The Kansas State Wildcats don’t get a lot of mention in the Big 12. The other conference teams are flashier, light up the scoreboard and churn out the yards with relative ease, something the Cats don’t do. But under Bill Snyder all K-state does is win football games. Snyder retired in 2005 after back-to-back losing seasons and turned the program over to Ron Prince. After three middling seasons, Snyder got back in the saddle and has led the program to 66 victories in his second stint, that number alone would have him as the all-time KSU leader in coaching victories.
2016 Record: 9-4 SU, 6-7 ATS, 7-6 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 8
National Championship Odds: +8500
Odds To Win Big 12: +1000
The season ended a lot better than it started, and that gives hope for an even better 2017. The Wildcats blew out a couple of overmatched opponents early in the year but struggled a bit once league play started. They slipped past Texas Tech and Texas at home and withstood a late rally by Iowa State on the road to collect some important conference victories. They battled Oklahoma State and had a lead into the fourth quarter before succumbing.
A week off after the OSU game did wonders. The Wildcats came out for their final three regular season games and showed off an improved defense and a balanced offensive attack. The Wildcats won their last four games, including a bowl victory over former Big 12 rival Texas AM, and allowed their opponents to score an average of 18.5 points a game. And we’re not talking about Big 12 bottom-feeders. K-State held Baylor to 21 points and silenced TCU’s attack allowing just two field goals.
Quarterback Jesse Ertz led the nation’s 22nd ranked ground attack by running for 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,755 yards and nine scores. The passing game didn’t have to be lethal with a running game that had three other players rush for over 440 yards and averaged over 232 yards per game.
By the end of the 2016 campaign the Wildcats were a legitimate top-20 club, and with a number of starters returning on both sides of the football, there is plenty to be excited about. The makings for another devastating ground game are in place with Ertz back to run the show. Also back are Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon, who combined for over 900 yards rushing and did most of their damage near the end of last season.
The running game needs the horses up front and the Wildcats have them. The offensive line returns after dominating towards the end of last season. K-State amassed over 3,000 yards on the ground and ranked 22nd nationally with 232.2 yards per game. The run game will be more dangerous if there is the threat of a passing attack and Ertz needs to help in that area. He has a blue-chipper in receiver Byron Pringle, who had 39 catches for a team-best 631 yards and four touchdowns last season.
The defense was solid last year despite the awful numbers in the passing game. Putting the clamps on Baylor and TCU showed us just how dangerous the group was. The front lost a big-time player in Jordan Willis and the linebackers were thinned out, but there are capable replacements and plenty of experience in the secondary. This is a good team and if a few defenders develop quickly, the Wildcats could be a threat in the Big 12.
Week 1: Kansas State vs. Central Arkansas, Saturday, September 2
Week 2: Kansas State vs. Charlotte, Saturday, September 9
Week 3: Kansas State at Vanderbilt, Saturday, September 16
Week 4: OFF
Week 5: Kansas State vs. Baylor, Saturday, September 30
Week 6: Kansas State at Texas, Saturday, October 7
Week 7: Kansas State vs. TCU, Saturday, October 14
Week 8: Kansas State vs. Oklahoma, Saturday, October 21
Week 9: Kansas State at Kansas, Saturday, October 28
Week 10: Kansas State at Texas Tech, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Kansas State vs. West Virginia, Saturday, November 11
Week 12: Kansas State at Oklahoma State, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Kansas State vs. Iowa State, Saturday, November 25
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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