Wildcats v Scarlet Knights in Texas Bowl

Houston we got a Bowl Game.... Kansas State v Rutgers in the Inaugural Texas Bowl.

Houston, we have no problem.

No, not many around these parts were thinking Houston, and the Texas Bowl, as the bowl destination for the Kansas State Wildcats as they awaited the news Sunday afternoon.

But that's where the ‘Cats are headed, and it's OK.

Really!

You bet, the River Walk of San Antonio would have been a more cozy, feel-good local, and sure, the Wildcats had some pay-back for any opponent showing up at the Insight Bowl. But it didn't work out, and it might be for the best.

Here's why.

* This is the inaugural Texas Bowl, so you know the red carpet will be Texas-wide and Texas-long.

* Texas is a prime recruiting area for the Wildcats as is shown by the current roster dotted with 17 Texans.

* The weather is sure to be great.

* And, excuse me Shreveport, but it's not Shreveport.

* Oh yes … the BBQ should be better!

Some might think K-State got snubbed, but in all honesty, it would have been politics for the Wildcats to go any higher than the Texas Bowl.

On paper, only Kansas State's fan travel count would have placed them higher than Texas Tech, or in front of Oklahoma State.

Missouri blasted Kansas State by 20 points, plus finished with a better record, so there's no argument there. And one certainly can't argue with the Alamo Bowl taking Texas.

And heck, 6-6 Kansas could say, "Hey, wait a minute. We just humiliated the Wildcats by 19 points! Why aren't we bowl-bound?"

Athletics director Tim Weiser admitted to being surprised by the Texas Bowl because the majority of the conversations for two weeks had been with the Alamo Bowl and Insight Bowl officials. And had Georgia Tech defeated Wake Forest Saturday (Wake won 9-6), then it probably would have been Texas in the Gator Bowl, and the Wildcats would have been in the Alamo Bowl … simply because of fan-count.

Instead, K-State tumbles, for the lack of a better term, to the last-place picking bowl in the Big 12 package.

But again, that's fine.

Kansas State will be playing a No. 16 ranked team in the Rutgers Scarlet Knight that will be in much the same state of mind as the 1998 Wildcats.

Remember?

Had Kansas State defeated Texas A&M for the Big 12 championship, it would have played in the national championship game. Instead, it was a double-overtime loss, and for a whole slew of reasons, Kansas State plummeted to the Alamo Bowl.

The Wildcats' state of mind never recovered. They didn't want to be in San Antonio, and they lost again to Purdue.

Now, fast-forward to Saturday as Rutgers was playing for a BCS Bowl slot against West Virginia. The Scarlet Knight lost in triple-overtime, and fell to the Big East's No. 3 bowl tie-in … the Texas Bowl.

Coach Greg Schiano, the National Coach of the Year, as Bill Snyder was in 1998, admitted that Sunday's team meeting to discuss Rutgers' postseason destination was understandably somber, and it was his job to get the team "out of its funk."

That, as Mr. Snyder found, is easier said than done.

Add to this the added distraction that Schiano's name tops the list of coaching candidates for the vacancy at Miami of Florida.

Sound distractingly familiar? 1998 was the year that Mike Stoops, Brent Venables and Mark Mangino jumped the Wildcat ship and headed to Oklahoma in between the Texas A&M title game and the Alamo Bowl.

The negatives? Only two.

One, the Texas Bowl payout is a measly $750,000 compared to the Insight's $1.2 million and the Alamo's $2.25 million. But the basic reality is that expenses will be covered and all the extra nickels and dimes thrown in a big pot with the left-overs from the $14 to 17 million that Oklahoma receives for playing in the Fiesta Bowl, and then its all divvied up among the 12 teams, anyway.

Problem two? This NFL Network thing will make the game a challenging view on the tube.

So overall, don't stew, be happy. There is a fistful of positives in this decision that came as a Texas-sized surprise Sunday afternoon.

The Cinderella story line will be fun as this Rutgers program of 2005 and 2006 is the Kansas State story of the mid-1990s. And that tale can't be re-told too many times.


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