Texas is the biggest, richest, most naturally advantaged college football program of this era. It sits in a large, cool city, is the flagship school of a flagship high school football state, has its own dang TV network, every edge it could want.
College football is full of scrappy underdogs, but usually, the enormous, wealthy behemoth clobbers the plucky squad without the built-in advantages.
There are exceptions. Ohio State struggled with Purdue in the 2000s. USC had a tough decade against Oregon State. But one of the funniest examples is Texas vs. Kansas State. The Longhorns can’t seem to shake the Wildcats under Bill Snyder.
Before hiring Snyder, one could credibly say Kansas State was the worst “major” college football job in the country
Prior to Snyder, Kansas State had never finished in the AP Top 25. The Cats had played in just one bowl game (they lost the 1982 Independence Bowl to Wisconsin). They were isolated from major recruits or significant population centers, and conference powers like Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado dwarfed them. When Snyder was hired, they had the worst winning percentage of any DI program.
But under Snyder, they’ve finished ranked in the AP Poll 13 different times, including as high as No. 6 in the final rankings. They’ve made 19 bowls. Against all odds, they’ve become a reliably above-average team. And they’ve made life absolutely miserable for Texas.
Snyder is 7-5 against Texas, and he’s made UT sweat for all of its wins.
Their very first game should have been an omen for what this series was going to be like. In 1998, a good Texas squad — one that would finish 9-3 and win the Cotton Bowl — went to Manhattan the third week of the season. Kansas State absolutely kicked the shit out of them, 48-7, holding one of the best offenses in the country punchless.
The next season, the game was in Austin. The Longhorns were feeling good about themselves, having beat Baylor by 62 points the week before. Kansas State whooped ‘em by 17. K-State has continued to be a thorn in the Longhorns’ side for years. Texas hasn’t won two games in a row in this series since 2002-03.
2018’s game is at Kansas State, where Texas has struggled a great deal. The Longhorns are a woeful 1-5 in Manhattan against Snyder, with their lone win a 17-14 squeaker back in 2002. Kansas State doesn’t look good this year, and hey, maybe Texas is BACK, but all history would indicate this going to be a war.
A lot of Snyder’s recent wins over Texas have taken a similar, Kansas State-like shape: a slow, methodical pace chews up the clock, and a bunch of two stars run out of formations from like, the 1800s.
Snyder’s edge on Texas extends to other coaches he’s brought up.
It’d be one thing if Kansas State just stuck to ruining Texas seasons by itself, but Snyder’s coaching tree has helped launch the careers of others who have tormented the Horns.
Former Kansas State head coach Ron Prince might have been a walking internet meme who wasn’t successful at anything else, but you know what he was good at?
Beating Texas. Prince is 2-0 against the Longhorns.
More importantly, longtime Texas antagonist and former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was a defensive coordinator under Snyder. Bret Bielema, the coach at Arkansas who demolished Texas in the 2014 Texas Bowl and later referred to the series of kneel downs that ended that game as “borderline erotic,” was also a Snyder assistant.
Everything else about Snyder and K-State football makes this even funnier
Snyder is not a loudmouth chest-thumper. He’s turning 79 soon, wears archaic bowl windbreakers, and then writes nice handwritten notes after his teams whoop you. (In fact, Texas returned the favor on his last birthday.) He reportedly eats once a day, and often, that’s Taco Bell. When the Wildcats beat UT and other Texas schools, their fans celebrate via shirts:
If you’re a Texas fan, it has to be just the most frustrating thing in the world.
You can recruit NFL-caliber talent all over the field, but when you play against single-wing grandpa, everything goes wrong.