If you’d asked me where I thought K-State would stand heading into this bye week back in July, my answer would be 4-2. A win against North Dakota State was not assured but likely, and at least one win out of Texas (I mean come on, we own Texas), Oklahoma State (who the Wildcats got after a bye week), and Baylor (revenge game, at home, and not suspecting how elite Baylor would look at this point). However, the team sits at 2-4. Fortunately, the schedule lines up perfectly for the team to make its way back to the Pinstripe Bowl this year.
I’d almost prefer the Wildcats play against this weekend – the Baylor game was probably the most complete performance of the year (despite the loss), and taking a break seems to break the positive momentum that’s been developing. However, when K-State emerges from its bye, it will be one of (if not the) best 2-4 teams in the nation. And that’s not a good thing for West Virginia (3-3, 1-2).
West Virginia visits Manhattan on October 26, and still doesn’t look ready to compete in the Big 12 (inexplicable win against Oklahoma State notwithstanding). K-State has finally found its running game and will be ready to roll over the Mountaineers. Next up is another home game against Iowa State (1-4, 0-2), and I promise to post video of myself eating my hat if the Cyclones leave triumphant.
Win those two games, and K-State climbs back to .500 and finally playing with confidence. The Wildcats must then go 2-2 the rest of the way to earn bowl eligibility. The final game of the season is against KU, so we’ll assume a win there too. That means the team must go 1-2 at Texas Tech, versus TCU, and versus Oklahoma. Texas Tech has far exceeded expectations this year, but has been facing injury problems at quarterback, having played two true freshman at the position, and by the time November rolls around their QBs may be ready to hit a wall. The Tech game will follow Iowa State.
Even if K-State is unable to down the Red Raiders, it gets both TCU and Oklahoma at home. We’ve seen the difference the home crowd can make after the Baylor game. TCU is off to another rough start this year, can’t get consistent quarterback play, and is solid against the pass but not ready to defend the run this year. Even if Snyder can’t down the Horned Frogs, Oklahoma (who I’ve doubted all year) was finally exposed last Saturday, getting destroyed by Texas. Blake Bell struggled, and the defense couldn’t stop anything.
K-State should defeat WVU, ISU, and KU. One more win against TT, TCU, or OU gets the team to a bowl. I’d love to win out and hit the Cotton Bowl, but that’s not looking like a realistic scenario. There’s no reason to believe this team can’t return to the postseason. And the schedule sets up perfectly to get it there.