The University of Texas annually ranks No. 1 on USA Today’s list of the richest athletic departments in college sports. This year, Kansas State ranked No. 46. (Texas A&M technically ranked No. 1 this year, due to some big donations, but UT is the mainstay.)
And that’s a massive improvement over K-State’s condition when head coach Bill Snyder arrived in 1989. Before his arrival, the Wildcats were widely considered the country’s toughest place to win.
They had zero bowl wins or AP Poll finishes before Snyder; they’ve had 13 top-20 seasons since.
Snyder added his seventh win over Texas on Saturday, 24-21, and no single number says more about his rebuild than his 7-4 record in this series against the sport’s most advantaged power. (This doesn’t even include the two wins by Ron Prince during Snyder’s 2000s hiatus, which featured rosters almost entirely built by Snyder’s staff.)
In the modern era, little KSU has owned big UT, especially in Manhattan, where the Horns are now 1-7 all-time.
This year’s edition was as K-State as ever, with the patient Wildcats dominating time of possession by nearly 20 minutes, losing the turnover battle but making it up with efficiency (27 first downs!), overcoming a late injury to QB Jesse Ertz, and converting via 1899 formations like this:
This is extra bad for Charlie Strong, who falls to 3-4 this year and needed every win he could scrape together in order to save his job, but it happened to Mack Brown all the same.
Snyder’s record against pretty much everybody is good, at least after the rebuild required in his first few years. All-time, the College Football Hall of Famer is now 197-104-1 with two Big 12 titles.
Here was Sports Illustrated’s lede in ‘89, after Snyder left Iowa’s staff to take the job:
“There is only one school in the nation that has lost 500 games," says Bill Snyder, Kansas State's new football coach. "This is it, and I get to coach it. "Snyder smiles. Sort of. He is the fourth coach in five years to be given the opportunity, the previous three having been bloodied beyond recognition. Since World War II not one of K-State's 11 coaches has gone on to a better coaching job. "This has been a real career stopper," says the school's athletic director, Steve Miller.
Last November, when Miller hired Snyder away from Iowa, where he was the offensive coordinator, Miller told him, "Kansas State is flat on its back. You may have heard it's one of the toughest jobs in the country. It's not. It's the toughest." How tough? Well, not a single Wildcat was drafted this year by the NFL. When it comes to college football, nobody does it worse than Kansas State. After 93 years of trying to play the game, the Wildcats' record is 299-509-41, dead last among the 106 schools in Division I-A.
Not even a decade later, K-State won a Fiesta Bowl (then nearly reached the national title a year later).
A few years after that, this happened:
And now the year is 2016, Snyder is 77 years old, and K-State still owns the Texas Longhorns.
That’ll never stop being amazing.