If you enjoy conspiracy theories, put on your tinfoil hat.
I’ve got a good one for you.
Every year since 2006, when Texas goes on the road at Kansas State, the Wildcats have swapped out the Gatorade on the Longhorns sideline and replaced it with a debilitating Purple Potion.
I know this has to be true, because when I went to look for the box scores to try and find a common trend, or some sort of statistic in these losses at the “Little Apple” that could sum up why Texas has had miserable luck in Manhattan over the last 16 years, they were nowhere to be found.
It’s a cover up! After all, isn’t Bill Snyder a wizard?
Or — and hear me out — Kansas State just simply shows up with an unimaginable amount of fire and desire every time one of college football’s most winningest programs comes to town.
At Monday’s weekly press conference Tom Herman summed it up best:
“You put all that together — well-coached team that plays hard, that plays smart and they’ve got a raucous fan base that shows up regardless of weather, regardless of record, regardless of any of that — and that makes (Manhattan) a difficult place to play,” Herman said.
Texas’ inability to win at Kansas State ever since a 17-14 victory in 2002 is one of college football’s most incredible did-you-know facts. But even then, even when you say it out loud “Texas has not won at Kansas State since 2002” it still doesn’t resonate in the appropriate manner.
Therefore, you have to include small notes, small notes like the fact that the Big 12 Newcomer of The Week, freshman safety Caden Sterns, was just a two-year-old the last time the Longhorns left Manhattan with a win. Or, as KVUE’s Shawn Clynch tweeted on Tuesday, little nuggets of information such as where Texas offensive lineman Patrick Vahe was the last time Texas beat Kansas State in Manhattan — he was living in Salt Lake City learning how to speak English.
What becomes even more mind numbing is the simple fact that, as I stated before, there’s no real rhyme or reason, or common statistic in the losses on the road at Kansas State. If anything, chalk up the losses to Herman’s rationalization, which was a part of the aforementioned response from Monday’s press conference when he was asked whether he has ever experienced something like what Texas has endured at Kansas State since 2002, and why is it so hard to win in Manhattan.
“It’s usually the places that have really good teams that are — and really good coaches that are hard to (beat on the road).”
Since 2006, the Longhorns have never faced a Kansas State team below .500 when visiting Manhattan, and they’ve endured everything from blowouts to shutouts to close losses.
- 2006: K-State (6-4 at the time), 45-42 final
- 2010: K-State (5-3 at the time), 39-14 final
- 2012: K-State (10-1 at the time), 42-24 final
- 2014: K-State (5-1 at the time), 23-0 final
- 2016: K-State (3-3 at the time), 24-21 final
Diving into these losses, anyone who watched the games should know of some of the bad breaks Texas has suffered. Colt McCoy’s injury in 2006, Texas’ abysmal 2010 campaign just one season removed from playing for a national championship — there’s plenty to go around when it comes to making sense of the winless drought in Manhattan, Kansas.
The biggest takeaway heading into this weekend’s game at Kansas State should have Longhorns fans feeling optimistic. Not since Texas visited Manhattan in 2012 have the Longhorns been ranked, and some might even have a case to make the argument that Texas hasn’t arrived in Manhattan with this much momentum in any of the previous five trips.
Then again, Tom Herman doesn’t believe in momentum. I wonder if he believes in the purple potion conspiracy?
Whatever the case, I believe the facts on paper will translate to the game and give Texas its first win in Manhattan since 2002. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor, which is based on its Football Power Index, or FPI, has Texas at an 81.4 percent win probability on Saturday.
For Texas fans, let’s hope that 81.4 percent is at a solid 100 after four quarters. A win Saturday officially eliminates conspiracy theories, bad luck, and whatever else has plagued the Longhorns. But most of all, it sends Texas into Red River Rivalry week at 4-1, making the matchup with Oklahoma the first time both teams have entered the game ranked since 2012.
In the meantime, here is a list of life as it was in 2002.
- Cost of a gallon of gas: $1.61
- President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security
- Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” was Billboard No. 1 in 2002
- Spider Man topped the Box Office at $403.7 million
- Marshall Faulk graced the cover of EA Sports Madden 2003
- Oregon’s Joey Harrington was on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2003
- The Blackberry, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox original game console, debuted in 2002
- The original iPod was only a year old
- Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube did not exist
- iPhones were still five years from debuting
- Texas and Texas A&M still played one another
- AP Top 10 on Oct. 19, 2002:
- Virginia Tech
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Iowa State
- Washington State