December 27, 2006

Cats may benefit from focus on bowl

HOUSTON - Excuse Ron Prince for his unbridled joy. Kansas State's first-year head coach is not one to celebrate a 7-5 record or simply the act of making a bowl. He expects more from his program in the future. However, when he does have a 7-5 record, playing in the Houston-based Texas Bowl against a 10-2 and No. 16-ranked Rutgers team sounds just fine to him.

"This has been very important to us. When the pairings were matched, the only word I could use was perfect. You're deep here in the heart of Football USA. For this conference, this is really a hotbed. So many of these players have been contacted and influenced by what happens here," Prince said. "More importantly to be in an NFL city, an NFL venue and to be on the NFL Network and have the opportunity to really spread the word of K-State football nationally, you're always looking for those sort of opportunities in the bowl season.

"Any time you have the chance to have your brand behind those talking heads on television, that can mean so many things for the future and even right now, so our obligation is to go out in the game and play well and to win. We're not just encouraged to be in the postseason, we're excited about the bowl. We're really excited about the opponent. We think this will be a great chance for us. We anticipate playing well and winning the game."

Well, Coach, the game is nearly here. The Cats will kick off with Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

And it's a whopper of a test for Prince's Wildcats. Coach Greg Schiano's Scarlet Knights were on the verge of playing in a BCS game, but lost two of their final three games of the season to land with a thud in Houston.

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