Campus Corner

Ask Kellis: Bill Snyder, Big 12 struggles, FAU and Street Fighter

K-State players wait to take the field for their first game of the 2015 season against South Dakota Coyotes.(September 05, 2015)
K-State players wait to take the field for their first game of the 2015 season against South Dakota Coyotes.(September 05, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

Kansas State’s upcoming football game against Florida Atlantic got me thinking about video games.

Street Fighter, in particular.

Not because I expect this to be a classic fight between Ryu and M. Bison. I would actually compare it to Ryu vs. a parked car. You know that bonus stage you reached after defeating a few challengers? The one where winning and losing wasn’t in dispute. The only question was: how quickly could you destroy the car?

Well, that’s how I expect this game to go on Saturday. The Wildcats are favored by 22 points, and I am picking them to win by even more. My prediction: 45-14. Florida Atlantic has some quality skill players, but its defense has major issues. K-State’s offense should have its way with the Owls, and a blowout victory should let coach Bill Snyder empty the sidelines so fans can see Alex Delton and other young backups.

Still, a lopsided score is never given. Georgia was a 55-point favorite over FCS Nicholls last week and won 26-24. So I asked Florida Atlantic coach Charlie Partridge what it will take for the Owls to pull off the upset.

He responded with a three-point answer.

1. Outplay K-State on special teams.

2. Minimize penalties.

3. Create turnovers.

“We cannot give Kansas State extra possessions,” Partridge said in a phone interview. “They are too valuable. We have to steal a possession or two, and score touchdowns off them, to beat a well-disciplined team like this on the road.”

There you have it. If Florida Atlantic does all three, maybe the game will resemble a fight more than a bonus stage. If not, some poor car is about to catch a Hadoken.

Now, onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Whenever Bill Snyder says the Wildcats should utilize an offensive player at a higher level than they currently are, well, it doesn’t mean all that much.

While I think he is being honest with media when he says he would like to throw more passes to Dayton Valentine and to get Alex Delton and Dalvin Warmack more involved, he might only mean that when picturing the best-case scenario.

If he says he wants to use Delton against Florida Atlantic, he likely means he wants K-State to have such a big lead that he can use his No. 3 quarterback in the fourth quarter. More tight end passes might mean two instead of one. Warmack’s ceiling could be eight touches in a single game.

Or maybe he is just sending up a smoke screen to confuse the opponent.

Snyder favors experience. He also likes to keep game strategy private. If you expect Snyder to follow through with personnel decisions he shares at press conferences, well ...

I expect the offensive line to be the most improved position this weekend.

The Wildcats didn’t block well at all against Stanford, but they were also breaking in a new starter at all five positions. And two of those new starters were freshmen playing together on the left side of the line. That experience will help against a lesser opponent.

I bet we see a backup lineman or two get on the field, but not until late. The current starting five needs as much time together as possible.

I am expecting him to get more than two touches.

Fearless prediction: 5 carries for 45 yards, 2 catches for 18 yards.

Nah. Florida Atlantic will find a way to score a touchdown or two.

Short answer: Bill Snyder doesn’t want alternate jerseys delivered to Manhattan at any pace.

Long answer: My August story on K-State’s traditional uniform and the complicated process some players are battling to change them.

There will be a new uniform combination at Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday, though. Florida Atlantic is going all white.

Maybe. Stanford did look pretty good on defense against K-State.

But Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor (on occasion) can all play defense, too. The Wildcats will see comparable units in the Big 12.

Collin Klein (10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky) and Jake Waters (24-21 loss to North Dakota State) both looked shaky at the beginning of their junior years, and they turned out all right.

Stay patient with Ertz. It was his first game, he was playing with a green offensive line and Bill Snyder said the receivers (some also seeing action for the first time) had trouble running the correct routes. And he looked pretty good in the fourth quarter, throwing for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Give him time to develop in K-State’s final two nonconference games and then re-evaluate him after the conference opener.

I was a tad surprised to see some K-State fans fill up my mentions with suggestions that the Wildcats can go 8-4 and win the Big 12 this year.

The conference is off to a disappointing start (how do you go 0-2 against the MAC?) but that doesn’t mean the league is garbage. Oklahoma lost a close game to No. 6 Houston in Houston. Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan on an illegal play. TCU fell to No. 24 Arkansas in double overtime. Such defeats greatly hinder the Big 12’s playoff chances, but they won’t derail entire seasons.

Kansas looks as bad as ever and Iowa State might be even worse. Texas Tech can’t play defense. I like K-State’s chances of winning those games more than I did before the season, but I was already picking the Wildcats in those games. Maybe fans should feel more optimistic about beating Oklahoma State at home or stealing one at TCU, but those remain difficult games.

Baylor, Texas and West Virginia are still undefeated. They seem better than expected.

And it’s still too early to judge just how good K-State will be this season. The Wildcats have only played one game, and they lost it 26-13.

I am still predicting K-State to go 7-5 with a 5-4 conference record. The Big 12 champion should still win at least seven league games.

Dream big, my friend. Dream big!

But also dream of the final playoff spot not coming down to K-State and Stanford.

If you took a poll of K-State fans, I’m guessing the top two expansion choices would be Nebraska and Arizona or Arizona State.

The fans I talk to seem split on the current expansion finalists, much like Big 12 officials appear to be.

Some like Houston, some don’t. Some favor BYU, some despise the idea of BYU. Cincinnati seems OK, but not great. I’ve heard cases made for and against every school out there.

Maybe that’s why Oklahoma president David Boren says expansion is “not a sure thing.”

(Had trouble embedding the following tweet, so it is written in bold)

From: @tinman_sower: Bold prediction time -- Will Zach Reuter ever top his freshman production of 6 catches and 47 yards? I vote no. Too much talent now.

Zach Reuter is just a sophomore. There is plenty of time left in his career to crack those miniscule numbers, and I bet he does.

He isn’t as high up the WR pecking order as he was last year, but it won’t take much for him to snag seven catches for 50 yards in a season. Heck, if K-State goes up in these next two games he will get on the field and have the opportunity to put up numbers before Big 12 play begins. Injuries and blowouts will help his cause.

And, again, he’s just a sophomore. There is plenty of time for him to improve and become a more consistent contributor.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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