"I have a master list of schools that I've called," said KSU associate athletics director Jim Epps said. "Minnesota, New Mexico, Wyoming, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Penn State ... should I go on?"
K-State coach Ron Prince has given Epps the charge of contracting a nice balance of ultra-tough games, to toss-ups, to those of the should-win variety.
"I want to make sure our players and fans have the chance to experience something like Auburn every year," Prince said.
Plus, the Wildcat skipper says that it's a chance for K-State to advertise its Powercat "brand" in other areas of the country.
"We recruit coast to coast, and spend a lot of time along the southern coast. We think this is important for us to show off Kansas State football to as many parts of the country as we can."
With the biggest of names, Epps says that the initial contact is normally encouraging, but many times, the phone line goes dead and calls are not returned.
Such was the case with Penn State, and yes, with Notre Dame, as well.
"We went as far to pitch Notre Dame a two-for-one with us going to South Bend twice," Epps said. "They declined that, so we offered to go to their place twice and play a third game at a neutral site like Arrowhead Stadium. They said they would only play in Notre Dame."
What the Irish did offer was an $850,000 guarantee for a one-game contract in South Bend on Aug. 30, 2014, Oct. 8, 2016, or Nov. 19 in 2016.
"I would not go for $850,000, but maybe would consider it for $1 million pay day," Epps said. "With Notre Dame, that's the only way the game will be played."
While former coach Bill Snyder was reluctant to schedule such powers, when an agreement can be reached with a team like Auburn, Epps says coach Prince is quick to say, "Book it!"
Presently on the non-conference books for K-
State in years to come are: -
2008 - Louisiana-Lafayette, Fresno, at Louisville, North Texas -
2009 - UMass, at UCLA -
2010 - UCLA, Missouri State, at North Texas -
2011 - Oregon, at Miami of Florida -
2012 - at Oregon, North Texas, Miami of -
2013 - (No games scheduled) -
2014 - at Virginia Tech, Auburn -
2016 - Virginia Tech
With Prince, Epps said the desire is to schedule one "marquee game," like Auburn, another top 30-type school, a mid-major, plus perhaps one game against a school from the 1A Championship Division, formerly known as I-AA. But Epps adds that Championship Division schools aren't as easy to schedule as one might think.
"With a 12-game schedule, they've created a bidding war. It's just incredible what's being offered to those schools," Epps said. "I remember back in the early-1980s I offered New Mexico $100,000 and almost passed out. Today, we're giving teams like Missouri State and UMass $350,000, and I've heard of smaller schools getting up to $800,000."
K-State received a $450,000 travel allowance for the Auburn game, but the Tigers kept the entire home gate. In 2014, K-State will pay a similar travel fee, but pocket the home gate revenues.
With Oregon in 2011 and 2012, it's a $300,000 travel guarantee for a trip that Epps estimates will cost a little over $150,000.