The preseason AP Top 25 football rankings are out, and the Kansas State Wildcats have their highest preseason ranking since Bill Snyder’s first tenure as head coach.
On the heels of a 10-win season with a Big 12 Championship, Chris Klieman’s team is ranked 16th by the AP’s 63 voters, with 511 points. K-State hasn’t been ranked that highly in the preseason since 2004, when the Wildcats started the year ranked 13th following K-State’s first Big 12 Championship. I was just going into my junior year at K-State then.
The difference between the 2023 Wildcats the the 2004 team, which posted a disappointing 4-7 season, is that this team returns starting quarterback Will Howard and its top eight offensive linemen from last season, while the 2004 team lost starting quarterback Ell Roberson and two NFL-caliber offensive linemen in Nick Lecky and Ryan Lilja.
The Wildcats are one of four current Big 12 teams ranked in the top 25, along with Texas (11th/882 points), TCU (17th/416), and Oklahoma (20th/296). Texas Tech and Baylor received votes but did not crack the top 25. Future Big 12 member Utah (14th/811) also is ranked. The Wildcats’ Sept. 9 opponents, the Troy Trojans, also received votes but are outside the Top 25.
Two-time defending College Football Playoff National Champions Georgia are ranked No. 1 in a runaway. They received 60 out of 63 first place votes, and were second on the three ballots that didn’t rank them first. No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State received the other first-place votes.
K-State begins its season against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (No. 12 FCS) at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Note: An earlier version of this story reported that Kansas State had 501 points and that Kansas was in the “also receiving votes” category, based on the initial Associated Press rankings, which mistakenly credited Kansas with a 16th-place vote for K-State. The AP rankings and this story have been corrected.