KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Head Coach: Chris Klieman (First year at Kansas; 72-13 as head coach in six seasons
Last Year: 5-7; 3-6 in the Big Twelve
One team will finish in the basement when the Big Twelve season comes to a close in December. That will be Kansas as the Jayhawks will sit pretty in that dark place. There will be two teams that will make the championship game in Jerry’s World and I suspect that of those two, another Red River game is a bettors choice. Oklahoma and Texas look like the class of the league right now, but I will say, with all sincerity, that the other seven teams I will review could contend for a spot in that game. With that, I have to assign teams from 9th through first, and except for the two favorites, the rest is just a crap shoot. So if you are a fan of any of the others, do not fret. These teams are contenders. Today, with that said, my choice to sit next to KU starts in Manhattan with the Kansas State Wildcats. KSU has some strong points and that tells me that I could be totally wrong with this choice.
Chris Klieman comes to KSU from North Dakota State where he was an ultra-successful head coach, winning the past four National Titles at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). A defensive coach by trade, Klieman is a good choice for the Wildcats and will be a similar type coach as was the great Bill Snyder. To get the Cats into the upper echelon of the conference, as of the program, he will need to recruit significantly better than Snyder had accomplished in his second stint with KSU. Can he compete with OU or Texas in the future is questionable. KSU has to show it can be an offensive power and stop with the old school quarterback run game. It will not be easy.
Offense: Returning quarterback Skyler Thompson is a middle of the road dual threat. James Gilbert, transfer from Kent State, will play out his final season with KSU and will be the feature back. He is a good one but will depend upon an average offensive line. KSU is average at best at most offensive positions but with an overall change it is hoped that the offense does more than run the quarterback when in trouble. Offense Grade: C
Defense: The line should be the strong part of this group. Reggie Walker is the best player at the end position. Two freshmen should start in a rebuilt secondary and that tells you enough about that. The Big Twelve will chew up KSU in the air. Grade: C-
Special Teams: Both the punter and kicker return. Nothing really special.
Games that KSU will win: Nichols (H); Bowling Green (H) Kansas (A) West Virginia (H)
Games that KSU will lose: Oklahoma (H); Texas (A)
Games that KSU could win but it will be hard: the other opponents on the schedule
Season Prediction: 4-8 and 2-7 in conference