It was a rough start to the 2013 college football season for Wildcat fans, as the school watched Bill Snyder fall to an FCS squad to kick off it’s year. There were some spots of promise: Jake Waters looked good (throwing, not necessarily running) the ball all night, and his two interceptions were in pressure-cooked situations. Dante Barnett looked good, and alongside Ty Zimmerman should form an impressive safety tandem. The return game has opposing teams nervous, and coaches are opting to kick away from Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson while ceding field position.
These were the bright spots on an otherwise dark night, but the AP pollsters appear to agree that all is not lost for the team and a couple voters still believe this is one of the top 25 squads in the nation. This is surprising so early in the season – polls are highly reactionary by nature, and the beginning of the year typically sees wild swings in placement. And while the Wildcats certainly dropped – from 31st in the preseason poll to tied with Texas Tech and Arkansas State for 40th – it’s nice to see that glimmer of hope. The team received three points. 140 placed a team in the top 25 this week.
What will it take for the Wildcats to climb into the top 25? They could be there in exactly one month. Louisiana Lafayette didn’t look as good as predicted last week in falling to Arkansas 34-14. If K-State can win by three touchdowns here, the next week against UMass should be a gimme (and yes, gimmes do exist. I wrote about North Dakota State being a serious threat all summer, while the Minutemen simply aren’t on the same level despite playing Division I ball). That would mean a 2-1 start with two blow outs, which should place K-State around the 30-35 position. A trip to Austin then looms, and if K-State can make it six straight against the Longhorns (currently ranked 16), the squad should be on the bubble if not in. A trip to #14 Oklahoma State follows, and if Bill Snyder can start off 4-1 with that schedule, a top-20 ranking is bound to follow.
Elsewhere around the Big 12, Oklahoma State did not move from the 14 spot after a nice 21-3 victory over Mississippi State. In one of the few predictions I got right last weekend, Oklahoma State’s defense certainly looked better than most people were allowing for. Oklahoma and Texas switched spots, with the Sooners taking #15 and Texas #16 after both squads beat up on minor-league players (Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State, respectively). TCU dropped four spots to #25 after the 37-27 loss to #11 LSU, and Baylor was the best team amongst those “also receiving votes.” The Bears ran up the score on FCS Wofford, 69-3. Texas Tech received votes along with K-State this week after a surprisingly easy victory over SMU.
While there’s not a lot of movement potential available for K-State this weekend, a couple intriguing Big 12 matchups are going down this Saturday. League play kicks off early when West Virginia takes on Oklahoma, and Texas visits BYU Saturday night. KU hosts South Dakota, and could be in trouble. Last year the Jayhawks used a game against South Dakota State to record its only victory of the year, but FCS teams don’t seem to be as obliging to losing in 2013. Fortunately for Charlie Weis, KU seems to be scraping the bottom of the I-AA barrel as South Dakota finished 1-10 last year.