December 8, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
At some point this evening, K-State's much anticipated bowl destination and opponent will be announced.
It's a moment head coach Bill Snyder and his players have been looking forward to since last week's 31-10 win over the Kansas Jayhawks, and for many, it will be a reminder of just how far this team has come and how much they have overcome since the season opener on August 30.
"It is certainly exciting not knowing," junior defensive end Ryan Mueller said about the announcement. "A lot of things could happen. I know that we will all be watching a lot of games this weekend because they can have an impact on where we go and who we could potentially play. So it is very exciting, and I am looking forward to hearing the results."
Perhaps, for fans, K-State's victories in five of its final six regular-season games have eased the pain of the home opener loss. Perhaps it's made you forget the three-in-a-row losing streak that put the Wildcats at 2-4.
Though the waters were rough, it takes a lot of guts to keep on sailing - and that's exactly what the Wildcats did.
Instead of giving up, instead of backing down or being content with the excuse, 'It's just a rebuilding year,' the Wildcats fought back. The season's turnaround was among the best in Big 12 history and the best at K-State since, well, ever.
"It was frustrating at first for everybody," junior linebacker Jonathan Truman said. "It was a time of adversity that really tested us, and I am proud of my team for turning it around, going 5-1 after we went 2-4. It was just important to us to get things corrected and to turn the season around in a positive way."
As for senior linebacker Blake Slaughter, he said he believes his team's resiliency throughout the course of the season made a statement.
"That's big time. It means so much to me, to the team, as far as our character's standpoint," Slaughter said about the team's ability to bounce back. "At the beginning of the year, we talked about caring, whether or not this team cared, and we showed the world that we do care. We showed the world that we're going to fight back and continue on and we care about each other and we are willing to do whatever it takes to make this season special. So to start that way, but to finish this way, it's special to me."
So tonight, K-State will find out its fate. It'll find out its bowl and find out its opponent. It is likely K-State could go to one of two places: San Diego, Calif., for the Holiday Bowl, or it could return to the desert in Tempe, Ariz., for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
At the Holiday Bowl (usually the Big 12's No. 5 team, and K-State finished at No. 5 in the Big 12) K-State would most likely match up against the Pac-12 Championship game loser or Oregon, while at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (usually the Big 12's No. 4 team), K-State would match up against a Big 10 opponent - likely Nebraska or Michigan. The determining factor will be whether or not the Big 12 will get two teams in BCS games.
"We don't know who we are playing and we don't know where we are playing. So we are going to take advantage of this time to look at ourselves and improve ourselves," Truman said, and that's exactly what K-State spent the weekend doing: focusing on itself and correcting its own mistakes before looking forward to its opponent.
Don't miss tomorrow's K-State Sports Extra which will be filled with more information on the Wildcats' upcoming bowl.
GET YOUR VERY OWN COACH SNYDER STATUE:
K-State alumni, this is a special offer for you!
Now you can own a miniature version of the Coach Snyder Statue that stands proudly in front of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Sculptor E. Spencer Schubert, the man behind the Bill Snyder statue that stands outside of West Stadium Center, has made the original 18" maquette available in a limited edition casting for K-State Alumni. The bronze sculpture is available through LEOPOLDgallery, art consultant for the project.
Medium: Cast Bronze Mounted on a Black Marble Base.
Dimensions: 18" x 8" x 8"
Edition: Limited Edition of 95, Signed and Numbered.
· Please contact LEOPOLDgallery for details and to place your order: 816-333-3111, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.leopoldgallery.com
· K-State receives a portion of each sale.