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Posted on Wed, Oct. 20, 2004

Husker lineman's verbal jab has them talking at K-State


There might not be a national ranking involved, but trash talk has not departed Kansas State's rivalry with Nebraska.

On Sunday, Cornhuskers defensive tackle LeKevin Smith took the first shot. He told the Lincoln Journal-Star that K-State is a team the Huskers "want to beat and beat badly" after the Wildcats have thumped them in two straight games.

"This year, it's going to be a whole different story," Smith said. "We plan to go down there and just lay into them with a big stick."

That's the line that was buzzing around K-State's Vanier Sports Complex Tuesday.

"I hope we can have security pat him down before he takes the field," defensive ends coach Joe Bob Clements said jokingly.

Right tackle Jeromey Clary was trying to be anything but humorous while responding.

"Nebraska's Nebraska," he said. "They've always had a swagger about them, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if they want to make challenges out there, we're open to any challenges they want to make. I'm not afraid, and this team's not afraid.

"We just went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 team in the country and landed our punches. We just couldn't land that final blow."

Meier questionable -- K-State coach Bill Snyder was giving no hints Tuesday about the availability of quarterback Dylan Meier. With seven minutes remaining in Saturday's loss to Oklahoma, Meier was sidelined by a sandwiching hit to the head.

He spent the rest of the game groggy on the sideline. Seven minutes into his news conference, Snyder was asked if Meier would start.

"I should have opened this conference by saying, 'My answers to the first three questions would be: I don't know, I don't know and Excuse me, but I don't think I'll share that with you,' " Snyder said. "That's one of those questions that fits with those answers."

There are other health concerns Snyder wouldn't comment on Tuesday. Middle linebacker Ted Sims sat out the OU game after getting knocked unconscious a week earlier. Matt Butler, who had been starting at middle linebacker in Sims place, also did not play due to injury.

On Sunday, Snyder said Sims would play against Nebraska but only said of Butler, "He's not as healthy as we'd like him to be."

Defensive end Scott Edmonds also was injured during the OU game. Asked if one of his three answers applied to Edmonds, Snyder said that was the case.

Top-10 teams, sort of -- SI.com senior writer Mike Fish recently listed his 10 most disappointing college football teams this season, and he included K-State and Nebraska.

The others were Central Florida, Clemson, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Washington.

Of the Wildcats, Fish's comments included, "Losing to Kansas was too much like old times, and wasn't diminutive running back Darren Sproles a Heisman Trophy favorite?"

Of the Cornhuskers, Fish asked, "Would Southern Miss have strolled out of Lincoln with a win if Tom Osborne were still in charge? Or even Frank Solich?"

Sneak peek -- The K-State men's basketball team will have an open scrimmage starting at noon Saturday. Fans can enter Bramlage Coliseum through the northwest doors at 11:45 p.m.

The Nebraska-KSU football game kicks off at 1:10 p.m.

Tough gig -- Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg will serve as coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series for the next two seasons. His first real week on the job could have been better.

After Southern California, ranked first in both major polls, was left out of the BCS championship last season, the system was simplified in hopes of preventing that from happening. But when this season's first BCS standings were released Monday, Oklahoma was third despite being second in both polls.

"I think there's a little bit of irony there," Weiberg said.

Miami, fourth in the AP poll, is second because the computer polls averaged out with OU ranked fifth. That put Weiberg in defense mode from the beginning of his teleconference Monday. He quickly pointed out that the top two teams in the first BCS standings have never finished the season still in those spots. And he explained the Sooners' low standing with the computers by noting that OU has played only one true road game and Miami has beaten two highly ranked teams in Florida State and Louisville.

Most of all, Weiberg emphasized the Sooners' computer ranking will likely not remain at No. 5 should they stay undefeated.

"I think it's very unlikely that it would hold up through the season," he said.


Jeffrey Parson covers K-State and the Big 12. Reach him at 268-6398 or jparson@wichitaeagle.com.

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