• 2012 record: 11-2 overall, 8-1 Big 12 (first)
By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
• Projected 2013 record: 9-3 overall, 6-3 Big 12 (third)
• Key starters lost: LB Arthur Brown, QB Collin Klein, WR Chris Harper, DE Meshak Williams
• Key starters returning: C B.J. Finney, LT Cornelius Lucas, RB John Hubert, S Ty Zimmerman, WR Tyler Lockett, WR Tramaine Thompson.
• Leader in the huddle: Senior safety Ty Zimmerman is entering his fourth straight year as a starter, but this will be his season as K-States unquestioned leader on defense. He played behind Arthur Brown and a strong defensive line last year. Now Zimmerman, a preseason All-American candidate, is one of only three returning defensive starters. He is up for the challenge, though. His football knowledge and speed make him one of the top defensive backs in the nation.
• Heres the catch: Replacing Collin Klein at quarterback will be hard. Replacing Arthur Brown at linebacker will be even harder. Brown was the focal point of K-States defense the past two seasons. He patrolled the middle of the field, stopping the run with punishing hits and defending the pass with timely interceptions. His speed and confidence made life easier for everyone on K-States defense. The Wildcats dont have anyone like that this season.
• End result: The Wildcats may not have the returning talent to match their success from last season, but that doesnt mean they are in for a down year. The offense is loaded with playmakers. New quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams should be able to move the ball effectively. As long as the defense shows improvement throughout the season, K-State should be able to take advantage of a soft schedule that features eight home games.
|Aug. 30||North Dakota State||7:30 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 7||Louisiana-Lafayette||5:30 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 14||Massachusetts||6 p.m.||W|
|Sept. 21||at Texas||TBA||L|
|Oct. 5||at Oklahoma State||TBA||L|
|Oct. 26||West Virginia||TBA||W|
|Nov. 2||Iowa State||TBA||W|
|Nov. 9||at Texas Tech||TBA||W|
|Nov. 30||at Kansas||TBA||W|
| Kellis Robinett, firstname.lastname@example.org | Projections by The Stars Blair Kerkhoff