K-State win over Oklahoma could propel Wildcats to BCS run

Before the season, back when I thought it would take K-State the entire season to amass six wins, I postulated that K-State's best chance at an upset would be Oklahoma. Little did I know that K-State would actually be ranked higher than Oklahoma in BlogPoll, the BCS and the AP, and would be the one undefeated team in the game. Of course, that hasn't stopped Vegas from installing K-State as a two-touchdown underdog against the visiting Sooners, so a win in this game would still fulfill my prediction that this was K-State's best opportunity at an upset this season.

But what would it take for K-State to pull off the upset and move to 8-0 on the season? We all know K-State's formula for winning games. The Wildcats want to run the ball, win the time of possession battle, avoid turning the ball over while forcing a turnover or two by the opponent, and get a couple big plays on special teams. It also wouldn't hurt to jump out to an early lead, because Landry Jones doesn't seem to play so well from behind.

Does that mean K-State will be able to pull the upset over Oklahoma? The Sooners are good against the run and the pass, but are not an elite defense. If K-State can stay balanced, keep Oklahoma guessing and take advantage of the inevitable onslaught of blitzes it will see from a Brent Venables-coached team, then the Wildcats will be able to move the ball and score some points. Couple that with the angriest fans in America who always reserve a special anger for a group of coaches they still consider traitors, and Bill Snyder Family Stadium should be a madhouse by 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Perhaps the greatest advantage K-State has is not just the fact that Bill Snyder is its head coach, but that Bill Snyder knows the opposing coaching staff so well. Both Bob Stoops and Venables coached under Snyder at K-State, and Snyder is as familiar with them as he is any coach. Of course, that's a two-way street, as both of the aforementioned OU coaches are as familiar with Snyder as anyone, but I'm confident that Snyder will be ready for what OU tries to do.

As impressive as K-State's wins over Miami, Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech have been this season, the Wildcats have yet to play a top-10 team like Oklahoma. Although last week's home loss to Texas Tech knocked the Sooners from their perch in the top three of everyone's rankings, this is still the best team K-State will have faced to date. A win validates all of K-State's work thus far, cementing the Wildcats as a legitimate BCS contender. Of course, it's only the first step in a late-season gauntlet that features road trips to Stillwater and Austin in the next month, as well as a visit to Manhattan from Texas A&M.

A win over the Sooners would be a big start, but as Snyder would be quick to remind you, it would only be the first step.

Don’t forget to show support for your favorite coach by voting him as the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year at www.coachoftheyear.com

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