Last season’s surprise team, the Kansas State Wildcats, check in at number 13 in our preseason countdown. The Wildcats pulled out multiple close games a year ago behind the running of quarterback Collin Klein, who gained over 1100 yards on the ground.
The big question going into this season is can he pass? If so, the Cats could be a strong contender in the Big 12. If not, then he is an injury away from K-State being in big trouble. Klein is so important to his team that without him, they have virtually no shot. Last year he ran the ball over 300 times. Can he take that much punishment?
Also, K-State seemed to win games last year with smoke and mirrors. They were out-gained nearly every week, usually by a wide margin. But their defense toughened up in the Red Zone, their special teams were indeed special, and they continuously came up big in the fourth quarter. You hate to cal them lucky, but one has to wonder if a team can win that many close games again.
One thing is for sure, they aren’t going to sneak up on people this year. And that will make it a bit more difficult this year.
K-State will have most of their key players back this year, so they will be a tough opponent. If Klein’s passing skills have improved over last year, they could be really dangerous.
The defense is led by senior linebacker Aaron Brown, who could be All Big 12 by season’s end.
The schedule is going to be tough though. Miami comes to town in week two. They have road games at Oklahoma, at West Virginia, at TCU and at Baylor and home games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas.
K-State lost its last two games against the spread a year ago, but won three of their last five.