MANHATTAN — If Kansas State's winning streak over Iowa State goes on for much longer, Farmageddon is going to need a new nickname.
Sure, it's a catchy and fun moniker that accurately reflects the rivalry between a pair of Big 12 agricultural schools. But it also suggests they participate in an entertaining back-and-forth series on the football field, and that hasn't been the case over the past decade.
The only interesting aspect of recent Farmageddon games is how the Cyclones have squandered away several late leads. The Wildcats have won 10 straight over their neighbors to the North, but nine of those games have been decided by eight or fewer points.
K-State and Iowa State are similar teams from similar areas with similar aspirations. They almost always play close games. And yet, only one of them has found a way to win over the past 10 years.
Iowa State has lost some in excruciating fashion. The Cyclones missed an extra point in the final moments to lose 24-23 in 2009, fumbled away a 35-14 lead in 2015 and lost on a Skylar Thompson touchdown pass on the final play a year ago.
K-State fans have had a great deal of fun at Iowa State's expense since Thompson found Isaiah Zuber in the back of the end zone to give the Wildcats a 20-19 victory last season. It's fair to wonder if Iowa State fans are starting to look at Bill Snyder like the boogie man.
With that in mind, ending that losing streak has to be huge motivating factor for Iowa State this week, right?
"That's a really good question," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "For us, the thing that has been great about this team is we have really kind of worried about ourselves and how can we continue to get better. We're a really young team that continues to grow. They really have in every game this year, so we have kind of let all the other factors lie to themselves."
Snyder is also trying not to look back.
"Last year doesn't really impact this year," Snyder said. "I believe that, right or wrong. I think it's what we do, how we prepare and how we plan, and that's true for Skylar as well as it is for everybody else. He came in and played well. We were down 11 points with around eight minutes to go in the ballgame, and he leads us down to score and leads us down again and puts it in the end zone on the last snap. So that was a good feeling then, but we can't live off of that."
Campbell and Snyder can downplay the significance of this game all they want, but it's a unique opportunity for both teams.
Iowa State has jumped K-State in the standings and enters the week ranked 25th. It is coming off a disappointing loss at Texas, but Iowa State has still won five of its past six. For those reasons, the Cyclones are favored by 14 over the Wildcats.
The game will be played at night inside Jack Trice Stadium and cold temperatures are expected. If ever there was a time for Iowa State to beat K-State, this feels like it.
But K-State players have more on their minds than simply playing spoiler. The Wildcats have won two games in a row to keep their bowl hopes alive. A win over Iowa State would give them six victories and send them to their ninth consecutive bowl game.
"We have won two in a row and have a little momentum going," K-State running back Alex Barnes said. "Iowa State is going to be a tough game. It's going to be another cold game, too. It's a night game. It's all lined up for us to do pretty good. We just have to go out there and do it."
One more bit of rivalry intrigue: K-State can even the all-time series with a victory. Iowa State currently holds a 49-48-4 edge.
Farmageddon, it seems, is always a close football game.