- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MANHATTAN, KAN. (AP) - Maybe Kansas State’s marching band should forgo its traditional “Wabash Cannonball” for something more fitting, such as “So long, it’s been good to know you.”

At Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Thursday night, the dying hours of a 99-year relationship will start running out.

Among other things for Kansas State (4-0), the nationally televised game is a chance to jump high into the rankings and give running back Daniel Thomas‘ Heisman hopes a boost. For seventh-ranked and Big Ten-bound Nebraska (4-0), it’s the first leg in a not-so-fond farewell tour of Big 12 schools the Huskers are leaving behind.

Expecting a huge crowd, Kansas State warned fans to arrive early.

Maybe Nebraska needs a warning, too.

More than 50,000 resentful Kansans will occupy those seats, most of them fully aware that Nebraska’s decision to defect to the Big Ten came close to dealing their school a horrible setback.

With Colorado also taking off for the Pac-10, it looked for a while like the Big 12 would break up. Most of the South Division schools were being courted by the Pac-10 and the Southeastern Conference. They would have been all right. But nobody was calling K-State. It would probably have been left without membership in a BCS automatic qualifying conference.

As the conference realignment drama played out, the president of Kansas State personally appealed to his counterpart at Nebraska to stay together.

But he was rebuffed. And K-Staters who’ve never been particularly fond of Nebraska anyhow know that.

So now, with a collision of unbeaten teams and a running back averaging 157 yards per game, Kansas State would love to boot the haughty Huskers out the door of the Big 12 with a big loss to remember them by.

“They’re good fans, but they’re also very classy people,” said Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. “I would think they are going to treat our football team the right way.”

Snyder admits he was hates to see the Huskers go.

“I’m disappointed and saddened by Nebraska not being in the conference. There’s just so much history there, so much tradition,” he said.

When talking about the history and tradition of Nebraska-Kansas State, there’s little for the Wildcats to say. Even if they do upset the favored Huskers on Thursday night, they’ll end the long series trailing 77-16-2 instead of 78-15-2.

Nobody knew when Nebraska blistered Kansas State 59-0 in their first meeting in 1911 that it was such a harbinger of things to come. After losing 30-6 the following year, the Wildcats proceeded to get shut out the next four times they played.

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