'Cats aren't a shoe-in for the win

The uncertainty of college football plays out each and every week. The Wildcats may be better historically, but the Cowboys are ready to quiet the skeptics.

It is safe to say the Oklahoma State Cowboys were rooting for the purple-and-white to prevail over Colorado last week. For selfish reasons, of course.

First of all, the ‘Cats are good, to say the least. Secondly, no one wants to face off against an animal with the word "wild" in its name, especially when said animal is facing a two-game losing streak.

Maybe it should also be mentioned that OSU has come up short in the past eight meetings with Kansas State. This could be off base, but common sense says that isn't such a great statistic in the eyes of the Cowboy faithful.

However, the two teams are almost polar opposites of what they were only one year ago. And, it isn't for shame - it is for the better of both schools.

But, forget last year. Forget 1998 -- the last time the two schools squared off on the Manhattan gridiron -- when the now-seniors were then-freshmen. Forget that it was a 52-20 Wildcat rout. Forget Jonathan Beasley and Bob Simmons.

This is the time that counts.

College football is all about the here and now. It's about the Louisvilles beating the Florida States. It is about the Brad Smiths and the Mizzous making the Nate Hybls and the Oklahomas tremble. It is about kids named Shockey, starting out in a wee small Oklahoma college, stopping off at Miami for a ring and ending up in New York on Sundays.

It is about face-painting, tailgating and goal-post raiding. It is about the Cowboys, who can taste an eight-year drought coming to an end. It is about the Wildcats, who can spit in the face of their critics with each win.

It is about living dreams and coming to terms with reality.

We could talk all day about how the OSU defense curtailed the Texas offense last week, or why the ‘Cats beat Southern Cal and not the ‘Ochs-less' Colorado. There could be a roundtable discussion comparing Cowboy wide receiver Rashaun Woods to the cornerback of choice in Manhattan. Arguments could ensue regarding the mobility of Wildcat QB Ell Roberson versus the sophomore inexperience of OSU QB Josh Fields. We could play dueling fight songs, talk trash and quote old stats.

Reality is, folks, tomorrow is the only day that counts. This is the time of the season when records don't reflect abilities.

When the two teams take the field at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday, they won't be worrying about 1998 when Beasley killed the Cowboys, or thinking about how an OSU win cost the Oklahoma Sooners a trip to the Big 12 Championship in 2001. Coaches Bill Snyder and Les Miles aren't thinking back to the Insight.com and the onlywonfourgames.com bowls.

The only thing that matters is the show that is put on during the 60 minutes of regulation play at KSU Stadium.

Both teams will have a lot at stake Saturday. The question is, which school will wind up 0-2 in the conference standings? The outcome won't be decided on which team has had the most SportsCenter highlights this season, but which teams will show up at game time.

K-State fans may fear a repeat of last years 6-6 outcome, and they hope the return to dominance quickly returns to Manhattan. Those celebratory 11-win seasons aren't ever far from Snyder's reach.

OSU, however, is still waiting for its time in the sun. And -- this just in -- the chubby weatherman with plastic hair and bad jokes is reporting bright skies for Saturday's forecast.

The pistol chamber may have been shooting blanks during the past, but the Wildcats shouldn't underestimate a team of Cowboys in an afternoon stand-off.

All bets are off. The Vegas gurus could be wrong on this one.

Even Snyder himself is worried.

"If they had something we hadn't seen yet, I wouldn't know what it was," Snyder said. "What I'm concerned about is that they are a good football team. They are a tremendous pursuit team on defense...they have personnel that can play the game...wide recievers that are excellent...quarterback can throw accurately and aggressively...they protect him...their kicking game virtually in its entirety is pretty good...they've got the NCAA-leading kickoff returner back...punt returner that is a tremendous player."

For all it's worth, Snyder seems pretty convinced.

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