Kansas State Wildcats season preview
August, 7, 2014
By Jake Trotter | ESPN.com
» More team previews: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC
Previewing the 2014 season for the Kansas State Wildcats:
Key returners: QB Jake Waters, WR Tyler Lockett, C BJ Finney, DE Ryan Mueller
Key losses: RB John Hubert, WR Tramaine Thompson, OT Cornelius Lucas, SS Ty Zimmerman
Most important 2014 games: Sept. 18 versus Auburn; Oct. 18 at Oklahoma; Oct. 25 versus Texas; Dec. 6 at Baylor
Projected win percentage: 50.7 percent.
Over/under Vegas odds: 7.5 wins.
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsJake Waters is looking forward to playing for the first time at the Division I level in his home state.
Instant impact newcomers: DT Terrell Clinkscales, LB D'Vonta Derricott, CB Danzel McDaniel. All three players were part of Bill Snyder’s prized junior college signing class. McDaniel will have the best chance to start because he was with the team in the spring. But all three newcomers have a chance to impact the K-State defense.
High point from 2013: The Wildcats capped off their hot finish by blasting Michigan 31-14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings. Lockett caught three first-half touchdown passes and the K-State defense held the Wolverines touchdown-less until the final 2 minutes of the game.
Low point from 2013: The season ended well. But it did not start that way. FCS opponent North Dakota State went on an 18-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up 8½ minutes and ended with a touchdown plunge that gave the Bison a stunning 24-21 win in Manhattan.
Best-case scenario for 2014: The Waters-Lockett passing connection becomes one of the best in the country, and the juco additions pan out. The Wildcats ride the momentum from last year and topple Auburn in a home nonconference tilt to set the tone for the rest of the season. K-State goes on to knock off both Oklahoma and Baylor on the road to win the Big 12 title and force the College Football Playoff selection committee to think hard and long about including the Wildcats.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: The jucos don’t live up to their billing, leaving K-State with several holes on either side of the ball. Without a good option at running back, the Wildcats are forced to air it out, which gives Snyder indigestion all season. Auburn proves K-State isn’t equipped to hang with the big boys, smashing the Wildcats in Manhattan. K-State struggles along the rest of the season and has to slug out a 6-6 season just to become bowl eligible.
They said it: “My degree of optimism is negotiated daily, I think, and the mantra of our program has always been centered around that daily improvement. And when we make daily improvement, then I become a little more optimistic.” – K-State coach Bill Snyder
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State