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August 25, 2013

Robert's Words: Undefeated Disaster & Denial

Just great to be back in the saddle again. This season has so much promise. Thank you all for being such awesome Wildcats. See you at the Second Rose Bowl on 1/6/14. Anyone? EMAW! Now let's cut to the chase with a new edition of Robert's World.

Undefeated Disaster

Here is exactly what I have been chomping at the bit about the last nine months. Any football team always spends countless hours of tireless conditioning, preparation, commitment, dedication and hard work just so it can be the very best it can possibly be and overachieve. When teams do all of these things, chances are they will wind up undefeated.

In K-State's case, it's just going to happen. But when the team finally accomplishes and overachieves to exactly where they want to be at, as the season wears on, remaining undefeated erodes their foundation. The team's performance deteriorates without them ever even being aware of it, more so after each win, until total collapse very late in the season. Teams that are so mighty and powerful in September and October drop like flies if they are still undefeated by late November or early December.

Examples include KSU vs. Texas A&M in 1998, OU vs. KSU in 2003, Alabama vs. Texas A&M and KSU vs. Baylor in 2012. Sometimes a team is just extremely lucky to survive undefeated late in the season. Examples include 1998 Tennessee vs. Arkansas when the Razorbacks tried to do something fancy with the football instead of just taking another knee during the victory formation.

Also 2012 Notre Dame vs. Pitt when the Panthers missed a chip shot field goal in the last seconds about the same distance as a PAT. Remaining undefeated becoming a liability has been the tendency in the BCS conferences for 1.5 decades. Before the BCS the further back you went the less difficulty undefeated teams had remaining undefeated late in the season.

How does the BCS era compare to 1971 when teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma got even stronger as the season wore on instead of dropping like flies during the BCS era. The only way to explain it is that during the BCS era, the longer a team remains undefeated the more it creates a destructive distraction that sets in without the team ever even being aware of it, until total collapse.

Teams can't totally focus on practice, mindset and preparation like early in the season. Sometimes a team will take a few moments to marvel at their accomplishment, read their press clippings then just sit on their accomplishment This is also very destructive as well. Exactly why did going undefeated strengthen and fortify teams four decades ago vs. now. Anyone?

Since the BCS era began, I noticed that just remaining undefeated by late November creates a distraction that builds and disrupts the teams preparation more so after each win. Unlike in September, the fans and the team starts desperately pressing just to survive the last one or two games left. So what can we do?

Let's start with how undefeated teams strengthened late in the season four decades ago. It's how many high school and juco teams can remain undefeated today. The longer they stay undefeated, the more anxious and excited they are approaching practice after each win. They focus even harder in practice. They become even more selfishly desperate to stay on top.

All of the anticipation and excitement creates even more momentum like a snowball rolling off a mountain. They enjoy the ride more so as the team progressively solidifies and gels after each win. That is exactly how Nebraska and Oklahoma did it in 1971. Also they took so much pride in themselves and their accomplishment that it was just not possible for their momentum to slow down.

If your football team works so hard so much for so long to accomplish and overachieve then they will wind up undefeated. That's just gonna happen. But if remaining undefeated always creates a destructive distraction they cannot overcome then everything they are doing for so many months is just a complete waste of their time.

Allowing accomplishment to become a deterrent is a total contradiction. It has nothing whatsoever to do with scholarship numbers allowed between now and decades ago. It is all a mindset. Successful accomplishment always starts with pride. If your football team can take as much pride in themselves and their accomplishment throughout the season as the 1971 Nebraska and Oklahoma teams did, then if injuries, illness and luck are not factors in any way, we should expect your football team to become even stronger and more solidified after each win if undefeated late November. Otherwise just like 11/17/12 at Baylor they are deliberately violating three of the 16 goals for success. They put self-limitations on themselves, did not show improvement and accepted defeat.

Remember remaining undefeated can either be a destructive distraction or a powerful momentum builder. It is either one or the other, never both. There is precious little difference between the two extremes.

I will be carefully watching the progress (or lack of) as the season wears on if your football team is undefeated by later November. Each year Bill Snyder avails me the privilege to speak to the team the Monday before a game of my choice after practice. If undefeated again later November I will address this issue with the team. I will lay out the entire nine yards for them exactly as explained here.

I will expect your Wildcats team to respond because I will tell them to take enough pride in themselves to allow being a national championship contender to become an asset instead of a liability. I just will not accept anything less otherwise addressing your team on Monday after going 10-0 or 11-0 will be just a complete waste of my time.

I will expect your football team and coaches to never accept anything less than remaining undefeated otherwise they are violating the 16 goals for success on the locker room wall. You should never accept anything less. If I accept anything less, then the last 4 decades I spent here following Wildcats was all just a complete waste of my time.

