As we hit the final stretch of summer, we can start to see football in the distance. We are about a month and a half from sunsets over Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the love that is Wildcat football. Over the next three columns for my bi-weekly contribution to the Jug of Snyder, I will preview the Cats schedule for 2013, 4 games at a time, leading up to the Friday kick off against North Dakota State.
Game 1: North Dakota State – August 30th in Manhattan
Series Record – First Matchup Between Schools
The Wildcats start the season off inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium against the North Dakota State Bison on a Friday evening. The Bison are two-time defending Division I-FCS National Champs and finished up last season at 14-1. The team are coached by Craig Bohl, who in 11 years with the university, has went 89-32 and helped move the team from Division II to it’s current classification in 2007. The Bison have held their own against FBS competition during their move, going 6-3 – including a 6-3 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in 2010. We have all grown acustommed to the Wildcats starting slow against their season opening opponents. The Cats were tied in last season’s opener against Missouri State at 9 early in the third quarter before eventually blowing the lid off the game, winning 51-9. The previous season Kansas State struggled to beat Eastern Kentucky 10-7 to start the year. I would not be surprised to see a sluggish start and a hard fought victory due to previous years’ examples and North Dakota State’s success against FBS teams.
Prediction: Kansas State – 30 North Dakota State – 17
Wildcats Record – 1-0
Game 2: Louisiana-Lafayette – September 7th in Manhattan
Series Record – 3-1 in Favor of Kansas State
The second week of the 2013 football season has the Wildcats hosting the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns of the NCAA Division I-A. The Ragin’ Cajuns under Mark Hudspeth (18-8 in two years as Head Coach) have gone 9-4 in the previous two seasons in the Sun Belt Conference. Coach Hudspeth has brought Louisiana-Lafayette to previously unseen heights, taking the team to its first two Bowl Games and winning both (New Orleans Bowl twice). The team went into Gainesville, Florida last year and held tight with the Top Ten ranked Gators, losing only 20-27. I expect the Cats to struggle less and win this game, but they cannot under estimate the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Cats seem to bounce back well from their first game jitters (Miami 52-13 stomping last year). Should be good for another Wildcat victory.
Prediction: Kansas State – 35 Louisiana-Lafayette – 13
Wildcats Record – 2-0
Game 3: Massachusetts – September 14th in Manhattan
Series Record – 2-0 in Favor of Kansas State
The Wildcats finish off their non-conference schedule against the Umass Minutemen. The Minutemen will come into Manhattan to take on Kansas State for the third time, but the first time as a member of Division-I FBS. We all should remember the UMass Minutemen, almost shocking all us fellow Catbackers, when they narrowly lost to the Cats 21-17 a few years back. Charley Molnar leads the Minutemen in his second season as Head Coach after going 1-11 in his first season. I think this one will be a dominant win by the Wildcats. The Minutemen had their struggles last year as they transitioned into the Mid-American Athletic Conference. The times may get better for UMass but the Cats should finally be off and running, ready for the Big 12 schedule.
Prediction: Kansas State – 41 Massachusetts – 6
Wildcats Record – 3-0
Game 4: Texas – September 21st in Austin
Series Record – 8-5 in Favor of Kansas State
The Big 12 season starts with a bang, as the Cats head to Austin to battle the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns have been some national pundits’ pick to win the Big 12 (along with Oklahoma State) this upcoming season. Most of this is due to the fact that the only returning starting quarterback in the entire league is Longhorn signal caller David Ash. Ash had good numbers, throwing for around 2,500 yards with 19 touchdowns for the Longhorns while battling injuries. Overall, the Longhorns went 9-4 last season. One of those four losses happened to be at the hands of the Wildcats – the victory that clinched the Big 12 title in Manhattan and a game Ash did not play in. We all know and love the chant, so say it with me: “We Own Texas.” It’s not an understatement. The Wildcats have beaten the Longhorns five straight matchups, not losing to the Horns since all the way back in 2003. (Fun fact, Bill Snyder has only lost to Mack Brown twice while with Texas, that matchup in Austin and the previous year in Manhattan, which I was in attendance for. Argh) I have a bad feeling for this game, due to the amount of talent Kansas State lost this year and the fact that Texas didn’t. If this game was in Manhattan I would have no problem picking a win for the Cats. But on paper, before I have seen any live action, I have to think the Longhorns will come out ahead and end that streak. But….We Still Own Texas.
Prediction: Kansas State – 21 Texas – 28
Wildcats Record – 3-1