If you’re a Kansas fan and looking for sympathy from the head coach of your archrival, don’t hold your breath.
Since winning a combined 25 games in the final three seasons (2007-09) under Mark Mangino — a total that includes an Orange Bowl triumph — the Jayhawks have totaled, including this year, just 15 wins combined the last eight seasons. Dating back to November of 2010, KU has lost 58 of its last 61 Big 12 games. They haven’t beaten a Power Five opponent on the road since October of 2008; they haven’t beaten anyone away from Memorial Stadium, period, since September of 2009.
In other words, Kansas serves as the new Power Five poster boys for on-field failure and futility. The old one happens to be Kansas State, coached by the legendary Bill Snyder.
This week, Snyder was asked whether the current situation at KU is reminiscent of what he inherited at K-State. From the Lawrence Journal-World:
Though Snyder, now in his 26th season at K-State, initially replied he hadn’t thought about it or paid attention to the state of KU football “in that realm,” he went on to give his opinion on the matter.
“I don’t know that there’s any program that has been or will be in the situation that was at Kansas State at that particular time,” Snyder said. “Once again, Kansas has had some success in the past. They’re not the losing-est program in the history of college football and all that goes along with it. They’re going through some difficult times right now, but it’s not as though — no, they’re not where we were, I don’t think.
For those unfamiliar with the pre-Snyder ‘Cats, The Wizard is not far off, if at all, in his assessment.
In the 14 seasons prior to Snyder taking over in Manhattan in 1989, the Wildcats went 32-120; they won three or fewer games in 12 of those seasons, winning none or one game four times. In the four years immediately preceding Snyder’s arrival, the combined win total was three games.
The program had qualified for exactly one bowl game in its entire history dating back to its first season in 1893 — the 1992 Independence Bowl under Jim Dickey.
They were officially the losingest football program in FBS history. They were the wretched dregs of college football. They were, in fact, modern-day KU.
While their rivals have continually found a new rock bottom, K-State has found its glory days under Snyder.
When coached by Snyder, the Wildcats have a 205-109-1 record. In games not coached by Snyder, they are 318-530-40. The last 25 seasons, K-State has qualified for 18 bowl games, including a streak of eight in a row entering this season.
The last conference championship prior to Snyder was back in 1934. In Snyder’s two stints, his teams have claimed two of the program’s six conference championships.
And against his team’s in-state rival? Snyder has gone 21-4, including eight in a row. Snyder’s 21 wins in the series are nearly of the school’s total number of wins all-time in the rivalry (45).
K-State had a front-row seat into the abyss before Snyder pulled them back. Whether Kansas has, or can ultimately find, their Snyder remains to be seen. Although, they did have their Mangino before kicking him to the curb, so there’s that.