PROOF! K-State Football Is Among The Most Underrated Teams In The Nation


Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I’m about to make a statement that will surprise exactly zero fans of K-State athletics: the Wildcats are consistently underrated. We know this. How do we know this? Just go to the polls. Even among Big 12 coaches, K-State is consistently picked to finish in the middle or lower echelons while consistently exceeding expectations. 3MAW – football, basketball, and baseball championships this academic year. The women’s basketball team almost won the WNIT with only seven active players. The volleyball team represented Team USA at the World University Games this summer. Etc, etc, etc. But in the sport of football, this school is particularly overlooked and undervalued. It’s just that instead of relying on anecdotal evidence, now we have proof.

We know this is true due to a piece from that just came out ranking K-State as the seventh most underrated team in the polls over the past five years. Here’s how it works: Pollspeak took the preseason and postseason rankings of each team and tallied up the differential (e.g., if K-State stared the season ranked 10th and finished 5th, they’d received a +5). For the sake of simplicity all unranked teams were given a value of 26 (e.g., if Texas starts the season ranked 10th and finishes unranked, they receive 10-16=-16).

After tallying all of the teams, here are the top schools:

  1. Stanford +36
  2. Cincinnati +28
  3. TCU +28
  4. Oregon +26
  5. Utah +25
  6. Boise State +22
  7. Kansas State +21

The list seems about right – a collection of nontraditional powerhouses (you can argue Stanford another day) that came out of nowhere to exceed expectations. Cincinnati built its brand last decade, finishing 17th in 2008 and eighth in 2009 after beginning both seasons unranked. Conversely, K-State made up most of its ground over the past two years while dominating the Big 12. However, the results bring clarity to an otherwise esoteric argument – K-State consistently finishes better than expected.

Because everyone loves polls, I couldn’t help but check out the most overrated teams as well. As you’d expect, these were mostly powerhouses that voters consistently put at the top of the polls because of historical achievement and only fall if something significant happens. And the top five are (drumroll…)

  1. Oklahoma -49
  2. USC -36
  3. Georgia -27
  4. Virginia Tech -25
  5. Nebraska -24

And just because I know you’re asking, Texas was ninth at -18. Interestingly, KU had a -13 differential stemming primarily from a #14 preseason ranking in 2008 following their impressive Orange Bowl victory but finished unranked. Missouri was a -10 (good riddance), while all other Big 12 schools ranked over the past five years had small positive differentials. So the next time you’re wasting your life arguing with some Longhorns fan on an internet message board at 2 am when you can’t sleep (fyi, not worth it), just remember to tell yourself you can’t blame them for an over-inflated ego and move on. Really – it’s the AP’s fault.