Retirement Denial
As expected you are in total denial of the worst possible consequences when Supercoach must retire again. It is just too unbearable to think about. Just like three decades ago you did not even want to consider the unthinkable when Jack Hartman retires and/or KU replaces Ted Owens. It was at that time when Jack was beating Ted more often when Monte Johnson dropped Jim Rome's hammer on Ted Owens.

The worst possible reality did occur. There was just nothing you could do about it. We are still suffering the hard consequences of that to this day. The total number of wins you had against KU in (mens') basketball since 1983 you can count them all on your fingers without using up both hands.

Despite the criticism when he let Francisco Martin walk to South Carolina, John Currie is the best athletic director we ever had. Still there is no absolute guarantee that John can even come close to finding a coach that could be near as great as Bill was. It's all about timing.

Suppose when Bill hangs it up again the best possible prospective coach available at that time is only as good as Charlie Weis. Finding an adequate coach is not a matter of if Bill retires but when Bill retires. Also please do not rule out the possibility of KU replacing Charles Weis with another Nick Saban in his 30s.

Now consider if Stan Parrish somehow lasted another year, would Bill Snyder still be available to us in 1989. Pumping sunshine will not change anything once Bill retires again any more than being in denial of what was to come as of 11/30/88. Coaches like Bill Snyder and Jack Hartman only come around just once in your lifetime.

So when you arrive at Kansas Memorial Stadium on 11/30 you MUST value a win, any kind of win, just like you would a win over KU in basketball. Otherwise being there is just a complete waste of your time. Just like three decades ago you just cannot rule out anything. You cannot change or control anything that will happen after Bill must retire for good.

Right now most likely K-State football is living on borrowed time. Please copy out this article and put it in a safe place. Chances are three decades from now you will look at this article again with tears in your eyes. Please fellow Wildcats, enjoy what you have.

George Schultz and Scott Mortimer
These two men always help me with $ to travel to the far away games for the wildcats. It all started when George Schultz offered to help me with $ for the '10 final 16 at Salt Lake City while visiting at the team hotel at Oklahoma City. Then he provided me $ for the '11 regionals at Tucson and the '11 baseball regionals at Fullerton. While visiting his tailgate, Scott Mortimer offered to give me $ for the then upcoming '11 Miami game at Sun Life Stadium. Then offered George and Scott to split the $ to me for the Miami trip.

George and Scott have since teamed up with $ for trips to the Oregon game at the Fiesta Bowl and the baseball Super Regional at Oregon State's Goss Stadium. Should you bump into George Schultz or Scott Mortimer someday, please thank them for helping me make some of the trips I couldn't have gone to for your wildcats.

Tailgating 2013
I always look forward to visiting the Purple community each season. The game on the field is like watching paint drying compared to visiting the tailgate festival even if we are blowing out the Crimson Tide

As always, I visit one side only per game before and after the game. I always visit the other two sides only after the senior day game. I always go exact opposite from pregame procedure after each game on bicycle. The three sides are the east side paved stadium lot, the west side paved stadium lot and all of the grass and satellite lots.

I always start east and west sides about 2.75 hours before kickoff. Always start grass about four hours before kickoff. I only visit the tailgates that recognize me and invite me over. Can't stay long. So many tailgates.

The bag is only to put offerings by some of the tailgates. I never ask for anything at any tailgate. I never visit a tailgate looking for handouts. Only those few tailgates per side that always offer me go in the bag. My sole purpose for visiting tailgates is to experience your special enthusiasm for the wildcats. Here is the schedule.

8/30 vs. the Bison: Grass and satellite lots. Start at Denison, west to agronomy then east side grass to rec center.

9/7 vs. the Cajuns: West side paved stadium lot. Start at Kimball, south to cat town.

9/14 vs. the Minutemen: East side paved stadium lot. Start at south end, north to Kimball.

10/12 vs. the Bears: Grass and satellite lots. Start at rec center to east grass then agronomy to Denison.

10/26 vs. the Mountaineers: West side paved stadium lot. Start at Cat Town north to Kimball.

11/2 vs the Cyclones: East side paved stadium lot. Start at Kimball, south to Bramlage.

11/6 vs the Horned Frogs: Grass and satellite lots. Start at Denison, west to agronomy then east grass to rec center.

11/23 vs the Sooners: West side paved stadium lot. Start at Kimball, south to cat town.

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Lipson, known as the K-State Super Fan, is a sales representative for Brown & Bigelow, Inc., a manufacture of advertising calendars and a distributor of advertising specialties, promotional products, gifts and awards. Please e-mail him at robertcatpower@hotmail.com for help with your holiday cards, calendars and promotional items such as pens.

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