It's hard to ignore the job Les Miles has done at LSU this season, and if the Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks this week, that will make two top three teams he's beaten. Of course, it helps to have the No. 1 team in the nation, yet it's clear Miles has done a remarkable job in the SEC. Speaking of Arkansas, it's hard to ignore the job Bobby Petrino has done as well. Certainly, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Michigan's Brady Hoke also warrant consideration. But what about the job of Kansas State's Bill Snyder whose Wildcats sit at the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 this year.
It's amazing just how far the Wildcats have come. On the verge of their 10th win this season (against Iowa State), most media outlets and sportswriters picked K-State to finish somewhere north of Kansas and Iowa State near the basement of the Big 12. Instead, Collin Klein is earning early Heisman fever for next season and the Wildcats are near the Top 10 in the BCS rankings.
"Here's a vote for Kansas State's Bill Snyder for national Coach of the Year," writes Kirk Bohl. "He's taken a team picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 to a 9-2 record, on the brink of a BCS berth. You've got to love a 72-year-old coach who didn't want to sit still for a color head shot for a bowl program because he was too busy, and who still wears a 2002 Holiday Bowl jacket for road games. Said one bowl official, 'Mike Gundy (of Oklahoma State) wears something that was made last week. Bill's definitely old-school.'"
The thing about the aforementioned teams is that they were all expected to be good, save for Michigan. LSU was already a top-ranked team. Petrino's club was predictably loaded. Va Tech is good year in and year out. That's not a knock on any of those teams but rather a sign that it's not the remarkable turnaround that Snyder has provided at K-State.
At this rate, Kansas State will arrive at its first major bowl bid and possible double digit win season since 2003. That year was the last of several consecutive years that Snyder had this team performing among the best in the nation. Perhaps this team can rise again to become relevant in the national conversation on an annual basis. If so, it will be because Snyder might have pulled his best coaching job in a long, storied career.