KSU schedules Tennessee Tech, but look who it avoided

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas State announced Monday it had filled its 2009 schedule with a game Sept. 26 against FCS representative Tennessee Tech.

While it might not rank with finding a new offensive coordinator or a quarterback, I'm betting that Bill Snyder has a certain amount of relief after filling the last scheduling hole.

And considering Snyder's rebuilding plans, Coach Watson Brown's Golden Eagles are probably a safe choice. Tech finished the season on a seven-game losing streak and finished last season ranked 100th or worse in six major team categories. Including in that grouping was 117th (next to last nationally) in turnover margin, 108th nationally in scoring defense and punt returns, 105th in rushing defense and pass efficiency defense and 100th in total defense.

According to the Web site Nationalchamps.net, the Wildcats were among nine FBS teams that still need an opponent to fill their 2009 schedule.

The others include Akron, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Houston, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi and Rutgers.

While I would assume that some of these teams could hook up to fill their schedules, it was understandable why Kansas State and Snyder were very judicious in who they ended up playing. And that's on top of the Wildcats' already difficult road trip scheduled at UCLA and Snyder's traditional hesistancy in scheduling too many tough games before conference play begins.

Here's how I ranked the eight remaining FBS teams as far as attractiveness to appear on Kansas State;s schedule.

1. Akron (Mid American): Could have been the ideal team to finish the schedule -- if Snyder wants to schedule another FBS foe. The Zips ranked 90th or worse nationally in every major defensive team statistic. Akron was 115th nationally in sacks and 100th in tackles for losses. Does that sound comforting considering the Wildcats will be breaking in a new quarterback? You bet.

2. Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt): Howard Schnellenberger's Owls might have been another attractive opponent, but it's doubtful they were willing to travel to the Little Apple. FAU already has road games against Nebraska, UAB and South Carolina to start the season.

3. Louisville (Big East): The heat is on Steve Kragthorpe and quarterback Hunter Cantwell is gone. But the two teams have played in each of the last two seasons, making a rematch for a third-straight season less than attractive.

4. Arkansas State (Sun Belt): The Red Wolves are expected to challenge for their conference championship this season. But Snyder likely asked Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman about the sagacity of scheduling them. Arkansas State already has tough road games against Iowa and Nebraska next season, probably making them leery about another road trip.

5. Rutgers (Big East): Rutgers QB Mike Teel is gone and the Scarlet Knights' defense has some holes, but stopping running threat Kordell Young would have proved to be a problem for most defenses -- including the Wildcats.

6. Kentucky (Southeastern): It would have been an interesting battle between two veteran coaches like Rich Brooks and Snyder. But Brooks' development of the Wildcats' program is a little more advanced than what the new Kansas State coach will be inheriting.

7. Houston (Conference USA): I'm thinking that Chris Cosh's defense might not be quite ready to face Case Keenum and the Cougars' strong passing attack -- at least this season.

8. Mississippi (Southeastern): Trust me, Snyder wanted nothing to do with Jevan Snead, Greg Hardy or the other Rebels.

There's no wonder why Tennessee Tech looked a lot better to Snyder than any of the available FBS teams he could have scheduled.