Kansas State is ranked in the preseason wire service polls but is the sixth choice in the Big 12. The conference should be that good. In quarterback Collin Klein and linebacker Arthur Brown, the Wildcats have great leaders on both sides and that should help pave the way to another bowl season. And I don’t think anybody in Manhattan is thinking sixth place.
Sept. 1 Missouri State
Coach Terry Allen lost his projected starting quarterback in May, but the Bears picked up Missouri transfer Ashton Glaser. W
Sept. 8 Miami, Fla.
The scenario was ideal for Kansas State last season. The Wildcats played two low profile opponents before heading to Miami, while the Hurricanes had met Maryland on national TV and Ohio State the next week. The same advantage doesn’t exist this time for K-State, but it doesn’t need to. The Wildcats should be favored here. W
Sept. 15 North Texas
Former Iowa State Coach Dan McCarney is in his second season at North Texas, and in his first the program improved by two games over the previous year. The Mean Green will be organized and disciplined but not talented enough to stay with the Wildcats. W.
Sept. 22 at Oklahoma
The Star’s 58-page football section on Sunday includes Kellis Robinett’s excellent profile of Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein and how spirituality is a driving force in his life. There was no more valuable player in college football last season, and it went beyond Klein’s 27 rushing touchdowns and 1,141 rushing yards. He’s a remarkable leader who went 2-1 against teams that have quarterbacks who start in the NFL (victories over Griffin III and Tannehill, a loss to Weeden). The trip to Norman figures to be the most difficult assignment of his career. Oklahoma has lost two home games under Bob Stoops, and for all the success Kansas State has had against Texas, it’s the opposite against the Sooners, who have won five straight over K-State. L
Oct. 6 Kansas W
Oct. 13 at Iowa State
Tricky game for the Cats. In 2009, Iowa State won at Nebraska. In 2010, the Cyclones won at Texas. Last season produced the Oklahoma State takedown. Coach Paul Rhoads’ teams are always up for the challenge. But so are Bill Snyder’s teams. W
Oct. 20 at West Virginia
This could be an elimination game for the Big 12 title. The Mountaineers are a popular choice to contend for the conference championship, and Kansas State, which went 7-2 in the league last year, doesn’t get the same consideration. This could be a chip-on-the-shoulder game for K-State. L
Oct. 27 Texas Tech
Incredible victory in Lubbock last season for Kansas State, which was outgained by 241 yards. Like Klein, Tech quarterback Seth Doege is underrated. W
Nov. 3 Oklahoma State
The Cowboys won’t drop off as much as people think. The Cowboys defense should be the best in Coach Mike Gundy’s eight seasons. W
Nov. 10 at TCU
If all goes according to projection, Kansas State will be in the thick of the championship hunt, and so should TCU. The Horned Frogs’ league schedule gets progressively more difficult, but Coach Gary Patterson finds a way to beat his alma mater. L
Nov. 17 at Baylor
So much went right for Kansas State last season. The Wildcats were among the national leaders in stuff that wins ballgames: Turnover margin, special teams play, penalty yard difference. And they got a couple of bounces along the way. It made for a magical, 10-victory and second-place season for a team that was picked to finish eighth. There may be an unexpected victory or two along the way this season, but there were none that went the other way last year. This could be one. L
Dec. 1 Texas
Nobody plays Texas as well as Kansas State. W