Originally written November 11, 2012 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
FORT WORTH, Texas Texas A&M paid anywhere from 9.31 million to 12.41 million, depending on your media source of choice, to secede from the Big 12 in February. Aggies felt this to be too much, Big 12 types too little. Now, though, A&M has delivered what all parties have to agree was a fair parting gift, beating No. 1 Alabama, 29-24, behind a Heisman-worthy performance by Johnny Manziel. Because what A&M really gave their frenemies in the Big 12 on Saturday was a chance. With Texas A&M's upset of Alabama, little and unlikely Kansas State, the team almost assuredly to be screwed by the BCS if three or more teams finish undefeated, has a real good chance to play for a national championship. And it deserves to be in that game. Even if Notre Dame and Oregon are both undefeated, too. This is the tendency, I guess. Journalists tend to fall in love with the team that is right in front of their eyes on that Saturday. They write how great and wonderful and perfect everybody is until next week when they are somewhere else. What I discovered watching Kansas State was how kind of boring they are. They certainly are not a sexy team. The most effusive thing I can think to say is they are efficient, methodical and play crazy-smart football. They are also damn good. On what was shaping up to be an upset Saturday in college football, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder with Collin Klein and Co. handled business, easily beating TCU, 23-10, and thereby setting them up to be the No. 1 team in the country Sunday morning. "I have no thought about it whatsoever," Snyder said in his typical buzz-kill self when asked his feelings when he learned 'Bama had lost. And Snyder pretty much spoke for his team. Player after Wildcat player talked about how underwhelmed they were about likely being No. 1 in all of football. "We were kind of excited," Wildcats linebacker Jarell Childs said. How did y'all find out? A raucous post-game locker room announcement? "No," kicker Anthony Cantele said. "Coach Snyder does not like to talk about that stuff." There is a charm in this rote recitation of not paying attention to polls and just focusing on the next game and basically saying whatever Snyder tells them to. It is probably why they are so good. These kids believe in Snyder so much what he says, what he does, what he stands for that they will run through a wall for him. Why would they not believe every single thing that he says? Do everything he asks? They're 10-0, and may have a chance to play for what would be Kansas State's first national championship. This is a good football team. And for all the talk of Klein Heisman, et al Saturday's game was won by Kansas State's defense. They out-defensed TCU, and did so again rather methodically. Yes, they were aided by TCU losing their quarterback, already their backup, for a good hunk of the game. What Kansas State did so amazingly well was just sucking the belief right out of TCU. Every time the Frogs looked to be putting something together, Kansas State's defense killed it. Klein was good, too, not his usual good that has him being mentioned in Heisman talk, but good considering the circumstance. Klein was playing despite apparently sustaining a concussion in last week's game. Apparently is a necessary word because Kansas State has a policy of not talking about injuries and did not allow Klein to speak after the game, ostensibly to avoid concussion questions. I do not understand why concussion questions are out of bounds. In this climate, with so much focus and attention on the possibly debilitating impact of concussions and playing football, those questions seem pertinent. And by all accounts, Klein is a bright enough kid to handle talking about it. There is no way he would have been out there if he were not 100 percent healthy so why not let him talk about what he went through? How he felt? How he was still able to score two rushing touchdowns and have a pretty good game against a good defense? Too often we "protect" athletes and from what? All anybody wanted to talk about Saturday was how Klein and Kansas State just keep finding a way. This is the Snyder way, though, and there is no arguing with the results. The Wildcats are methodical, efficient, damn good and deserving of a spot in the national championship game even if they will not say so. Or maybe because they won't.
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