Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder looks on as his team faced Baylor Bears at the stadium bearing his name.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two teams aiming to make the best of rebuilding seasons, Kansas State and West Virginia collide Saturday with the winner moving into position for the modest reward of a lower-tier bowl bid.

After back-to-back losses to unbeaten Top 25 teams, West Virginia (3-4, 1-3) remains three wins shy of becoming bowl-eligible. CBS Sports analysts Jerry Palm doesn’t like the Mountaineers’ chances and forecasts the Big 12 won’t be able to fill its seven bowl tie-ins.  Even though Kansas State (2-4, 0-3) won’t even able to apply a win over an FCS team—recall the opening-night loss to North Dakota state—Palm projects the Wildcats earning a Texas Bowl invite as the Big 12’s No. 6 team team opposite Indiana.

ESPN’s pair of Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards are split on K-State reaching the Texas Bowl, while both have West Virginia failing to qualify.

Bill Bender of The Sporting News foresees WVU in the Texas Bowl against Northwestern, with K-State staying home. USA Today doesn’t currently project either team making the postseason.

“A bowl game is important, but a fourth win is more important,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, whose team would have been in prime bowl position had it been able to hold an 11-point second-half lead against Texas Tech last Saturday.

“We have not gotten to the point where we need to talk about the motivation to win. I think the motivation to win is there.”

Holgorsen’s first WVU team went 5-1 away from home, a record that has plummeted to 2-6 the last two seasons. Yes, life in the Big 12 is more challenging, but West Virginia rightfully rejoiced over the chance to join the league and Holgorsen’s staff had better show more promising results before the minority of fans screaming for a change swells into a majority.

There’s no such disfavor among K-State fans, who realize what a treasure they have in Bill Snyder. Heck, the school recently unveiled a statue of the man, who turned 74 this month and turned around the Wildcats’ fortunes upon becoming head coach in 1989.

Snyder already retired on his own accord once, and no doubt will be able to do so a second time whenever the mood strikes. After his team won the Big 12 title last season and ascended to the No. 1 ranking, he signed a contract extension through 2017.

“I have always looked up to Coach Snyder, because he doesn’t have the best situation at Kansas State in regards to recruiting, but he continues to win,” said West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett. “As a coach’s kid, I’ve had so much respect for him. The stadium is already named after him, and he is still there, so he is everything to that school.”

Two K-State assistants made intriguing comments this week regarding Snyder’s extended success at program that was previously among the losingest in Division I.

“What we get out of practice every day is more than what other programs get out of their practices,” said running game coordinator Dana Dimel, currently in his second stint coaching under Snyder.

Added defensive line coach Mo Latimore: “I think other programs baby their kids more, while we demand more out of our kids. … Our guys know that we truly care about them going out and making it in the world. I think our players understand that, and in turn are willing to work harder than most guys.”

Snyder has gone 268-172-1 in 22 seasons at K-State, a tenure that begin with little promise. His first squad floundered at 1-10 and the Wildcats didn’t go bowling until Snyder’s fifth season.

Is there a lesson in administrative patience to be learned there? Perhaps one that could apply to Holgorsen during a disappointing stretch at WVU?

Perhaps, but the setups are different. Holgorsen took over at a school that had averaged nine wins the previous nine seasons. Snyder was tasked with fixing a program that won nine games combined the previous six seasons.

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  • Fan on the river

    I always get on here and hope to find remotely intelligent comments like most of the sites that cover WVU football. Nope- I'm always greeted by the likes of bring back rich rod, Ollie lucks an idiot, and fair weather fans. Regardless of win/loss this is the best position our football program (not to mention baseball w-volleyball and soccer) has ever been in. Basketball I'll admit could be argued as a sidestep from the BE leftovers. If you wanted us to continue beating uconn and temple's asses in a no name conference just so we can say we won a few extra games- do us all a favor and go be a Marshall fan. I'll be cheering for my Mounties in one of the best conferences around playing the likes of Texas and OU week in and week out.

  • lulu


  • lulu

    I meant to say underclassmen.

  • lulu

    Where are all the underclassmen???? I wonder if the rumor is true that Bill Stewart left many scholarships unfilled. Why did we have to get Jr college transfers just to field a team?

  • JaneM

    A true statement The bowl Money goes for all sports and some sports don't even have enough money to pay any expenses and cost in college. Some women basketball games, swimming, baseball, volleyball, track. I could go on and on but that's what playing bowl games does and helps almost anytime they win six games they play a bowl game it is money has been always will be... One more thing tell me a young man playing college football who does not want to play in a bowl game... There isn't any they all want to play.... Every school makes money to operate..

  • Doug

    Good god Snyder hasn't won a game this year! Get rid of him now! Fire him right now!
    -William & Big Larry

  • Mountaineer fanatic

    WVU 28 K.St. 14


  • tony

    I am absolutely NOT one of the bashers on this site. what I need to say its probably not a good idea to give a team a bowl game that loses to Maryland 37-0 and gets 70+ put up on them at Baylor. I just don't feel like it would be right at all. its too bad football doesn't have the NIT like b ball does-this would be a good year to play more but do it low key. we would have to really change the ships course to convince anyone we should be in a bowl. this year we should vote no to a crap bowl if we are lucky enough to do so. the point of it is that die has been cast with the magnitude of those 2 losses. no one will take us seriously.

  • WVUBig12

    Kansas State is a 10 1/2 point favorite according to Vegas...

  • WVUBig12

    Hey coach are you going to blow this game too?

  • Dougie

    Why would someone think making a bowl is crazy talk? Our schedule was front loaded. We have 5 games left and none of them are ranked teams. We only have to win 3 to be eligible. It's a lock!!

  • John

    Nobody is getting the point here. The money from the bowl isn't important, it's all the "extra" time the players get to practice until the bowl. No bowl, NO practice after the last game!! Season OVER, PERIOD! Sorry, I've never read so many "dumb" comments in my life.

  • Doug Rykiel

    Make rich rod athletic director and head coach

    • Shadow

      With a new $70 million dollar facility and Sun year round, why would he go back to Morgantown?


    K-State does out work WVU under Dana's tenure and he needs to fix that, (lunch pail) WVU always had something to prove and I don't see that with this team. (Hold the rope).... sledge hammer.... pride in our State and schools, it's one thing to say it and it is another thing to show it on the field...I know we have a bunch of new players but we need to learn how to fight for one and another..... we are loosing the battle between win and loses...come on!!!!


  • Gunga Din

    Every team wants to go to a bowl game. From what I've observed, I'm not sure WVU has the requisite desire and willingness to put in the amount of work required to get there. I hope the Mounties can get to a bowl game -- the Bowl season loses its luster for me if the Mounties are not in the mix.