It's not written in stone, but 90-plus percent of the time, a team from the Big 12 that is bowl eligible will find its way into the mega-game postseason of college football.
For the 5-2 Baylor Bears, they have not been involved in a postseason football game since 1994; for the 5-1 Kansas State Wildcats, it's been a three-year drought since Ron Prince directed K-State to the Texas Bowl in 2006.
Since then have been Wildcat seasons of five, five and six victories in 2009, but two of those were against Division I-AA teams. By NCAA rule, only one 1-AA victory can count toward the six games that it takes to be considered for postseason play.
"That has to be part of the process and part of the direction," coach Bill Snyder said of returning the postseason play. "If you did not get there, it would signify that you are not capable of winning very many ballgames. I think it is part of the progression."
But Snyder, who directed the Wildcats to 11 straight bowl games from 1993 through 2003, has also trained his Wildcats to look at Saturday as another 1-0 weekend.
"I think we are just letting it come when it comes," quarterback Carson Coffman said of reaching the sixth victory of the season. "At the beginning of the season, I thought that we would become bowl eligible, so this is just another game that will help us accomplish that."
With only a few players on the 2010 roster with bowl experience, sophomore fullback Braden Wilson said, "To us, it means a lot because there are only a handful of guys that have been to a bowl game in this program."
Center Wade Weibert said the locker room talk this week was going 1-0 for the weekend, as opposed to becoming bowl eligible. But he did admit, it would be nice to be somewhat assured of postseason play before the calendar rolls over to November.
"We'd like to eliminate the ifs, ands or buts, and just go play football," said Weibert. "That has always been the standard at Kansas State. It's always been not if K-State were going (to a bowl), but where."
THE CHALLENGE AT HAND:
The name is Robert Griffin III, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore quarterback of the Baylor Bears.
He ranks first in the Big 12 in total offense averaging 335 passing (281) and running (54) yards per game. He's accounted for 20 touchdowns with 14 throws and six rushes.
"He can run. He can throw. He can lead and motivate his team," said K-State coach Bill Snyder. "He is a complete player. He is fast, quick and he can change directions fluidly." But Snyder will continue Baylor's offense that averages 33.1 points, and its defense that allows just 20.6 pints puts them the best Bear teams of all-time.
"This is, collectively, the best Baylor team that I have ever seen during their time in the Big 12 Conference. Offensively, there is probably not a lot that they cannot do," said Snyder. "
If they wanted to, they could probably just line up and run the ball right at you. They have a 295-pound fullback that could probably assist that. We know they have a fine quarterback and running back that have the ability to run the ball, whether it be with the option-game or the quarterback run-game. Their offensive line averages around 313 pounds and they can block very well. Collectively, they are probably as good of an offensive line as I have seen up to this point in time. There is not much that they are lacking."
And the same can be said of BU's defense: "They have apparently made vast improvements from the previous years. They have taken secondary players and moved them to up to the linebacker position to give them a great deal of speed on their second and third levels.
Their front four is big and very physical. They are big on the inside against the run. There is 670 pounds between the two defensive tackles."
Kansas State (5-1)
KSU 31, UCLA 22
KSU 48, Missouri State 24
KSU 27, Iowa State 20
KSU 17, Central Florida 13
Nebraska 48, KSU 13
KSU 59, Kansas 7
Baylor 34, Sam Houston State 3
Baylor 34, Buffalo 6
TCU 45, Baylor 10
Baylor 30, Rice 13
Baylor 55, Kansas 7
Texas Tech 45, Baylor 38
Baylor 31, Colorado 25
BY THE NUMBERS: KSU BU
Scoring Offense 32.5 33.1
Scoring Defense 22.3 20.6
Rushing Offense 220 185
Rushing Defense 223 157
Passing Offense 161 301
Passing Defense 163 226
Total Offense 381 486
Fumbles 10-4 10-5
Penalties 27 – 40.7 64 – 80.7
The series has been brief with K-State holding a 6-1 advantage in the only seven games of this series. The K-State loss came in 2006 when the Bears shut down the Wildcats, 17-3.
In the seven games played to date, K-State has out-scored Baylor, 278-78. Bill Snyder is 4-0 against the Bears.
BY THE NUMBERS:
• 1 – In three home games this season, Baylor has outscored its opponents 122-16 and allowed just one touchdown against Sam Houston State, Buffalo and Kansas.
• 5 – Baylor's current win total of five is the most by a BU team in the Big 12 era.
• 22 – That's where K-State ranks in the first Bowl Championship Series poll. Also from the Big 12 are No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 11 Missouri, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 19 Texas.
• 85 – After researching the record book, the 85-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Stephen Harrison against Kansas was the longest return in school history.
• 2,047 – That's how many yards Daniel Thomas has rushed for to rank seventh in K-State history. Next in line with 2,182 yards is Isaac Jackson from 1971-73, while J.J. Smith is No. 5 with 2,210 yards from 1991-94.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
• QB CARSON COFFMAN (No. 14) will be trying to put together consecutive stellar performances after completing 15-of-16 passes against Kansas and accounting for five touchdowns – three rushing and two passing.
• LB JARELL CHILDS (No. 26) is coming off a 15 tackle performance against Kansas and will be counted on to contain Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.
• PK JOSH CHERRY (No. 19) will need to stay true with his kicks as K-State will need every point it can get against the high-scoring Bears. Cherry is 6-of-6 on field goals this season. His season-long is a 48-yarder.
• QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III (No. 10) ranks first in total offense at 335 yards per game, and fifth in the nation in passing with 265 yards per game. He has rushed for six touchdowns and passed for 14.
• BU'S OFFENSIVE LINE averages 313 pounds per man, which includes Robert t. Griffin at 6-6, 330-pounds at right guard. The line is made up of one senior, two juniors and two sophomores.
• H BYRON LANDOR (No. 14) plays a safety-type position and leads the team in tackles with 60, which includes two for negative yardage. He also has in interception, three passes broken up, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
• DE TEVIN ELLIOTT (No. 18) has scored five sacks, plus a total of eight arrests for negative yards. He also has two QB hurries, two passes broken up and one forced fumble.
Kansas State returns home to play Oklahoma State in its 2010 Homecoming game. The game will have an 11 a.m. kickoff and televised by Fox Sports Net.