The Wildcats have 13 wins in a row against the Kansas Jayhawks, the longest streak for either team in the series. What needs to happen for Kansas State to extend that winning streak to 14?
Eric Rubottom: Take it seriously. That’s it. It’s a home game, we’re clearly better than they are. Leave no doubt.
JT VanGilder: Can’t look past KU, and to their credit, they haven’t in a very long time. KU will be better this season, though I’m not sure yet how much, and it won’t be the glorified scrimmage that it’s become over the past decade. But K-State still has by far the better team, they just have to play like it and it should be another victory.
Luke Thompson: Kansas State needs to show up healthy, sober and take KU as seriously as they do every year. Do that and it won’t be close. Again.
AMS 84: As long as we can avoid a teamwide case of food poisoning, the Governor’s Cup should stay in Manhattan. If the team can stay focused and healthy, it shouldn’t even be close.
wildcat00: Whatever we have done for 13 years will do just fine. Be consistent. Want it more. 14 in a row is there for the taking.
Jon Morse: Civilization merely needs to survive intact until Thanksgiving. I expect the Jayhawks to make some strides toward respectability, but let’s not get carried away. They’re not there yet.
Which game do you think the Wildcats have the best chance to surprise college football fans in?
Eric: My picks right now are going to be at OU, and if we can win that one, the big one is going to be going to Baylor as an undefeated squad. With Okie Lite and UT at home, I think there is a good chance we’re undefeated at that point if we make it out of Norman with a win and all the way through it healthy. Call me crazy.
wildcat00: OU. They’re breaking in a new coach (about whose potential greatness I remain unconvinced) and we have played well against them under Klieman. But they are favorites to take the Big 12. Again. So naturally a Kansas State win will surprise the talking heads.
Jon: There is no game on the schedule which anyone should be surprised at a K-State win. Beating Oklahoma is common enough that it shouldn’t be a surprise. I guess maybe Baylor would be the closest thing to an unforeseen victory.
Luke: I’m tempted to say Baylor because I think they might be overrated, but then again that game’s in November so I suppose it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise by then. That makes the easy answer Oklahoma, because the majority of college football fans will still be surprised if K-State can stay competitive with the Sooners, even if the Sooners fans know better at this point.
AMS 84: I think K-State’s first chance to surprise people is Sept. 10 against Missouri by dominating from kickoff until the final whistle. Go out and play like the clearly superior team for 60 minutes in that game, and the Wildcats will get people’s attention.
JT: If we have the season I think they are capable of having, then my answer is at Baylor on Nov. 12. It was the trip-up game for us in 2012, and if Baylor is playing to expectations then it should be a preview of the conference championship game. Win that game (remaining undefeated or even just one loss), and the Wildcats have to be a serious contender for a spot in the CFP.
Which game do you think is the biggest risk to trip up Kansas State?
Jon: That means a game I expect K-State to win, otherwise I don’t view it as being tripped. I think K-State can beat everyone on the schedule, but I’m not willing to blithely mark Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa State, or Texas down as sure things. That leaves Oklahoma State, who I’m pretty sure K-State is going to beat but we all know how problematic they can be.
Eric: Biggest risk to upset the Cats is at Jack Trice. Against the Cyclones, it seems like it’s always going to be a close game with something stupid happening. I don’t like the looks of it, and I think it’s even more dangerous if we do take out OU two weeks prior.
wildcat00: I mentioned Iowa State before as a game I was looking forward to. It’s also the one game that makes me nervous because I think they’re the biggest potential roadblock here.
JT: I think at TCU is probably the right answer here. Maybe UT in Manhattan, but with Sonny Dykes in charge in Fort Worth, and with the talent available there, the Frogs could make plenty of noise this season. And with the way the Cats rolled over them last year, it’s a game they could get caught looking past after coming off the game in Ames and looking ahead to a critical home match with Oklahoma State the following week.
