Although it did not feel like summer this past week, it is just the beginning of August. School will soon be in session and the weekends will be filled with football. But until that exciting Friday evening when the newly renovated Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be opened, we continue to preview the 2013 season. You can check out Part 1 in my previous column here.
Part 1 Record: 3-1
Game 5: Oklahoma State – October 5th in Stillwater
Series Record – 20-36 in Favor of Oklahoma State
The Cowboys are picked to win the Big 12 by the majority of the media this season. Mike Gundy, since taking control of his Alma Mater, has an impressive record of 67-35, including 5-2 in bowl games. His finest season came in 2011 when he won Big 12 Coach of the Year, the Cowboys won the Big 12 Title and the school won the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford. One thing Gundy has done since returning to Stillwater is create an offensive juggernaut. After losing key members to the NFL from that 2011 team, 2012 was more of a reloading year. The Cowboys had a trio of QB’s vying to replace Brandon Weedon, with Wes Lunt, Clint Chelf, and J.W. Walsh all getting playing time. Lunt transferred this past May and Gundy has still not named a starter yet. Both Chelf and Walsh had eerily similar numbers the past season, Chelf 1,588 yards with 15 TD’s and 6 INT’s, Walsh 1,564 yards with 13 TD’s and 3 INT’s. What do I make of this situation? If you get recruited to play for Mike Gundy and the Pokes, you can sling it in his system. After one of the more exciting games of 2011, in which the Cowboys barely exited with a victory of 52-45 against the Wildcats, last year the Cats controlled the majority of the matchup in Manhattan. Even without Collin Klein (who suffered a concussion during the 3rd quarter), the Cats dispatched the Cowboys 44-30 with most of the catch up after Klein left. But the playing time and adjustment the Okie State quarterbacks handled last year will benefit them this year, as I think the Cowboys win this one at home, due to home field and an explosive offense.
Prediction: Kansas State – 35 Oklahoma State 49
Wildcats Record: 3-2
Game 6: Baylor – October 12th in Manhattan
Series Record – 7-3 in Favor of Kansas State
After the Cats hit a bump in the road at the beginning of Big 12 play, the Baylor Bears roll into town. Art Briles has turned around a mediocre football program in his five years at Baylor. Briles has a combined record of 33-30, including going 2-1 in bowl games. His style of offense has thrived, helping Robert Griffin III win the Heisman Trophy, the first to do so for the school. Nick Florence jumped right in and led the Bears to another successful season. Time will tell if new starter Bryce Petty will thrive as well, but the best guess is he will. As for the game, all I can say, REVENGE GAME. The anger is still behind the keystrokes as I type this paragraph. We all know what happened last year so I really won’t rehash it. Coach Snyder will challenge his players to avenge the beating that the Bears unleashed on the Cats and right the ship, getting the team its first conference win in 2013.
Prediction: Kansas State – 24 Baylor – 20
Wildcats Record: 4-2
Game 7: West Virginia – October 26th in Manhattan
Series Record – 2-1 in Favor of Kansas State
As disappointing of a result as last year’s Baylor game was, the trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia was the flipside. Dana Holgorsen and his Mountaineers moved to the Big 12 with wide eyes and big expectations. After going 10-3 in their final year of the Big East, the Mountaineers destroyed the Clemson Tigers 70-33 in the 2011 Orange Bowl, setting title – both Big 12 and National – talks in motion. But an upset the week before the K-State match up created an angry West Virginia atmosphere as the Wildcats battled the Mountaineers. The battle didn’t last long as K-State manhandled West Virginia 41-14 and soon the Mountaineers’ season began unraveling. The team finished 7-6 in their first year in the Big 12. To add to that, the school sent their three main playmakers, QB Geno Smith, WR Tavone Austin and WR Stedman Bailey, to the NFL. The revenge game aspect does not appear in effect for this match up as many believe West Virginia will be towards the bottom of the Big 12. I see no trouble with this contest as the Cats march on.
Prediction: Kansas State – 35 West Virginia 14
Wildcats Record: 5-2
Game 8: Iowa State – November 2nd in Manhattan
Series Record – 43-49-4 in Favor of Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones come to town as the final of three straight home games for the Wildcats. Paul Rhodes continues his climb to help strengthen the Iowa State program, after going 24-27 in his previous 4 years at the school, including 1-2 in bowl games. Last year the Cyclones finished the season 6-7. Rhodes teams resemble Snyder’s in many ways. Both try to run the ball to control the tempo and limit mistakes. Thus these games the past few years have been close ones. Last year, after the Cyclones went to Waco and upset the ranked TCU Horned Frogs 37-23, Rhodes team hosted the Wildcats. In a nail biter, the Wildcats prevailed 27-21. I respect how Coach Rhodes has worked to build a culture in Ames. The truth be told, I see a lot of similarities between the two schools and coaches. But I do believe Kansas State is still the better team and should prevail in another close match up between the two schools.
Prediction: Kansas State – 24 Iowa State 17
Wildcats Record: 6-2