Who Wins The Big 12? Kansas State

As I do each year, I spend a decent amount of time crunching numbers like returning starters, returning yards and points, returning defensive plays made, schedule and trends, intangibles, and more. I then end up predicting every single Big 12 game in the upcoming season, and the last three seasons I correctly picked the Big 12 champion.

In 2010, I picked OU and the Sooners defeated Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game, although I must admit I had OU beating Missouri but the Huskers and Tigers were both 6-2 in the North Division. In 2011, I correctly picked Oklahoma State and last season, with more than a few people poking fun at me, I picked Kansas State.

This year for the first time I'm going to share my game-by-game summer prognostication with everybody rather than just one post on how the league will finish.

We are well on our way for this season with Kansas picked to finish last again at 2-10 (0-9 in the Big 12) and Iowa State is picked for ninth at 3-9 (1-8). West Virginia has an unusual amount of turnover in coaching staff along with the player losses such as their best offensive linemen, Geno Smith at quarterback, and the dynamic receiving duo of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey adding up for me to 5-7 (2-7).

Next up, as we approach the middle of the pack, is Kansas State.

Kansas State Wildcats
I picked Kansas State to win the Big 12 Conference last season and I was very confident in that selection. Why wouldn't you be as the Wildcats had a top dual-threat quarterback in senior Collin Klein, a speedster aggressive linebacker in Arthur Brown, a mayhem causing rush end on defense in Meshak Williams and the most accomplished coach, in my opinion, in the Big 12 in Bill Snyder.

Of those ingredients all that remains this season is Snyder, and that could be enough.

Along the way last season developed a really stout young offensive line with a few future NFL possibilities in B.J. Finney at center, Cody Whitehair at guard or tackle, and possibly either Cornelius Lucas or Tavon Rooks at tackle.

Young speedy receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson can make offensive plays and produce big returns on special teams. John Hubert is a really good running back. On defense there are only two starters returning in corner Randall Evans and safety Ty Zimmerman. In this league with all the offense that is a very tough situation to deal with.

That is the main reason I have Kansas State's win total cut almost in half for 2013. No returning starters on the front seven? Against North Dakota State, Louisiana and UMass that won't matter. Against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor, their first three conference foes, that is asking for a scoreboard that needs revolving numbers.

The offense will recover and be productive with possibly Jake Waters, a J.C. transfer at quarterback, and lots of weapons. The defense won't be a quick fix and the offense, while good is not the type that pours it on and runs away from foes.

Bill Snyder has worked another miracle in Manhattan but his next goal has to be to get the program where it can win back-to-back Big 12 Championships and it is not there yet.

K-State Schedule and Game-by-Game Predictions
Aug. 30, North Dakota State - Win - FCS Opponent just the way Snyder likes to start off.
Sept. 7, Louisiana - Win - Rajin' Cajuns are good but not good enough to win in Manhattan.
Sept. 14, UMass - Win - Not an FCS team, as Minutemen are not in the MAC.
Sept. 21, @Texas - Loss - Cats get Texas off a loss to Ole Miss and the Horns and UT faithful are angry.
Oct. 5, @Oklahoma State - Loss - Cowboys looking for revenge in and K-State won't be able to keep up.
Oct. 12, Baylor - Loss - Bears have a better defense than last season and an offense that will really give Wildcats defense problems.
Oct. 26, West Virginia - Win - Good decision on homecoming opponent as Mountaineers will be very beatable.
Nov. 2, Iowa State - Win - Back-to-back home games and wins as Cyclones one-dimensional attack more easy to defend.
Nov. 9, @Texas Tech - Loss - This will be the most winnable game outside the home wins in the previous two games, and they get Tech off an ego-inflating upset win the week before.
Nov. 16, TCU - Loss - Welcome home Gary Patterson, but the K-State grad has a team in contention for conference honors.
Nov. 23, Oklahoma - Loss - Always interesting when the Stoops come back to take on Snyder and K-State, but OU has too much.
Nov. 30, @Kansas - Win - Time to clinch a bowl bid and take out frustrations, and Kansas is a willing punching bag.

The Wildcats finish 6-6 and 3-6 in conference play. It's not what Wildcat fans want but call this a bridge season as I would guess Kansas State will be in better position to compete in the conference in 2014. There is a bowl bid here as Kansas State makes a return trip to the Big Apple for a Pinstripe date with Rutgers or UConn.

Here are the other team previews:
Who Wins the Big 12: West Virginia

Who Wins the Big 12: Iowa State

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