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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  • Pruntytown

    What "talent on paper"? Who are the NFL prospects on this team? Even in the Big East teams like Rutgers and UCONN put more players into the NFL. There is not one senior on our team that will get drafted, Sims may be a free-agent at best. Only uneducated WVU fans believe we have talent.

    • tw eagle

      there are some "i'm special " players on the O side of the ball who should be difference makers if they'd start "working" instead of just showing up and preening for the crowd - expecting one run or catch to
      "make their day" - the game is 60 minutes
      and the aim is to WIN . . .I do have a little
      bit of knowledge on the D side . . .the two most talented players ( for their position)
      are Darryl Worley and KJ Dillon . . .they will be "lock down " corners next season . . .
      IF , they continue to work and improve both should go in the first 3 rounds of the nfl draft . . .Worley probably leaving early and maybe a first rounder . . .with the D-line beat up and short handed the LB's aren't
      as effective as they had been early . . .Joseph seems to be picking up Cook's bad habits .. . .the game on D is more than how many guys you can "blowup". . .biggest indicator is the early INT that hit Cook in the numbers . . .he was lining up a guy to hit , not paying any attention to the play unfolding in front of him. . .

  • wvajoker

    The Four Brayin' Jackasses and their ridiculous comments. They need to go back to the Green side.

  • Hoffy

    If there is any case for a "must win" ballgame, this is it.

  • Big Larry

    Not only are the predictions mine, but so isn't the song " take me home country roads".
    That stupid j. Denver stole it from me. He even changed the title! It's supposed to be "take me home country roads to Ma's house, where the meatloaf is cookin".
    Me and Ma and two others were in a band called 4 skin when we wrote it.
    Ma dropped out, so now were just 3 skin....

  • Born to be mild

    @ ole Sasquatch

    Hahahaha ha. Damn funny sir, damn funny indeed.

    • ole Sasquatch

      To: Born to be mild
      Thank ye
      Ole Sasquatch

  • steve

    This year is the final year for the Pinstripe bowl in the Big 12 lineup. It is reserved for the 7th tie-in which at this time it looks like the Big 12 won't be able to fill this year although its still possible. If WVU gets to 6 wins it looks likely they would go to the Texas Bowl and not the Pinstripe.

  • Jon

    Bring back Rich Rod!

    • Chuck

      Yea. Cause he is winning so much. Avg 6 wins over the last 5. That just pumps me up. Hell no to rich rod

      • Marcus

        Well said Chuck!!!

  • ole Sasquatch

    Can't go to a bowl game when coaches make a litany of weekly errors: Eg. Going for first down instead of field goals in the 1st Qtr.
    Special teams taught to run kick-offs out of the end zone.
    Sending bad plays into Trickett. If I was him at the end of the last game, I would have taken both hands and throwed the ball straight over my head as high as I could and let out a scream like a girl: WHEEEEEEEE!!!!

  • Alex

    I was thinking, I have seen where the Big 10 & the Acc will be going to the Pinstripe bowl... If not this year next year for sure...

  • William

    This is why NCAA football is a joke when it comes to BOWL GAMES -
    It's only about the money and nothing to do with being a good team.

    • Rock Solid

      Are you as dumb as your blogs? Have we not suffered enough? I pray we don't go to a bowl. We don't have a chance to do anything except embarrass ourselves more. Don't take a horrible season and extend it to New York in January. Been there, done that!

    • Jason

      100% NCAA football and basketball and ALL Pro Sports is about the $$...bottom line...period...make no mistake..that is exactly why WVU is in the Big XII..they will more than likely tread around middle of the pack in football..but the school will make more money than even by just being associated with the conference. However, the Big XII may not be able to fill all the bowl tie-ins this year.

    • Rick S.

      Hopefully the weather will be better this year. However, I am going to hold off packing my bags until three more wins are in the books.

  • pghmountaineer

    Bowl talk? Are you kidding me!

    • WVSon

      the toilet bowl maybe.

  • Mike

    Don't see us putting up very many points, that's for damn sure.

  • Bobby M

    Holgerson on CUTLINE for head coach!!!!

  • Barry

    What's the prediction for this game?

    • Hop'sHip

      He'll tell us Monday.

    • wvrefugee


  • Wisetalker

    I made two predictions before the Texas Tech game...

    1. I predicted both head coaches would be wearing Black. Correct!

    2. I predicted Texas Tech would win 38-27.

    The final score was 37-27...

    Although not perfect, it was pretty darn close.

    • Big Larry

      Nice try wisetalker but I think we both know those were my predictions.

      • Jason

        Hey Gang...can we dial back the crazy just a little bit. Posting messages and answering yourself is just creepy.

      • j

        Big Larry? I just needed to ask, does your mother not love you? When was the last time you got a hug? Its been a couple years hasn't it?