The University of Oregon was an equally player in cancelling the home-and-home series with
K-State, and was actually the first to alter the meeting by requesting the Wildcats reschedule
the game by pushing back the years of the games. So why is K-State taking all the bad rap?
ESPN isn’t just sports news – it’s sports entertainment. That means it feeds stereotypes and tells its audience what it wants t0 hear; telling the audience what it doesn’t want to hear would be bad for ratings. So kudos to writer ESPN Ivan Maisel for shining some light on the controversy over who killed the K-State/Oregon home-and-home series. His college football podcast may be dry as the Sahara, but he’s still got the decency to make a wrong right.
Yesterday Maisel reported on a potential hang-up for K-State: if the Wildcats and Ducks end the season undefeated, voters could punish K-State for canceling its game against Oregon and send Oregon to the national championship game. After, if the Wildcats were too scared to play the Ducks, shouldn’t Oregon be considered the superior opponent? Just one problem with this rationale: K-State didn’t go and cancel the game because it was afraid to play Oregon. As Maisel has now correctly reported, Oregon originally asked that the game be rescheduled after it agreed to a match up against LSU in 2011. K-State responded by suggesting the series be canceled in order to accommodate its new nine game conference schedule. Oregon agreed to the decision without dissent.
So who’s the culprit? There are multiple bad actors at play. It starts at the feet of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who went out and said it was K-State’s fault the game was canceled, ignoring the mutual part of the decision. How surprising – a coach is posturing and attempting to influence the media in comparing two teams similar in BCS rankings. Secondly, the collective assemblage of media and college football fans is to blame. In an attempt to reinforce the narrative that K-State only plays cupcakes every chance it gets, the media goes gaga over another example of how K-State is scared to play out-of-conference competition. Because Manhattan is to blame for Miami not putting a better product on the field.
Finally, however, K-State athletics is also to blame. This team does schedule cupcakes. The university could have postponed the game until next year, where no respectable opponent is inked on the out-of-conference schedule (the team has three home games against North Dakota State, Louisiana, and UMass). K-State loses some tremendous talent at the end of the year, and may take a step back next year. Oregon looks more ready to reload. But Daniel Sams and Tyler Lockett could still put on a helluva show, and it’s a shame EMAW nation will be deprived of this match up. Would you really prefer to watch K-State beat up on North Dakota State rather than take on Oregon in 2013?