Kansas State Facts and Factors

Dec. 24 -- Led by future Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Snyder, #11-ranked K-State has had a similar season to UCLA...

UCLA will face Kansas State in the 2015 Valero Alamo Bowl Friday, January 2nd, at 3:45 PST, with the game televised by ESPN.

• The game is in San Antonio, Texas, in the Alamodome (seating: 65,000).

• UCLA is ranked #14 in the College Football Playoffs rankings while KSU is #11.

• The Wildcats are 9-3, and 7-2, coming in third in the Big 12 behind Baylor and TCU. KSU had a strong season, similar to UCLA’s, and were lingering in the College Football Playoff conversation a little at times this season. They had a tough, early loss to Auburn in September, but then won the next five games, including a win over then-#11 Oklahoma, to be at 7-1 by the beginning of November. They were then beaten pretty soundly by TCU (42-20) Nov. 8th, and then finished the year with a loss to Baylor (38-27).

• KSU was 1-3 against ranked teams in 2015. Its three losses came against three teams currently in the CFP ranking, Auburn, TCU and Baylor.

• The teams Kansas State lost to were a combined 40-6 on the season. The FBS teams the Wildcats beat were a combined 43-50.

• UCLA and KSU had one common opponent in Texas, with the Wildcats beating the Longhorns 23-0 at home. UCLA, if you recall, beat Texas 20-17 in AT&T Stadium when second-string quarterback Jerry Neuheisel took over for injured Brett Hundley and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Jordan Payton in the final minutes.

• It will be the third meeting in history between UCLA and KSU, with each program having one win. The two schools had a home-and-home in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, In Rick Neuheisel’s second season as UCLA’s head coach, the Bruins beat the Wildcats in the Rose Bowl, 23-9. The next year, in Manhattan, Kansas, KSU beat the Bruins, 31-22.

• Kansas State hasn’t played the Pac-12 much in its history, other than Colorado, which used to be in the Big 12. It has a winning record against just three Pac-12 schools, USC (2-0) and Cal (1-0) and Oregon State (1-0).

• The Wildcats are led by future Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Snyder (75). It’s not difficult to make a case that Snyder has done one of the most miraculous head coaching jobs in college football history. In 1989, Sports Illustrated published an article calling Kansas State “Futility U” since, to that point, KSU was legitimately the worst program in major college football, with an overall record of 299-509-41. Snyder took over the program in 1989 and since is 195-110-1, perhaps pulling off the most dramatic transformation in the history of college football. Not to be condescending to Manhattan, Kansas, but Snyder’s accomplishments are that much more miraculous that he’s been able to attract recruits to come to KSU, and then Snyder also is known for getting the most out of his talent. His teams are fundamentally-sound and disciplined and his coaching is creative and innovative. Snyder has had two stints at KSU, the first one from 1989 to 2005. He then retired but the Kansas State program slipped back into mediocrity. He was coaxed back in 2009 and KSU subsequently regained its prominence. KSU has finished in the top 25 for twelve of Snyder’s 25 seasons, and six times in the top 10. He had three losing seasons in his first four years in Manhattan, while trying to turn around the most-futile program in college football and then, again miraculously, has only had two other losing seasons since. He has won 10 games at KSU nine times, and if he beats UCLA it will be 10 times. Snyder’s most successful period was in the 1990s and early 2000s, when he strung together four straight 11-wins seasons, and six out of eight. That’s six out of eight seasons when Kansas State won 11 games. His 187 wins is second among active coaches at their current schools, behind just Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer (230), who UCLA faced last year in the Sun Bowl. Snyder is on the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

• Kansas State’s Stadium is named Bill Snyder Family Stadium. When Kansas State wanted to re-name its stadium to honor the coach, he asked that it be named after “the people I care about most.” Snyder is only one of three college coaches to ever coach in a stadium that bears his name, along with Alabama’s Bear Bryant and Shug Jordan at Auburn.

• Kansas State sold out the entire season (the stadium holds 53,000), and has sold out 20 straight games.

• Kansas State has won 47 straight games when leading at halftime, which is currently the longest active streak in the country. Jim Mora, since being at UCLA, has won 24 straight games when leading at half.

• Since 1990, K-State is 153-27 (.850) when scoring first. It has scored first in seven of its 12 games this season and won each of those games.

• KSU is undefeated this season in games when it’s scored 30 points or more.

• UCLA has been ranked as having the toughest or second-toughest schedule in the country this season, vying with Auburn for that distinction.

• The Bruins also were the team that traveled the most miles in the FBS this season.

• For UCLA, it’s the last game for quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Eric Kendricks, two players that have played huge roles in UCLA’s climb back to relevancy the last three seasons. Other departing seniors are OL Malcolm Bunche, running back Jordon James, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, defensive back Anthony Jefferson, linebacker Ryan Hofmeister, fullback Tre Hale, and offensive lineman Sam Tai.

• The betting line has moved quite a bit. Kansas State started out as 3.5-point favorites, and then the line settled in over a few weeks with KSU anywhere from 1- to 2-point favorites. Today, the line changed again, with UCLA now 1-point favorites.

• The weather forecast calls for a high of 51 degrees in San Antonio on Jan 2nd, and mostly sunny skies.

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