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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Which is K-State's most important game?

By David Ubben

We're continuing our series today looking at the "most important" game of the year for each team in the Big 12.

I have my own opinions on that for every team, but I'll ask the fans what they think first before I weigh in on what game I'd pick and why.

You can define "important" in a number of ways, which is why this exercise should be intriguing.

Let's have a closer look at the next team up on our list: Kansas State.

at Texas, Sept. 21: Kansas State won the Big 12 title against the Longhorns in the Big 12 finale last year and travel to Austin for the Wildcats' Big 12 opener this season. There's plenty of skepticism about K-State, but it'll be an interesting contrast between K-State, who returns fewer starters than all but a handful of teams in the country, and Texas is tied for the most returning starters in college football. K-State would ignite an intriguing debate about whether a win means more for K-State (positive) or Texas (negative).

at Oklahoma State, Oct. 5: The Big 12 did no favors for K-State early in the season. After a weak nonconference schedule, K-State opens conference play with a pair of road games against Big 12 contenders. We'll know very early in the season just how good the Wildcats are, but a loss could mean an 0-2 start in Big 12 play and a deflated start to the season. A win could mean a top 10-15 ranking and a 2-0 record in conference, as well as a status as a verified Big 12 title contender once again.

at Kansas, Nov. 30: This is all about state bragging rights. Every team in the league with another Big 12 team inside state lines wants to rule the area. It's important for recruiting and just plain feels good. K-State has dominated the Sunflower State for the past three seasons, and a loss here could have far-reaching implications for a KU program trying to recruit and build. At this stage of rebuilding, a loss would be embarrassing, too.

vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 23: There's no big meaning off the field in this one, but Oklahoma's a good team and K-State learned last year that you've almost certainly got to go through the Sooners if you want to win a Big 12 title. That alone makes this late-season game loom large.

vs. TCU, Nov. 16: K-State's schedule is so, so odd. They travel to two of the Big 12's best teams to start conference play, and get to host two of the league's other best teams before the season finale at Kansas. It's all about the road to the Big 12 title for an ambitious K-State team. This game will be a big one, too.