MANHATTAN, Kan. — There will be a time not long from now that Kansas State’s players will gather to reflect on the season, one that’s brought unimaginable joy along with soul-crushing heartache.
It’s not that time just yet.
Despite a loss two weeks ago to Baylor that knocked the seventh-ranked Wildcats from national title consideration, they still have plenty to play for Saturday against No. 23 Texas: The third conference championship in school history and an automatic BCS bowl berth.
Not a bad consolation prize for a team expected to finish somewhere in the middle of the Big 12, but that rose to No. 1 in the BCS standings before that lousy night in Waco.
“I haven’t reflected back on the season. I haven’t reflected forward,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said this week. “I have reflected on our most recent game and our preparation for the game coming up. That’s where my attention has been.”
It certainly hasn’t been on No. 12 Oklahoma, which plays TCU earlier Saturday.
If the Sooners lose to the Horned Frogs, the Wildcats (10-1, 7-1) will already have wrapped up at least a share of the Big 12 championship and, due to tiebreakers, the BCS bid, long before Collin Klein and the rest of the senior class is introduced to a sellout crowd.
“It’s going to be an emotional day for me,” said Klein, who is widely expected to be invited to New York City next week for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
“I know being around here now for, this is my fifth year, you see a lot of players enter and exit in their tenure, and now my time has come in that sense, and that’s not an easy thing,” Klein said. “I have so many fond memories of my time here. It’s going to be hard.”
The Sooners are comfortable favorites to beat TCU, which means the Wildcats are certainly preparing for the Longhorns (8-3, 5-3) as if they’ll need to win themselves.
Kansas State’s only Big 12 title came in 2003, when it beat then-No. 1 Oklahoma when the conference still had a championship game. Its only other league title came in 1934, during the old Big Six days, when Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf was the coach.