We have a special delivery, single-topic mailbag today: Did Kansas State cancel its game with Oregon this year or was it, ahem, "mutual?"
Nathan from Kansas City writes: Kansas State "chickend out" on game with Oregon? Get your facts straight Ted...your readers deserve better.
Mike from Great Bend, Kan., writes: Sounds to me per Oregon AD that you need to get your facts straight on cancelled KSU/Oregon home and home! Mutual decision my man!
Tim from Topeka writes: Just wanted to advise you to check your facts about before you spout off about KSU chickening out. Oregon was the one that asked to get out of the game. If you don't believe me ask Ivan Maisel. He said the same thing till he researched it and then corrected it the next day. I'll be looking for your apology on line.
Ted Miller: Before I answer these questions/statements of "fact"-- a small sampling of popular sentiments from our Kansas State friends -- it seems like a good time to tell you about something else: My date with Madonna in 1984.
We were going to go out -- movie, pizza -- on a Friday, but I had to call here on a Tuesday to tell her my grandmama was sick and required me to feed her chicken soup that night. I asked to reschedule for Saturday.
Madonna: Can't do it. Busy.
Madonna: Washing my hair.
Me: Any day this year?
Madonna: Booked. Sorry.
I later explained to my friends that we mutually agreed not to go out.
Nathan, Mike and Tim: Funny you guys should write. Remember that time we were all out in Brazil and that dude bumped into us and didn't say, "Excuse me?"
Nathan: Sir, I will have know you have been rude to the finest and toughest Kansas State fans there are. We surely now must schedule a showdown for tomorrow at high noon. Just who do you think you are?
Anderson Silva: My name is Anderson Silva. See you tomorrow.
Alas, Silva called and said he was running late for the high noon showdown. He offered to meet at any other time, but Nathan, Mike, Tim and I, after availing ourselves of a fancy new thing called "Google," suddenly were very busy.
Of course, the cancelation of the fight was mutual.
It seems that many Kansas State fans are trying to muddy the waters of something that ACTUALLY HAPPENED with extraneous details. Namely this from Ivan Maisel's "Three-point stance."
Oregon executive assistant AD Dave Williford told me that when the 2011 Cowboys Classic offered a slot against LSU, Oregon asked Kansas State to reschedule. Kansas State, needing to go to a nine-game Big 12 schedule, said, let’s just call off the home-and-home, and Oregon agreed. Parse that as you will.
The operative word there is "parse."
What ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Oregon asked to reschedule the series. Kansas State said no. Oregon wanted to play. Kansas State did not. And, no, everyone who knows anything about college football knows that "schedule's full!" line is just a cop-out.
It was "mutual" only in the idea that Oregon acted in a businesslike and collegial fashion, as schools are wont to do in these situations. Know, by the way, that there was some grumpiness behind the scenes on the Oregon end because it left the Ducks scrambling to fill out their schedule. It's simply not de rigueur among athletic directors to tweak other schools on the record about scheduling issues.
Further, there is some irony in this response from our friends at Kansas State when you consider what Oregon was doing: The Ducks wanted to reschedule a series with Kansas State in order to add a game with LSU.
The Ducks wanted to make things tougher on themselves, thereby giving Kansas State an exit strategy to do the opposite.
Further, Pac-12 fans surely got a kick out of the "needing to go to a nine-game Big 12 schedule" excuse. As if that were a revolutionary concept, one that proves Big 12 -- and by extension, Kansas State -- robustness.
Welcome to our world, Big 12. The Pac-10 and now Pac-12 has been playing nine conference games since 2006. Yet teams like Oregon -- and just about every other Pac-12 program -- still actively seeks out tough nonconference foes. Thirteen of the Pac-12’s 34 nonconference opponents have been from a BCS AQ or Independent conferences.
What's the nonconference schedule in the Big 12 look like this year? Just six of the Big 12’s 29 nonconference opponents were from BCS AQ or Independent conferences.
I realize we live in an age of spin. The word "facts" and term "fact checking" now are often used cynically as weapons to mislead, remove context or just restate anything in a way that suits an agenda.
I also understand fandom, which supports the home team, right or wrong. I realize Kansas State fans are just trying to defend the program they love from an embarrassing bit of reality. It's not like Kansas State broke a law or did something corrupt. This has become a news item only because of surprising circumstances: The Wildcats and Ducks are both unbeaten, national title contenders jockeying for poll position.
But there is a reality here, folks. Kansas State did explicitly and without question decide not to play Oregon when Oregon still wanted to play.
In conclusion, at least we can all agree that Madonna really blew an opportunity, right?