Big 12 and SEC to Meet in 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl – Kansas State Preview


Big 12 and SEC to Meet in 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl – Kansas State Preview park

The Allstate Sugar Bowl secured its future through January 2026 with the announcement that it would host the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences in eight of the 12 years between 2014 and 2025. If the champion of either or both leagues is selected for the College Football Playoff, a replacement team from that conference will play in the Sugar Bowl. In the four seasons that the Sugar Bowl is not hosting the Big 12 and the SEC (2014, 2017, 2020, 2023), it will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.

After last year's Playoff Semifinal game, this year's Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the first as the official destination for the top available teams from the Big 12 and the SEC. To lead into the season, the Bowl is providing brief previews of each team in the leagues.

Kansas State University2014 Record: 9-4 (7-2, third in Big 12)

Bowl Projections
Athlon: Cactus Bowl vs. Utah
Sporting News: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Notre Dame
Phil Steele: Liberty Bowl vs. Mississippi State
ESPN (Schlabach): Liberty Bowl vs. Mississippi State
ESPN (McMurphy): Liberty Bowl vs. Arkansas
AP: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Florida State

Key Returnees
Dante Barnett (Sr., S): 77 tackles, 3 INT, 8 PBU
Charles Jones (Jr., RB): 133 carries for 540 yards, 13 TDs
Kody Cook (Sr., WR): 20 catches for 251 yards, 1 TD
Glenn Gronkowski (Sr., FB): First-team all-conference

Key Stat
Bill Snyder has averaged 8.1 victories per season during his 23-year tenure at Kansas State. In the other 96 years of Wildcat football, the program has averaged 3.3 wins per season. In addition, Snyder has led Kansas State to 16 bowl games; prior to his arrival, they advanced to just one postseason contest.

Key Early Games
Oct. 3 at Oklahoma State (Time and TV TBA): The Wildcats will be trying to get back on track after losing standout quarterback Jake Waters and star receiver Tyler Lockett to graduation. After a light non-league schedule, they jump into Big 12 play by going on the road to face the Cowboys, who are looking to make a return to the league's elite.

Oct. 10 vs. TCU (Time and TV TBA): The Wildcats had climbed to No. 7 in the nation last year, but then traveled to TCU and were upended 41-20, putting in a major crimp in their plans for a Big 12 title. Snyder and his gang will look for revenge at home this year against the Horned Frogs, who are touted as Top Five in the country by most preseason prognosticators.

Senior Spotlight
Dante Barnett (@ThatMan_DB) has registered 152 tackles and seven interceptions over the last two seasons while anchoring the Kansas State defense. A second-team All-Big 12 selection last year, the Tulsa native will serve as a team captain this year and has also been selected for the Bednarik Award Watch List as one of the top defensive players in the nation. While back in his hometown assisting with a youth clinic, Barnett told the Tulsa World newspaper, "A lot of us college athletes that are here today all grew up here around this community, so you know we always looked up to the older players. So us being in that position now, it's only right to do the right thing and give back to the kids." Click here to read the full article.

Sugar Spotlight
Kansas State is one of four Big 12 schools not to have made a trip to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. While schools have struggled in their Sugar Bowl debuts with 21 wins in 50 trips, teams nicknamed the Wildcats are perfect; unfortunately that is just a perfect 1-0 as Kentucky won its lone trip to the game in 1951.

While K-State has not appeared in the Sugar Bowl, the program does have a strong connection to New Orleans as defensive coordinator Tom Hayes was on the coaching staff at Tulane under Bob Toledo and with the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and 2007.