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Do preseason predictions even matter?

Short answer: it depends.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We count down the days to kickoff with BracketCat's roster countdown, now up to #36 walk-on linebacker Logan Thompson, a 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl selection.

In the latest installment of the 2015 Early Opponent Preview, KSUEMAW! takes a closer look at "silent but Strong" Texas.

Finally, as part of your 2015 Preseason Conditioning, Jon Morse riffs on Dan Mullen's eligibility plan and takes a closer look at several NAIA teams. A quick reminder that the comments section to this post also operates as a Mailbag, so feel free to ask Jon about all things footbaw. Alternatively, you can find him on Twitter as @jonfmorse.

The Wildcats did not make it into the Top 25 of the season's inaugural poll, but as most of us already know, Kansas State does not put much stock in predictions anyway (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle). The team is picked to finish seventh in the Big 12, not much of a departure from the usual preseason standings. Bill Snyder shrugged the whole thing off, because he's Bill Snyder. Also, in the wise words of Cody Whitehair, "Coach loves to be an underdog." But former Wildcat Ben Leber took a cautious approach, noting that there were too many questions on both sides of the ball to inspire confidence among fans. He might be reading our comments section!

In Snyder's second run on the sidelines, Kansas State has defied easy description in terms of rankings and numbers. Rather, it is the small, intangible things that make a difference in Manhattan. For example, most other coaches wouldn't even consider bringing a former walk-on who now captains the special teams to an event like Big 12 Media Days (Kelly McHugh, K-State SID), but Snyder recognized the contributions of Stanton Weber on the field and that says more about the program than preseason rankings or predictions ever could (Brandon Chatmon, ESPN).

A system that rewards unsung contributors and the family atmosphere of the program may have contributed to at least one recruit's decision to sign with Kansas State. Godley (TX) lineman Blake Hickey chose the Wildcats over several other FBS schools and announced his decision on Twitter:

The volleyball team has earned its fifth straight AVCA team academic award, one of only three Big 12 teams. The award honors college and high school teams that maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 over the course of the season. This is the 12th time in the last 14 seasons that Kansas State has achieved this academic goal. Last year, two players, Kersten Kober and Gina Madonia, had perfect GPAs, with Kober maintaining a 4.0 throughout her career as a Wildcat.

Mental analytics could change sports forever. This longform article explores how two entrepreneurs could be turning neuroscience into moneyball (Zach Schonbrun, SB Nation).

Note: the initial version of this post accidentally misattributed the Stanton Weber article to Jake Trotter. Sorry for the mixup.