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Underrated Kansas State full believers in Snyder's way

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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Bill Snyder's Wildcats, while not the most talented team, are the most prepared. (AP)  
Bill Snyder's Wildcats, while not the most talented team, are the most prepared. (AP)  

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- So far Bill Snyder has a roadway named after him (Coach Bill Snyder Highway) and a football stadium (Bill Snyder Family Stadium).

When -- or make that if -- Snyder ever stops coaching, the Big 12 needs to name something else after him: the Big 12's Coach of the Year award. That's because there is not a coach anywhere that gets more out of his players than Snyder.

For the third consecutive Saturday, Snyder and Kansas State were an underdog against a team (Miami, Baylor and Missouri) with much more talented players.

And for the third consecutive Saturday, Snyder's Wildcats pulled off the upset.

"We're used to being the underdogs," K-State sophomore strong safety Ty Zimmerman said. "Most of the teams we play have more 4- and 5-star guys. Coach Snyder demands discipline and that keeps us in games. We don't beat ourselves. We don't have stupid penalties. We line up right. We play the game the way it's supposed to be played."

Maybe at some point, they'll realize every time Kansas State wins it's not necessarily an upset. But keep overlooking them. That's just fine.

Basically, Kansas State is college football's version of the Butler Bulldogs.

So for another week, Kansas State remains under appreciated, underrated and, yes, undefeated after Saturday's 24-17 victory against Missouri.

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"The dudes that do the lines [that make KSU the underdog each week] don't play sports," K-State junior wide receiver Chris Harper said. "They don't know nothing what they're talking about. I don't pay much attention to that. If you betting money and listening to those guys, you're a dummy.

"We want respect. I can lie and say we don't care, but you want people to respect you. We got something going pretty good. We have to keep working and we can have something pretty special."

In Missouri's last game at Oklahoma, the Tigers rolled up 532 yards on offense. That was two weeks ago. Missouri had an open date to prepare for Kansas State: MU (2-3) had zero yards in the first quarter. The Tigers were averaging 517 yards on the season and only finished with 326.

Kansas State's fans got in on the fun during the rainy afternoon. After the game, KSU's band and student section chanted "Big 12 football," mocking Missouri and its possible move to the SEC. Several fans in the stands held up signs, including one that read: "We Won't Mizz You."

On the field, K-State junior punter Ryan Doerr said the Wildcats' preparation was the key.

"The want to win, the will to win, the hard work," Doerr said. "We're out here, it seems like forever, and the practices are hard. They're there to prepare us. They definitely prepare us well during the week. "Probably most of the teams we play will have more talent than us. It just comes down to how well prepared we are. How much our team comes together and how much we want it during the game. We just have a bunch of guys on the team that want to win."

Despite continuing to win, No. 20-ranked Kansas State (5-0) remains underappreciated nationally. The undefeated Wildcats were at home against 2-2 Missouri, yet the 20th-ranked Wildcats were between a 3- and-4 point underdog.

"This game has been a clinic in finding ways to lose against an opponent who doesn't have a fraction of your playmakers," said Todd Fuhrman, Senior Race and Sports Analyst for Caesars Palace Entertainment when KSU was in control in the second half.

Make no mistake: That's a compliment for Snyder and his Kansas State club.

After the game I asked the Mastermind of Manhattan if he feels his program is underappreciated nationally. Not surprisingly, Snyder doesn't care about such trivial matters.

"I have no idea," Snyder said. "I pay attention to what goes on in this building and once in a while over wherever it is I live.

"Why would I be [concerned]? No, I never have been. Most of the people that have been around me are pretty certain that doesn't make any difference to me. I have no control over it. It's senseless to waste any time whatsoever on it."

Because if Snyder is wasting time worrying about the national perception of the Wildcats that could cut into his film watching -- which is exactly how Snyder celebrated his 72nd birthday on Friday.

"He spent a good three or four hours watching film at the team hotel Friday," Doerr said.

After Saturday's win, though, the Wildcats sang Happy Birthday to their 72-year young coach in the locker room.

"He said that's the best present he's gotten yet," Doerr said.

Snyder ranks fifth among active FBS coaches with 154 victories. He's also the nation's third oldest FBS coach behind Penn State's Joe Paterno, 84, and Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger, 77. Schnellenberger announced he was retiring after this season, while some Penn State supporters wonder if the Nittany Lions would be better off if Paterno did the same.

There is no such sentiment at Kansas State. After Snyder stepped down in 2005, the Wildcats slogged through three years with Ron Prince (7-6, 5-7 and 5-7) before Snyder returned to resurrect the program -- his program -- in 2009.

Now three years later, the Wildcats are off to their first 5-0 start since his 2000 team won the Big 12 North championship and finished 11-3.

"With Coach Snyder, you see the whole picture," Harper said. "It's tough, things are tough but when you're out on the field and you're winning and you're not tired -- things like that -- you understand.

"I came from a different program [transferring from Oregon]. Things are different here. You see how tough we are as a team. You see in the fourth quarter -– like we were in Miami and those dudes were breathing harder than us and they play in that climate -- that what we do works.

"And when you see that, if you're a smart person, you'll buy in and do what he says."

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