We know how this story ends...
We were on our way to Waco, TX to report on #1 Kansas State visiting the Baylor Bears, a team ranked dead last (120th in FBS) in total defense and not generating even the smallest amount of praise from its local fan base. In the post-RG3 era, Waco is 'The Sandlot' after Benny 'The Jet' Rodriguez moved on to better things.
A 50-foot high RG3 face is posterized on the side of the stadium, a massive remembrance of victories gone by, and not likely to return. So far, all the team had produced this year in terms of quality wins was a 47-42 victory at Louisiana-Monroe in Week 3. Every Big 12 team had handled the Bears ** in 2012 and K-State was certainly the most likely team to follow suit. (**- Denotes any situation meaning "except Kansas Football")
So imagine the surprise when Baylor shot out to a 28-7 lead in the first half, everyone thinking the Wildcats were just waiting to strike, but from the sidelines it was evident: Kansas State was being out-played and worse, out-coached. There may be no greater blasphemy in this state than to speak ill of Bill Snyder, and I am not. But watching him pace the sidelines with a thousand things on his to-do list was insanely stressful. He gave tongue-lashings to officials, confronted his assistant coaches for not making adjustments to his liking, particularly on defense, and just seemed out of character.
That notion would receive additional emphasis when the game was over, 52-24 on the scoreboard, and a Baylor student who was charging the field to celebrate the victory stopped Snyder on his way to the locker room. He said something that I couldn't make out, but it seemed to be the words of a drunken fraternity pledge, and caused one assistant coach to push the kid away from Snyder and back toward the field. Whatever he said to Snyder likely would've caused the entire Kansas State student body to storm the gates of Floyd Casey Stadium, but the last thing people would expect would be Snyder telling his coaching staff to go find that kid, bring him back to the head coach, and let the two of them hash it out right there on the field. Maybe Snyder just wanted to tell the kid to respect his elders and not necessarily bring him to his knees to kiss some white Nike casuals. But after a brief moment of thought, he turned and they pushed forward to the locker room.
The Wildcats were vocal with the media about being out of character in the loss. Snyder and his team couldn't stop that mentality from toppling the dreams of an undefeated season and a national championship, but anyone could argue no state of mind could have made much of a difference against that Baylor team on that certain night. The entire game seemed out of K-State control. And even afterward, upon the approach of a rude Baylor fan, that remained the same.
We hear a lot about the heat of battle in sports. We saw Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville go after his own assistant during the Kansas game the week before, claiming the heat of battle moved him to make a bad decision. Not that Snyder's situation was the same, but it goes to show that even the best men can make calls out of anger, like the rest of us. I feel like I would have reacted the exact same way, and most others would as well.
The real lesson is in the old adage my father always taught me: "You win with class, and you lose with class." In that moment between Snyder and the fan, both parts of that saying were tested. Kansas State moved ahead to the locker room and faced the national media, with Snyder taking responsibility upon himself for the loss. Somewhere in Waco, that student is likely still celebrating that Baylor victory, and will realize that he did nothing but take away from the win with his actions. As for Snyder, he reacted to the heat of the battle, but it took all of 5 seconds to take away a victory from that field. It will not be reflected on any scoreboard, but for a man who is interested first and foremost in mentoring his players to become good men, that game may teach them more than any victory would have. Even for the head coach.
On second thought, we do not know how this story ends. So many victories within each loss are hidden, and continue to reward those who stand up for honor, integrity, and responsiblity. In that aspect, Kansas State is still absolutely undefeated.