Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Football Has Goal of Big 12 Title within Reach

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

K-State Football Has Goal of Big 12 Title within Reach

Article excerpt

MANHATTAN -- It's the common goal set by 10 teams as the season begins, but realistic for only a few: Win the Big 12 football championship.

As the conference season comes to an end Saturday, three teams have that goal within reach with Kansas State, Baylor and TCU tied with 7-1 records. A head-to-head confrontation between K-State and Baylor will give one of those two no worse than a share of title, with TCU facing last-place Iowa State.

"The coaches say the biggest goal is win the Big 12 and be the best in our conference," Wildcats cornerback Morgan Burns said Tuesday. "If we achieve that goal the rest will take care of itself, so this is the first goal we have on our list."

The No. 9 Wildcats (9-2) go for their second Big 12 title in three years when they play the No. 5 Bears (10-1) at 6:45 p.m. Saturday in Waco, Texas.

"It would be the highest, the best thing I've done," said K- State quarterback Jake Waters, who won a junior college national championship in 2012 at Iowa Western. "When I came here I wanted to win a championship and we have that opportunity. This is what you play for."

With the Bears in the hunt for the College Football Playoff, it's a role reversal from 2012 when K-State suffered its first loss of the season in Week 11 at Baylor and was knocked out of the national championship picture.

"It is in the back of our minds, just having that bad taste in your mouth thinking about how we wish it would have gone," said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. "I think we learned a lot from that, but it's been a while and we're just focusing on Saturday."

K-State and Oklahoma were Big 12 co-champions in 2012 -- the Wildcats earning the BCS bid to the Fiesta Bowl by beating the Sooners -- and Baylor was the 2013 conference champion. The Bears and Wildcats were picked second and third, respectively, in this year's preseason coaches poll behind Oklahoma.

"That's not something I think about," K-State coach Bill Snyder said when asked if he thought this was a championship caliber team when the season began. …

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