Campus Corner

Predicting this year’s victory total & answers to other K-State football questions

K-State receiver Isaiah Zuber celebrates with former running back Charles Jones after a touchdown against Texas Tech (October 8, 2016)
K-State receiver Isaiah Zuber celebrates with former running back Charles Jones after a touchdown against Texas Tech (October 8, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Before we get started with your questions, I want to let everyone know I am planning a full game-by-game prediction of K-State’s upcoming football season in the next two weeks. It will either lead off one of our next two Q&A’s or stand on its own before the Central Arkansas game. So if you asked for my prediction on Twitter, know that it’s on the way.

We have lots of great questions lined up this week, as always, so let’s get right to them. Thanks again for asking.

Probably.

K-State went 9-4 last season, and all the ingredients are back for a better season. Jesse Ertz has a year of starting experience at quarterback and the offense is loaded. The Wildcats will probably take a step back on defense without Jordan Willis, Elijah Lee and Dante Barnett, but it should still be one of the Big 12’s better units. And the schedule is very friendly.

Bill Snyder preaches daily improvement, so it’s hard to see anyone celebrating another 9-4 record. This team was picked to finish third in the Big 12, not eighth.

Then again, Vegas set K-State’s over/under win total at 7.5. So it’s not like everyone is expecting a great season.

I get the sense most fans have set their sights on at least 10 wins. Fair or not, that is probably the benchmark for a successful season.

Perhaps there is a scenario in which K-State could reach the Big 12 championship game at 8-4 and then beat Oklahoma or Oklahoma State for the league title. At that point, nine victories might not sound so bad. For right now, though, I think people are dreaming bigger.

That’s a tough question to answer without first seeing Adam Holtorf (Reid Najvar’s expected replacement) play in a live game. But based on Charlie Dickey’s track record breaking in new centers, I expect the Wildcats to get by with or without Najvar.

They would rather play Najvar in the middle of the offensive line, no doubt. He started 13 games last season and played very well. But he was a last-minute substitute for Dalton Risner after Dickey decided he was better suited at right tackle than center. And Risner took over for B.J. Finney as a redshirt freshman and played well.

Holtorf, a 6-foot-4, 293-pound sophomore, could do the same. He will almost certainly experience some growing pains as a first-time starter, particularly when it comes to calling out blocking assignments before the snap, but he will benefit from a full month of practice and two warm-up games (no offense, Central Arkansas and UNC-Charlotte) to get up to speed before he really has to deliver. I don’t expect him to play as well as Najvar, but I do expect him to play well.

This is an interesting game. Here’s my team:

Jake Waters: The top statistical passer in K-State history is only a $1? Sign me up!

John Hubert: Ranks second at K-State in career rushing yards. A bargain at $2.

Kevin Lockett: Would rather have his son, Tyler, but I’m spending big money on defense. I’ll take him for $3.

Arthur Brown: For my money, he’s the best player to suit up for Snyder since he came out of retirement. I’ll pay $4.

Terence Newman: He’s still playing in the NFL! Worth $5.

Here’s a name to keep an eye on: Dalton Schoen.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore from Overland Park might not have a bio in K-State’s media guide, but he could be a valuable possession receiver this season. I’m told he has been one of the most promising walk-ons this month. He also made some nice catches at Fan Appreciation Day. Don’t be shocked if he gets some looks as a slot receiver this year.

It will be a grind. Several K-State players will probably have to play hurt. But that’s always the case, isn’t it?

I think K-State’s bye actually comes at a good time. You start off with the three nonconference games, rest for a week and then start Big 12 play at home against Baylor. Seems to me, Snyder has long enjoyed his bye week at that exact time. A second bye would help everyone, but that’s not possible with the return of the league championship game.

Snyder looks pretty close to normal from where I’m sitting.

He’s been leading K-State football practices in the heat in the same windbreaker and pants he always wears. He had no problem giving his usual speech at Fan Appreciation Day. This one might have actually been longer than normal. He’s eating more than ever and switched from coffee to water. He’s regaining strength after undergoing cancer treatment.

I’m not his doctor, so I can’t say anything for sure. But I believe him when he says he feels fine.

I think so. Just because he missed one day of practice doesn’t mean he will miss the entire season.

Lately, it’s been Wendy’s.

Did you know you can go in there and get a junior bacon cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, french fries, a Dr Pepper and a frosty for $4.50? They have got to be losing money on that deal. When I take my family to Chick-fil-A for a quick dinner I’m spending $25 minimum. It’s better food, but it also costs triple what I could get at the restaurant Dave Thomas founded.

When I’m at McDonald’s, my go-to order is chicken nuggets or the $1 large soda. It amazes me people will go out of their way to hit up Sonic’s happy hour when there is a better, all-day deal across the street.

I don’t want to answer this question and end up labeled a jinx. I will leave that to you.

I’m not a big podcast guy. When I’m in the car, I listen to music. If I’m surfing the web, I’m clicking on stories to read and videos to watch. For the most part, I scroll right on past every podcast I see. That’s not to say I have never downloaded a podcast, but listening to other people talk isn’t my favorite thing in the world.

Maybe I will do one at some point, but nothing is currently in the works. But I do have some video ideas for the upcoming football season.

At some spots, yes. At some spots, no. It really depends on how Week 1 goes.

I freely admit my preseason poll was one big guess. Without seeing teams play, how are you supposed to rank them? The polls won’t be an accurate reflection of the season until October or so. So if a team outside my top 25 wins a big game in Week 1 I will look to move that team onto my ballot. But I’m also not going to overreact and drop a team I truly believe to be good (like Oklahoma or Ohio State) just because it opened against a weak opponent.

Women’s soccer is an interesting sport. It probably takes a little longer to build a team up from scratch than in other sports, because recruiting is different. Unlike in football and basketball, where coaches are recruiting mostly juniors and seniors, soccer coaches are looking at freshmen and sophomores. Sometimes they even offer middle-schoolers. For whatever reason, soccer players tend to commit early, so the best players K-State has targeted won’t be on campus for a few years.

There is also a permanent stadium to build and the full schedule to adjust to. But K-State already seems to have good support for soccer. It won’t take that long.

That’s a good question.

I don’t see either one happening anytime soon. K-State basketball has advanced beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament just once since 1988, and though I’m higher on the team Bruce Weber has returning than some they don’t strike me as a Sweet 16 team. Maybe it could happen if Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade all stay together as seniors. Maybe it will be another decade.

The Wildcats have never sold beer at concession stands at football games, but they do at baseball games and that has gone well. When I asked new athletic director Gene Taylor about the possibility of selling alcohol at K-State football games earlier this summer he told me he thought it was an interesting idea. Texas partnered with Corona. West Virginia sells beer. It’s becoming common in college football. If he took over at a school that already sold beer, he wouldn’t change that policy. But he also said he has no plans to change K-State’s policy. So it will be a while before we see beer in the stands.

To answer your question: I see K-State basketball in the Sweet 16 first. At least that’s happened before.

Byron Pringle, yes.

Alex Barnes, probably not. Even though he’s the best running back on the team, he will have to compete with Justin Silmon and Dalvin Warmack for touches. I bet Jesse Ertz leads the way in this category.

I think so. Earlier this week, K-State reported it still had 500 tickets available for the game. Those will probably sell in the next two weeks. The Wildcats are mighty proud of their sellout streak (33 straight games) and will do what they have to do (specials, discounts, giveaways) to keep it alive.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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