Best- and worst-case scenario: Kansas State

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
2:30
PM ET
Time for the next in our series on the best- and worst-case scenarios for each team in the Big 12.

The Wildcats are an intruiging team mounting a defense of their 2012 Big 12 title. Lots of new faces all over the place, and lots of possible outcomes. Let's have a closer look.

Other best- and worst-case scenarios.

Best-case scenario

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- K-State knew it had some momentum after breezing through its sneaky-difficult nonconference slate with a young team looking to find its footing. It officially announced that its Big 12 title defense would be a serious one by knocking off a top-five Longhorns team. Predictable, I suppose. That made K-State 8-2 against Texas since the Big 12's birth. A close loss on the road to Oklahoma State gave the Cowboys the inside track to the title, but everybody knows Bill Snyder doesn't stray from the plan. K-State kept plodding along after a home victory against a top 20 Baylor team. Iowa State and West Virginia couldn't defend the Wildcats' running game, letting John Hubert rack up 321 combined yards on the ground in wins in Manhattan.

K-State took to the road a week later and forced Michael Brewer into two interceptions, including a game-clincher that quieted a frenzied, hopeful Red Raider crowd.

TCU played the Wildcats tough in 2012 and earn a big win in 2013 in Manhattan between top-15 teams with two games to play in K-State's season. Once again, its Big 12 title fate was taken out of its hands, but the Wildcats were still in the mix, holding court the next week against Oklahoma for a bounceback win against Blake Bell, playing back in his home state as a starting quarterback for the first time.

K-State needed one more win to seal a solid season, and once again made it look easy against the Jayhawks. The Wildcats had to wait a week to find out their feat, but a Bedlam loss by Oklahoma State gave the Wildcats a share of the Big 12 title and a trip back to the Cotton Bowl.

Final record: 10-2

Worst-case scenario

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- You want to know how to make it clear your league title defense will be a short one? Lose to an FCS team in the opener.

Bill Snyder's infamous for revealing as little of his playbook as possible early in the season, but the vanilla approach led to a halftime deficit and a young defensive line could do little to slow the Bison rushing attack in the second half of an embarrassing loss to the two-time defending FCS national champions.

The Wildcats bounced back against Louisiana-Lafayette and Massachusetts, but the undefeated Longhorns exorcised some K-State demons with a 20-point win in Austin a week later. Two weeks after Texas rolled, Oklahoma State did the same, sending K-State to 2-3 and into its second quarterback change of the season. The offense played well against Baylor, but the Bears' offense is tough for anyone to keep up with, K-State included.

The Wildcats got back to 4-4 with tough wins over West Virginia and Iowa State at home, needing to break even over the next four games to reach a bowl game.

One by one, Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma ended that dream, but K-State took out its frustration to end the season on Kansas, logging a 17-point win against the Jayhawks.

Final record: 5-7

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