In the 20 seasons from 1971-90, Kansas State football had one winning season (6-5-1), one bowl trip (Independence) and a combined record of 56-162-1.
In the same 20 seasons, TCU football had two winning seasons (6-4-1, 8-4), one bowl trip (Bluebonnet) and a combined record of 61-154-4.
Heck, throw in Northwestern (42-175-3, one winning season), and you know it didn't pay to wear purple in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
But that was then. In recent years, TCU has contended for a national title, and now unbeaten K-State does the same, with its game Saturday at the Frogs representing the best chance for someone to knock off the Wildcats.
First, we don't know if Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein will play, after suffering an apparent concussion last week against OSU. And second, TCU is a resilient and tough program under Gary Patterson.
The Frogs are 6-3 overall, 3-3 in their first year in the Big 12. They've weathered the loss of quarterback Casey Paschall and a triple-overtime loss to Texas Tech.
If nothing else, the Frogs are tough. You know. Like that other purple team in the Big 12.
“They try to make you say no mas,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said of KSU, his alma mater. “They come right at you on both sides and on special teams. It's not basketball, they play football. They're going to hit you in the mouth in all three phases. When we've won championships, we came right at you.”
Of course, there's a difference between Collin Klein coming right at you and Daniel Sams coming right at you. Sams is the KSU backup quarterback, a redshirt freshman who weighs about 25 pounds less than Klein and it looks like 125.
“I've been around the guy for two years now,” said KSU tailback Angelo Pease. “I see what he can do and know what he can do. I put my trust in him. He can make all the throws Collin make.”
That may be. But Klein is the Heisman favorite not because he's Peyton Manning. Klein is America's sweetheart because he's a single-wing throwback. A good passer who can bounce off defenders and run like a tailback. Collin Klein is Tim Tebow, except without all that Florida talent around him.
So the ‘Cats need Klein. Without him, this game becomes a purple mosh pit of two tough teams.