Kansas State locks up the Big 12 title and its first BCS bowl since 2004

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder can officially retire the Cotton Bowl jacket he's worn while roaming the sidelines at times this season and make room in his wardrobe for one with a BCS bowl logo on it.

Kansas State's 42-24 win over Texas clinched the Big 12 title and assured the Wildcats of a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, the guaranteed BCS destination for the winner of the Big 12.

The Kansas State Cotton Bowl jacket was from the Wildcats bowl a year ago and perhaps a reminder of how far the program had come in a short time and how close it was from making a BCS bowl.

Oklahoma, which was hoping to steal the bid with a Kansas State loss, will probably still get in the BCS as an at-large team and play in the Sugar Bowl.

For Kansas State, which barely missed out on a BCS bowl bid last year, this is a long time coming. The Wildcats haven't been to a BCS bowl since playing in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl and had had just three winning seasons prior to this year's 11-1 regular season finish.

Snyder, who was responsible for putting Kansas State on the map during his first stint as Wildcats' head coach from 1989-2005, has resurrected the program and made it one of the most formidable in the country. Remember, if it wasn't for an uncharacteristic loss to Baylor a couple weeks ago, the Wildcats would be playing for the national championship.

But the Fiesta Bowl, presumably against Oregon, will do.

Quarterback Collin Klein, who was the Heisman favorite until suffering an injury against Oklahoma State and subsequently struggling down the backstretch of the season, did his best to keep himself in the race. The first half wasn't pretty, but he more than made up for it in the second as the Wildcats outscored the Longhorns 35-14. Klein finished with 184 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and 103 rushing yards and two scores.

It might not be enough to put him back in front of either Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, the presumed frontrunners, but it's at least enough to give voters pause before they turn in their ballots Monday.

Regardless, Kansas State should enjoy this rarified air and Snyder should look forward to getting a new BCS-themed Kansas State jacket soon.

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