Hey it’s another year of football for Kansas State and it’s a weird time to be a fan. Usually Kansas State comes in underpicked, underestimated, and just generally dumped on. Welp this year is different. The Wildcats ended the year strong with an even stronger win over Michigan in the bowl game. Now all of the sudden the pundits and spineless sports media are picking Kansas State to finish well.
It’s a weird feeling. If any fan, and team, watches and plays better with a chip on their shoulder, it’s Kansas State. So now it’s time to act like we’ve been there. Yes, we have, but that added extra juice of being the underdog is gone. What’s a K-Stater to do? I guess the best thing is to do what got you to this point.
For us fans, that means cheering loud and staying proud. Pretty easy. For the football team, that means Jake Waters tossing bombs to Tyler Lockett. That’s pretty easy, too, actually. It helps that there’s this sexy stats the pundits refer to that each returning Wildcat quarterback leads the team to 11 wins (minus the early Snyder teams). So Jake Waters has that going for him.
You know what else he has going for him? Collin Klein. No no, he’s not playing for the team again, he’s COACHING them. While you can’t teach those kind of running instincts, Collin Klein can at least give direction. And that’s exactly what he’s doing with Jake Waters. Dark horse Heisman right there. I expect Jake Waters to do great, great things this year. More so than Tyler Lockett, although he’s right up there.
The offense sort of has questions elsewhere. There’s a decent group of wide receivers coming back, even though Daniel Sams took off after losing the quarterback job. The running back situation will be a committee until someone shows up. I hope its fast. There’s a polarized set of experience on the offense line and I hope they gel fast too.
I’m not sure what’s up on defense. Ryan Mueller is the man on the defense line (and former St. Thomas Aquinas alum, like me). That’s about all I know. There’s a couple of JUCO transfers that will help out immediately and we’ll have to see what the team looks like when they take the field today. Chances are, they will be fundamentally sound but not the biggest and fasted. Just like the last couple of years.
So speaking of games, how do I see the Wildcats this year? After last year’s fist game turd, I expect them to punch the ball in quicker and grow a bigger lead in the first half against Stephen F. Austin and then let up on the peddle a bit. They won’t be vanilla the whole game. Not with what’s coming up next.
Right after that, it’s a brutal stretch. Farmageddon is next, then Auburn. Iowa State will be better on the offensive side of the ball now that they got Mark Mangino as the offensive coordinator. And it’s on the road. Even though it wasn’t close last year, it will be this year. Kansas State will win.
Auburn is the big tomato. At least it’s in Manhattan. I get the feel from Tigers fans that they are scared about this one. They should be. But for some reason, all of the hype surrounding Kansas State this year has at least alerted them to the danger that is the Wildcats. Which means the team will be ready. Will Kansas State be ready? Yes. Will they lose? Unfortunately, yes.
So what does the rest of the schedule look like? Let’s run it down. They come back down to Earth and beat up UTEP. Texas Tech is in Manhattan so that’s a Wildcat victory. That Oklahoma game is a toss up because they are getting overrated too. I’m going with a loss there. They will beat Texas and Oklahoma State in Manhattan. They will beat TCU and West Virginia on the road. They will roll Kansas.
So that leaves Baylor. On the road. Hey guess what? I’m going to the game! New stadium. Last game of the year. Will it be for the Big 12 title? I sure hope so. My guess is that it will have huge implications on the Big 12 title. That’s good enough for me. Because I just don’t think Kansas State can keep up with Baylor.
Which means I’m pretty much going chalk this year. Weak, isn’t it? That’s what happens when the hype matches where I actually think the team will be, which is about 3rd in the conference with 3 losses. Now what bowl game that will be, I don’t know. I hope it’s close to Austin so I can finally see the Wildcats in a bowl. But until then, I’ll keep cheering loud and staying proud. Go Wildcats!