Just two years ago, Kansas State was coming off a terrible season and were in desperate need of some changes. Ron Prince, who's tenure as head coach the Wildcats was, quite frankly, very comparable to that of Bill Callahan's at Nebraska, was forced out and KSU was left searching for someone who could pick this once proud program back up.
Much like the situation with the Huskers three years ago, a former coaching legend was asked to help get the program on track when Bill Snyder was offered a second stint with the Wildcats. Much to the relief of the K-State faithful, Snyder accepted the position and the transformation back into a respected program was under way.
Even with Snyder back at the helm, not much was expected from the Wildcats last season as the team was replacing a first-round NFL draft pick at quarterback and didn't have many of Snyder's recruits in place.
Many experts expected the 2009 Kansas State squad to finish towards the bottom of the Big 12. After a 1-2 start, which featured losses to Louisiana-Lafayette, UCLA and a narrow victory over Umass, it appeared as if Kansas State was as bad as projected. The Wildcats simply didn't have the proper players in place in order for Snyder to have the type of success he had in the 90's and early 2000's.
After the slow start, Kansas State began improving week by week and really started to look like a decent team. The Wildcats then proceeded to win three of their first conference games (including a 61-14 smashing of Texas A&M) and suddenly were considered a legitimate Big 12 North contenders. The Bill Snyder magic was truly back in Manhattan.
Surprisingly enough, Kansas State would face Nebraska in the team's final regular season game with the winner claiming the Big 12 North crown and a trip to the conference title game. A win would also make the Wildcats bowl eligible. Unfortunately for the purple and silver, Nebraska would go on to win the game 17-3, forcing Kansas State to stay home for the holidays.
A season later, Snyder is right back where he left off. Kansas State will enter next Thursday's game with the Huskers with an undefeated record (4-0) and a conference victory already under their belt. Though the Wildcat's haven't faced a terribly tough schedule, (much like Nebraska) the team has found ways to win games. A win 31-22 over UCLA (who destroyed Texas in Austin last Saturday) in week one highlights the impressive start.
It's no secret that beating Nebraska is high on Bill Snyder's wish list and there's no doubt he will pull out all the stops to try and pull off the upset. The fact that it's Nebraska last season in the Big 12 only adds fuel to the fire for this nationally televised showdown. This very well could be the last time the Wildcats and Huskers face off for decades. Believe me when I say Bill Snyder would love nothing more than to say goodbye by giving the Huskers their first loss and destroying and national title hopes.