I'll tell you what the beauty of a Thursday night game is. It's running a loosely organized web site where we suddenly realize, "Hey, it's Thursday and there's a game tonight" and then cram 23 posts into a single day instead of spacing them out all week like we're supposed to.
It's always worth hearing from the obsessive fans of your opponents because they know what's going on. It's your job to ask them the right questions. I think we covered that part pretty well because we asked a lot of them.
And presto! Thanks to Andrew a.k.a. BracketCat from BOTC, you have answers.
1) How do you feel about Nebraska's departure from the Big XII, and how are Kansas State fans reacting towards the change?
The logical part of my brain understands that Nebraska did what it thought it had to do for its long-term survival, even though I question its logic for a host of reasons, including travel distances, population decline in the Northeast, lack of existing traditions, a more competitive conference, and the possibility that government grants for academic purposes might start to dry up as the government works itself further and further into severe debt. (But that's an argument for another time...)
The emotional part of my brain will hate Harvey Perlman, Tom Osborne and any other decision makers who had anything to do with this until my dying day. The decision nearly set off a chain reaction that would have consigned my alma mater to relative football oblivion, through little to no fault of our own. Even more humbling, it exposed that no matter how competitive we are in the major men's sports (and one possibly could make a valid argument that K-State has been as competitive, if not more so, in both football and men's basketball than Nebraska since 2000), our existence as one of two major schools in a low-population state with relatively few TV sets will doom us if this crap ever starts up again. So for all that, I hate Nebraska, even if Missouri did start it.
I suspect most K-State fans feel as I do. Some of them lack the logical part of their brain and basically just hate Nebraska with no reservation. There will be a lot of anger in the stands tonight, I predict. Tonight is our one chance as a collective entity to stick it to the Huskers where it hurts most, and we want it badly.
2. How do you feel about this game being moved from last Saturday to a Thursday night?
I don't really have a problem with it. The inability for some fans to make it to a midweek game and the other disadvantages it poses will be more than offset by the national attention the Worldwide Leader will give us both tonight. One of the indelible images of the 2006 season was Rutgers fans storming the field after knocking off Louisville on a Thursday night. Tonight could be a similar scene if we pull off the upset. It's going to be a crazy, crazy game, and it should represent both fan bases and both programs well. As we found out this summer, there's no shortage of need for the Big 12 to market itself better, so we'll probably see more of this going forward. Well, we will. You won't, obviously.
3. ) What's the deal with Carson Coffman? Are you just waiting for things to click for him, or are you just hoping he doesn't screw things up?
I think he is what he is. Although there's still some room for him to get better - or more accurately, more consistent - his potential ceiling is limited by his relative lack of ability and arm strength. The kid is a fifth-year senior - if it hasn't yet "clicked" for him by now, it's probably not going to.
That said, he showed against UCF that he has the heart of a warrior and a true will to win. Don't underestimate that, and his significant advantage over Taylor Martinez in terms of Big 12 game experience, as factors in tonight's match-up.
4. How is Snyder doing? When he retired I felt a sense of maybe not relief, but excitement at taking the next step as a program with a new coach. Here at year two, what's the mood?
That excitement to which you refer quickly was tempered by the stark reality that younger, flashier, more media-friendly is not always better. Ron Prince was an unmitigated disaster. I honestly think even Bill Callahan could have posted a better record from 2006-2008. As a result, we're more than glad that Bill Snyder is back. Although there is some lingering uncertainty about how long he will remain this time around, it's very much in the back of our minds. I think everyone's pretty much just living in the moment, enjoying one win at a time as they come, and looking forward to the round-robin schedule next year and the challenges that accompany it. As for Snyder himself, this is what he was born 71 years ago to do. He's in his element and I suspect it's the one thing in life that truly makes him happy, as bad as that sounds. Coaches are a little crazy that way. I wouldn't be shocked to see him coach another 10 years at this rate, health permitting.
5. How long can Snyder continue to stalk the sidelines? Any ideas on a succession plan?
6. How many beer bongs will the average student do before the game? What is the excitement level for this game on campus?
I don't know about bongs, but many, many individual beers will be consumed in a relatively short period of time. The stadium will be close to combustible by kickoff. (for excitement level, refer also to Answers 1 and 2)
7. Receivers. We know about Brodrick Smith, but who's the guy who takes the place of a Darren Sproles or Brandon Banks for this team?
Probably Tramaine Thompson. He's not as fast as Brandon Banks, but he's a little taller, a little bigger and supposedly a better route-runner, although his failure to cash in what should have been a sure touchdown a few weeks ago makes me question that assessment a little. Nevertheless, UCF was his breakout game and we have unveiled few screens to date, so if the Husker defense brings the heat, Carl Pelini should expect to see Thompson on middle, bubble and convoy screens to release the pressure.
Speedy backup running back William Powell also could fill that role, both out of the traditional one-back set or an unconventional formation we've shown only once - a backfield with him, Daniel Thomas and fullback Braden Wilson. If I may abuse an analogy, the Wildcats are very similar to the Kansas City Chiefs this year in a lot of ways. If Coffman is our Matt Cassel and Thomas is our Thomas Jones, then Powell is our Jamaal Charles and Thompson is our Dexter McCluster.
One other name to watch on offense is Andre McDonald, who I guess would be our Tony Moeaki. He had a major breakout game against UCF with his first two career catches, both crucial grabs that helped advance the final scoring drive. At 6-foot-8 and 280 pounds, he is a significant size mismatch for the undersized Husker linebacker corps. I expect Snyder to game-plan accordingly.