'Throwback' matchup will decide North
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
11/17/09 at 6:42 AM
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WHEN BILL SNYDER arrived at Kansas State, the Wildcats had plenty of good programs in the Big Eight to copy.
One of those teams was Nebraska.
Eventually, Kansas State got good enough under Snyder to challenge the Huskers in the new Big 12 Conference's North Division.
"I always had amazing respect for Tom Osborne (former Nebraska coach)," said Snyder. "It just isn't all of the championships he won but how he worked with his team.
"It could certainly serve as a model program for how anyone, not just us, would follow."
Kansas State goes to Nebraska for a Big 12 North Division showdown on Saturday, a throwback to the 1990s when these two teams ruled the young Big 12 Conference.
Snyder coached at Kansas State at the time.
"I haven't reflected back on anything in the past," said Snyder. "But, we have been in this position before.
"I can't remember any big games in the early years (when Snyder first arrived at KSU). But, we did play some key games after those initial years when they beat us so soundly."
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini knows the history of the series even though he wasn't a part of the Huskers football team back in the 1990s.
"I wasn't around at the time," said Pelini. "Obviously, the game means a lot.
"I have a lot of respect for our opponent in every respect."
Texas coach Mack Brown will be watching the replay of the game because the Longhorns will probably meet the winner in the Big 12 championship game.
"You look back over the season and Nebraska has made so much progress and even more so at Kansas State," said Brown. "They are both very fine teams and they have great histories.
"That will be a great game."
Nebraska will be favored although it lost twice at home earlier this year. The Huskers lost home games to Iowa State and Texas Tech.
"We knew we were better than we played in those two games," said Pelini. "I think we are a better team than we were a month ago."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has played both teams, losing at Nebraska but beating Kansas State in Norman.
"The two teams are both good," said Stoops. "Nebraska has been very good on defense. (Ndamukong) Suh has been very good but so has (Jared) Crick.
"Kansas State finds every way possible to create a seam and find a running game."
Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State when the Wildcats built a program to rival Nebraska in the North division.
He knows no one should under-estimate a Snyder-coached team.
"He had as much to do with my development as a defensive coordinator as anyone," said Stoops. "Just going against those great Nebraska teams I learned so much. All the different ways they ran the football. You had to be good.
"That's how we developed. Over time we made improvement defensively. It helped develop what we're still doing (today at OU). Nebraska was coached well and had talented players on top of it."