Big 12 Bowl Central
Need to know: 2:20 p.m. CT, Dec. 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y., ESPN.
Team records: Kansas State 7-5, Syracuse 7-5.
Story lines: In his first tour of duty as Kansas State’s coach, Bill Snyder led the Wildcats to 11 bowl games. In the second year of his second time around in Manhattan, Kansas State is playing in the 14th bowl game in school history and the 12th with Snyder as coach.
Manhattan, aka The Little Apple, will be in the postseason in The Big Apple as the Wildcats will play in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl that will be staged in Yankees Stadium.
Last year in Snyder’s return to coaching, Kansas State was 6-6 but failed to qualify for a bowl game. This season, the Wildcats lost four of their last six but clinched a postseason berth on Nov. 6 with a 39-14 victory over Texas.
"Four months ago, it wasn't necessarily on the horizon," Snyder said of a bowl game. "I think they've gone through a variety of different things that made it an inconsistent year, but that's part of the growth process. I think they understand that."
Syracuse is playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2004. Coach Doug Marrone, a Syracuse alum, is in his second season as the coach of the Orange.
"When the announcement was made that a bowl game was going to be played in Yankee Stadium for the first time, my thought was that if we were not going to play in a BCS game, then how great would it be to play in the first college bowl game in Yankee Stadium in my first head coaching job?" Marrone said, who father was an usher at Yankee Stadium. “New York state is our foundation. This is another step in our return to prominence."
Kansas State update
Senior running back Daniel Thomas is coming off a career-best 269-yard rushing performance. … In Thomas’ two-year career, the Wildcats are 1-7 when he rushes for less than 90 yards. … Syracuse beat Kansas State in the 2001 Insight Bowl, but lost the 1997 Fiesta Bowl when both teams were ranked. … The Wildcats have lost four of their last six and have allowed 38 or more points in those four losses. For the season, Kansas State is allowing 28 points per game.
Punter Rob Long is expected to be on the sidelines with the Orange. He had a brain tumor removed a week ago and faces more treatment after malignant cells were found in the tumor. … Syracuse is ranked fifth nationally in total defense which is good because its offense struggles; the Orange averaged 11.5 points in its last four games. … Defensive tackle Andrew Lewis and linebacker Brice Hawkes have been suspended for the Pinstripe Bowl after violating team rules.
If K-State loses to Syracuse, Manhattan mayor Bruce Snead will send three slabs of hickory-smoked ribs from Cox Bros. BBQ and three different types of beer (Oasis, Pale Ale and Buffalo Sweat) from Tallgrass Brewing Co. to Syracuse and mayor Stephanie Miner. If the Orangemen lose, Miner will send sausages and three cases of Syracuse Pale Ale to Manhattan.