magic in Manhattan or can he once again lead K-State to the top of the Big 12 standings in 2012.
There are many factors, some more realistic and some far-fetched, which can be speculated on regarding the ripple effects if K-State can once duplicate their success.
With the Big 12 losing perennial bowl teams like Missouri, Texas A&M and Nebraska the past few years combined the recent downhill slide of the Texas Longhorns, the league is needing someone to step up and fill the void. If K-State comes out of the gates strong and looks like a contender to Oklahoma, then the Wildcats could very well be in line for many top primetime television slots. Every player on the team as well as every school across the country wants to play on national television and this could be K-State’s best opportunity in a long time.
Falling in line with more television exposure is the potential effect it could have on recruiting. Even though Snyder says they will not alter their recruiting strategy it definitely could make a few more kids, especially transfers, take a look at what is going on in Manhattan.
The possible boon to recruiting from another strong season could also lead to some struggles down the road in Lawrence. Even though the State of Kansas does not produce a plethora of D1 talent on a yearly basis it is important for each of the two schools to try and keep the best the state has to offer. You can look back no further than 2007, when the Jayhawks had their best season ever they had standout Big 12 performers like Jake Sharp, Mike Rivera, Kerry Meier and Darrell Stuckey all hailing from the Sunflower State. If the Wildcats once again have a strong year in 2012 and easily handle KU on the field for a third straight season how might this affect recruiting of local high school players in the state?
While keeping the Kansas high school player is definitely important, perhaps just as important for K-State and KU is the acquisition of talent from the JuCo level. The Wildcats have long been known for finding solid players from the junior college level and another solid year in 2012 will no doubt involve strong play from some incoming JuCo recruits. This could only help KSU in their future junior college recruiting efforts overall but more specifically on a local level.
For example, recently Chaquil Reed, a junior college DT from Butler County CC, switched his commitment from KU over to K-State after visiting Manhattan. With the Jayhawks likely still in need of some quick impact players following the upcoming season, another strong year from Bill Snyder’s squad could make junior college recruiting that much more difficult for Charlie Weis.
Now one of the tougher implications to guess about if K-State once again finishes with double digit wins is how it affects Bill Snyder’s coaching future. It is no secret that Snyder isn’t the youngest of coaches and many wonder how long his second stint back at K-State will be. Could another strong year in 2012 be exactly what Snyder needs to stay jump-started and continue to lead the program for another five or so years?
Or is the opposite true and Snyder feels he has accomplished all he can and placed the program back to where he once again feels comfortable stepping down as head coach? While everyone knows the Kansas State job isn’t a destination position for most, two back to back double digit wins season should open up the possible coaching talent pool for athletic director John Currie.
No doubt this upcoming season the Wildcats will likely be playing the role of favorite more than they did in 2011 so it should be interesting to see how it plays out. The fact that schools like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor are having to replace superstars only helps bolster Wildcat fans hope of a possible Big 12 title in 2012.
If you missed the first story in the series, check out Romeo Crennel's first year as Chiefs's head coach. Coming up tomorrow: Checking in on Sporting KC's chances to repeat in 2012.