Are the Kansas State Wildcats Once Again a Dark Horse?

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Nov 30, 2013; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder on the sidelines against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret the Kansas State Wildcats’ brand of football under head coach Bill Snyder is boring. Commentators like to say it isn’t flashy or sexy, but just call it was it is. The bottom line is when you’re winning; the way in which you achieve victory can be overlooked in most cases. 2012 was an example of perfect mistake free football. And the reward was a team being in the national title hunt.

2012 was a magical year for the Wildcats. An overlooked quarterback landed in Manhattan, and all of a sudden was in the Heisman Trophy discussion. But no matter how well Collin Klein played, the real fluid that made the KSU engine purr was mistake free football. Kansas State was by far the leader in the Big 12 in turnover margin. They didn’t make the silly mistakes that so many teams lose games committing. The offense also controlled the clock, and put up plenty of points. The result was an 11-2 record and share of the Big 12 title.

However, last season was a different story. Despite winning eight games and defeating Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, it felt like some wins were left on the table. Take for instance their first loss last season to North Dakota State. KSU was leading the Bison 21-7 in the third quarter, but then QB Jake Waters threw two interceptions, and the Cats began the year 0-1. Then, jump ahead to Sept. 21 against Texas, where Kansas State turned the ball over three times while not forcing any turnovers in a 10 point loss. The Wildcats turned the ball over five times the following week in a four point loss to Oklahoma State, and only threw one interception in a 10 point loss to Baylor, but had a missed FG along with two failed two-point conversions.

The Wildcats would go on to win four straight, but faced similar issues when doing battle with Oklahoma. In a 10 point loss to the Sooners, the Wildcats had two turnovers and went 3-9 on third down conversions. KSU doesn’t have enough talent to commit such costly mistakes. Last season, they went 8-2 against AP unranked teams, but made mistakes they just didn’t make in 2012 in three games against AP ranked opponents last season. The difference was an 8-5 record, as opposed to another 10+ win season.

What’s the verdict on the 2014 edition of Kansas State?

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