Luke: Call this a homer pick if you want but I’m going with Missouri. The Cats clearly should win, but they’ll still be developing chemistry early in the season and the Tigers have some dudes. Particularly if the talent they picked up on defense in the transfer portal can come together quickly, they could make this one a lot more interesting than I’d like it to be.
AMS 84: I think at Iowa State is the game that has the biggest chance to keep us out of the Big 12 Championship Game. If we can go 2-2 against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Texas, we have a decent shot at the conference championship. But it becomes a lot harder if we lose to Iowa State.
The Big 12 has contracts to appear in the Sugar, Alamo, Cheez-It, Texas, Liberty, Guaranteed Rate, Armed Forces, and First Responder bowls, plus the opportunity to appear in the College Football Playoff. Where do you think K-State ends up in the postseason? And where would you like to see the Wildcats play, not including the playoff?
Eric: Personally, Sugar Bowl or bust. I’ve been to the Alamo, Texas, Liberty, and Insight/BWW/blah-blah/Guaranteed Rate bowls, and with all due respect to our Texas-bound fans, I’m getting kind of tired of going to Texas for bowl games.
JT: If not the playoff, then the Sugar Bowl. It’s a bowl that many K-State fans would love to go to, and New Orleans would be packed with purple for that game. Past that, probably the
Blockbuster Carquest MicronPC Florida Tourism Mazda Champs Sports Russell Athletic Camping World Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, because again, it’s a place that K-State fans have not yet had the opportunity to take over.
AMS 84: Obviously I would love to see K-State make it to the Sugar Bowl, more because that would mean a really good season than because of the destination. I’d also be happy for fans to get to travel to Florida for the Cheez-It Bowl, because we’ve still never been to a bowl game in Florida.
Jon: I think the Alamo is the highest-percentage destination. I don’t expect a CFP miracle, and getting to the Sugar Bowl will require either finishing in second place while the Big 12 champion snags an invite, or winning the conference without making the CFP. Tough ask. And that being the case, if there’s no Sugar in the offing I shall continue my annual campaign to get K-State to a game in Florida for the first time.
Luke: Alamo feels like the safe choice here. Or maybe Cheez-It because some team with one or two wins less than K-State will get picked by the Alamo for no good reason. Anyway, Sugar seems a little ambitious and the Cats definitely have the potential to be up near the top of the conference. I learn slightly towards wanting the Sugar just because it’s obviously the best bowl and playing in New Orleans would be cool. Although I have to admit it would be fun to see K-State play in the Alamo and crush a Big Ten “powerhouse” like Michigan or Penn State. Just not Wisconsin. I hate them too much to even want to watch them lose.
wildcat00: What CFP? Never heard of her, does she even go here?! In all seriousness, I think everything from the Sugar to the First Responder Bowl is on the table here. But my preference would be the Sugar Bowl.
What will K-State’s record be at the end of the season, in the Big 12 and overall?
Jon: I think 9-3 (6-3) is the most likely outcome, but nothing between 7-5 and 12-0 would surprise me. I have concerns about this program’s tendency to hit a valley mid-season, but I also expect this team to win a couple of games most people think they have no business winning. Because that’s what they do.
Eric: I think K-State ends up in the Sugar Bowl if Cats go 10-2, finish second in the league, and OU makes the playoff. Realistically, I think that a 9-3 season should be considered a successful result overall. 8-4 would be leaving some chips on the table, and anything worse would feel like a step back from last year.
wildcat00: 10-2 end of season, 8-1 Big 12, win the CG, lose bowl game.
AMS 84: I feel like 9-3 (6-3) is most likely, but I am going to say we’ll do better than I think is likely and go 11-1 (8-1).
JT: If I’m betting (and you know what, I might actually do that this season...), I would go with 8-2 in the Big 12 and 10-2 overall (pre-bowl/CCG). I’m also going to predict that if losses occur, that both will come on the road from locations south of Manhattan. But I also think that’s a record that could get the Cats to Arlington in December for the Big 12 Championship, though even at 11-2 there’s no way that K-State is picked for the CFP (though we would get that sweet spot in the Sugar Bowl).