I was waiting for the "momentum" counter arguement. It is a fact that none of us knew what the momentum was in 2002 or 2004 or 2006. That can only be known after the fact. Anything prior is speculation, no matter how educated the speculation might be.
It isn't worth nitpicking over this because you aren't changing my mind and I'm not changing yours. A few quick points:
Sure, there are things different now than there was then that are working against a rebuild now. But, there were things then that didn't exist now. For example, in KSU's 7 conference games each year during the early 90's rebuild, KSU was playing 2 or 3 national title contenders every year. KU and MU have yet to have to do that on a consistent basis. KSU may or may not have to do that this time around. Funny you bring up facilities because they were a much bigger issue (and the disparity greater) for KSU in 1989 than 2009.
And, another big fault with the bulk of your comments is you treat other teams taking a step back not being impacted by the team in discussion. Part of the reason KU, MU, etc. took a step back from 1996 through 2003 is because KSU was beating them up badly year in and year out. Part of the reason KSU took a step back is because those roles reversed. Teams control who takes a step forward and back to a degree.