Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college football (rebuilding materials sold separately in Provo, where BYU is a nine-loss team for the first time since 1955):
FOURTH QUARTER: BILL SNYDER’S LAST HOME HURRAH?
Kansas State plays its regular-season finale Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and after that it will be time for the annual speculation about the future of the building’s namesake. Bill Snyder (33) is 78 years old, coming off a cancer battle and is completing his 26th season as the patriarch of K-State football. He has taken the Wildcats to 18 of their 20 bowl games in program history — which is as good a reason as any that his name is on the stadium.
Could this be the year Snyder finally steps down? There has been speculation within the industry that this is it, but no strong information — and Snyder himself certainly isn’t saying anything to indicate he’s about ready to hang it up. So it will be wait-and-see time again.
In previous years, Snyder tried to get the K-State administration to sign off on a succession plan that would elevate his son, special teams coach Sean Snyder, to replace his father. The school was understandably lukewarm at best on that idea. After a near-complete turnover in athletic leadership at the school, that would again seem like a difficult sell.
Even if Snyder can’t rig the job for his son, he would undoubtedly have input on whoever does replace him. Among the many coaches who have worked under Snyder over the years, Bret Bielema could be available soon. Would he be a good hire at K-State coming off a dismal tenure at Arkansas? Only if he could regain the touch he had at Wisconsin.
And, again, there is no guarantee Bill Snyder is going anywhere. He has to step down before anyone else can step in.
OTHER CURRENT COACHES WHO ARE THE BEST IN THE HISTORY OF THEIR SCHOOL
Snyder is the only coach in the past 83 years to compile a winning record at Kansas State, making him far and away the best coach in the history of their program. And among active Power Five conference coaches, that’s a really short list. The rest of it:
Gary Patterson (34), TCU. Yes, Dutch Meyer won a national title there in 1938 — but that was 1938. Patterson is by far TCU’s all-time leader in wins with 158, 49 more than Meyer. With a victory this weekend he will have an 11th season of at least 10 wins, and will remain in the hunt for a second Big 12 championship. Coupled with the facility building of his athletic director, Chris Del Conte, Patterson’s work has made TCU a destination job.
Kirk Ferentz (35), Iowa. If the Hawkeyes beat Nebraska this week and win their bowl game, Ferentz will tie Hayden Fry as the winningest coach in school history — with no indication that he’s stopping anytime soon. Ferentz has coached five top-10 Iowa teams to Fry’s two, and has had five non-winning seasons to Fry’s seven. Despite all that, Ferentz remains wildly overpaid — but he’s the best they’ve had in Iowa City.
David Shaw (36), Stanford. Saturday night he became the winningest coach in school history, and this year marks Shaw’s fifth in seven seasons capturing at least a share of the Pac-12 North title. His teams have finished in the USA Today top 10 four times. The Cardinal has been to four Rose Bowls in the past 45 years, and Shaw was the coach in three of them.
Pat Fitzgerald (37), Northwestern. No, he hasn’t worked a certified miracle the way Gary Barnett did in 1995, taking the Purple to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. But Fitzgerald has produced the consistency that Barnett couldn’t. Fitz is 10 games above .500 and only three below .500 in the Big Ten; Barnett was 10 games below .500 in both. After a disappointing start to this season, the current Wildcats are 8-3 and on a six-game winning streak.
COACH WHO EARNED HIS COMP CAR THIS WEEK
Mark Whipple (38), Massachusetts. The school’s decision to move up to FBS in 2012 has been an unmitigated bust, with a 10-50 record coming into this season and then an 0-6 start in 2017. But Whipple, who formerly won big at UMass when it was an FCS school, has turned a corner in recent weeks — the Minutemen have won four of their past five games, highlighted by an upset of BYU in Provo on Saturday. Yes, this is the worst BYU team in more than 60 years — but when you are UMass, that’s a landmark victory.
COACH WHO SHOULD TAKE THE BUS TO WORK
Kyle Whittingham (39), Utah. His Utes and Washington were locked in a tie game in the final half-minute Saturday night, and the Huskies appeared content to run the clock out on regulation and play for overtime after a first-down run on the Utes’ 28-yard line netted two yards. But Whittingham bizarrely called timeout, even though he only had two remaining and could not have forced a punt if Washington ran the ball three times. The Huskies took advantage of the extra time and went to the air, completing two passes to get into range for the winning field goal. Whittingham was still defending the decision as of Monday, but his logic wasn’t compelling. It was a bad decision that helped cost his team the game and potentially a bowl bid, depending how the 5-6 Utes do against Colorado this week.
When hungry in College Station, Texas, there is only one choice for cuisine: barbecue. And The Dash suggests a visit to Rudy’s (40), where the brisket and sausage are up to high Texas standards. Accompany it with a Shiner Holiday Cheer to complete the meal. Like most Texas beers, it’s not the most flavorful beer — but the taste is interesting, if not powerful, and it’s time for the holiday beers to roll in. Thank The Dash later — maybe with a six-pack of your favorite holiday brew.