Few college football coaches in today’s game have thrived in the face of expectations quite like Chris Klieman of Kansas State.
Klieman had the unenviable task of taking over for one of the sport’s giants in longtime Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, who won 215 games across 27 seasons in Manhattan. Snyder’s impact on the school is so outsized the university named its football stadium after him in 2005, when the Missouri native retired the first time — leaving an intimidating legacy for any successor.
Through four-plus seasons with the school, it’s safe to say the former North Dakota State coach has not only succeeded but thrived with the Wildcats — posting a better record in his fifth season (35-22) than Snyder did through his first five (27-28-1). Klieman also revved up sports betting in Kansas by bringing home a Big 12 title in 2022, which is something Snyder wasn’t able to achieve until 2003 when he was in his 15th season.
Ahead of K-State’s Saturday afternoon game against Big 12 newcomer Houston, BetKansas.com took a look at how Klieman and Snyder stand through five seasons in Manhattan.
Klieman vs. Snyder in Season 5
- Klieman: 35-22 (.614)
- Snyder: 27-28-1 (.491)
Kansas sports betting apps list the Wildcats third in Big 12 championship odds at +1000. Texas and Oklahoma are tied for first at +110. Kansas is sixth at +5000.
Klieman Looking To Match Snyder’s Excellence
While Snyder’s first five years in Manhattan weren’t always pretty — posting records of 1-10, 5-6, 7-4, 5-6 and 9-2-1 — he was able to set the stage for a five-year stretch that saw K-State win 82% of its games.
If Klieman is able to match his predecessor’s 10-win pace over the next half-decade, he’d sit at 118-33 (or .720) after his 10th season with the Wildcats, which would dwarf Snyder’s 77-win total at that juncture. Only time will tell if Klieman is able to recreate the eyepopping success Snyder cultivated, with the K-State sideline legend reaching 11 straight bowl games between 1993 and 2003, including wins in the Copper, Holiday (three times), Fiesta, and Cotton bowls.
Klieman and the Wildcats are looking to take care of business at Bill Snyder Family Stadium against the Cougars on Saturday. Caesars Sportsbook Kansas lists the Wildcats as a 17.5-point favorite. From there, K-State takes on No. 7 Texas in Austin, followed by home games against Baylor (Nov. 11) and Iowa State (Nov. 25). In between, the Wildcats are on the road against Sunflower State rival Kansas on Nov. 18.