September 3, 2006

Wild ride starts with scare from Illinois State

It was beautiful. All of it. From the Wildcat Walk to the sight of Kansas State football players bursting through a cloud of smoke and sprinting down a redesigned ramp and onto the field. Then came kickoff. For exactly the next three hours, the new video board captured the new-look Wildcats. It was a display that left the crowd of 47,250 wishing they could turn back time.

The hype, the speeches, the open practices in fall camp and the Wildcats' intent of proving national experts wrong about those low, low, low projections for the 2006 season culminated in a front-row seat in this emotional rollercoaster that gained speed soon after fans honored Bill Snyder in a pregame ceremony Saturday evening at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Where have you gone, days of Temple, Indiana State and Northern Illinois?

By the time the wild, unpredictable ride screeched to a halt, a new sense of uneasiness -- question marks, and plenty of them -- had filled the dawn of this new era. Dizziness - what did we just see? - accompanied a performance that had befitted the previous 4-7 and 5-6 seasons. Reporters heard first-year head coach Ron Prince afterward lament, "it's hard to win."

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