|Kansas State tries to maintain focus while enjoying 1st ranking since '04|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 01 October 2007 12:32|
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -With Kansas State's 41-21 victory at No. 7 Texas on Saturday, coach Ron Prince accomplished something his legendary predecessor never did.
Bill Snyder's 17 years with the Wildcats were filled with 11-win seasons, memorable bowl victories and even a Big 12 Championship in 2003. It was an era marked with success, but it never included a road win over a top-10 opponent.
The Wildcats were 0-46 in that scenario before Saturday. But the win over the Longhorns - Prince's second straight over a top-10 Texas team - broke that streak.
The upset was one of many in a wild weekend of college football that left the Top 25 looking only vaguely similar to a week ago.
No. 24 Kansas State (3-1) is one of a handful of newcomers to the poll as it heads into Saturday's matchup against in-state rival Kansas (4-0). It's the first time the Wildcats are ranked since Sept. 5, 2004.
At a news conference Monday, the players were in high spirits about the new ranking - even though some tried to play it cool.
``We're ranked?'' defensive tackle Steven Cline asked before breaking out into laughter. ``No, it's cool. I guess we're more in the spotlight and more of a target now, but it's not going to change the way we do things.''
While Kansas State's players were excited about their new ranking, they were clear about something else: It means nothing at this point.
The goal before the season was to win the Big 12 championship, and that hasn't changed. Prince said he isn't satisfied with just making it into the polls.
``As the coach, I really only care about the ranking at the end of the year,'' he said. ``I'm more interested in being able to put ourselves in a position to win championships. I do appreciate what we're saying here, and I'm not trying to be evasive on this issue. I just think that in week five or six this is not the time to be impressed with being ranked.''
There are only a few players who were around the last time Kansas State was ranked, including defensive end Ian Campbell.
He played a key role in the victory over Texas, returning an interception 41 yards for a touchdown in the first half. It was his first TD since high school, when he played on offense and defense.
For Campbell, the ranking is a big deal. But the Cimarron, Kan., native also knows it won't mean much of anything if the team follows with a loss to the Jayhawks.
``Normally the rankings don't matter a lot, but it's nice to get a little recognition,'' he said. ``(Kansas State and Kansas) is still a very big rivalry. You have players coming from the same state, brothers and sisters being different fans of K-State and KU, so it's going to have a lot of things going on.''