Those expecting the Wildcats to be the team to beat in the Big 12 may want to think again, although the Wildcats are expected to be solid across the board again in 2015. We run over the college football odds inside.
One quick look over the Big 12 champion futures odds and you get a general idea of who we should be paying the most attention to in college football. The likes of TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma will be jockeying for positioning right at the top, and it's hard to picture Kansas State coming out on top when compared with those programs.
When we look at the various sportsbooks to get a clearer idea, we see the Wildcats quoted in the +1200 to +1400 range to win the Big 12 (which ranks them sixth out of 10 teams). Now Kansas State is priced at +1500 at 5Dimes Sportsbook to become the national champion; yeah, it's just not going to happen, so don't even think about it.
Kansas State Wildcats: 2014 Recap
Looking at those odds, you'd think the Wildcats were some scrub program that had an awful 2014 and is still a long ways away from truly competing with the best of the best.
However, that's not really the case. Kansas State had a great showing last season, finishing 9-3 in the regular season, with the team's only losses coming to #5 (at the time) Auburn, #6 TCU and #6 Baylor. Not bad competition, right? The Wildcats were able to earn an invite to the Alamo Bowl, where they lost 40-35 to UCLA.
Individually, Kansas State was led by QB Jake Waters, at least offensively. Waters got the job done with both his arm and his legs, compiling 3501 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes to go with 484 rushing yards and nine rushing scores. The Wildcats also had running back Charles Jones, who bruised his way to 13 touchdown runs himself. Tyler Lockett was the main man within the receiving corp, as he recorded 1515 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014; Curry Sexton was also very effective, racking up 1059 yards and five scores.
On the other end of the field, Kansas State more than held its own, holding opponents to an average of 23.2 points per game, the 29th-best mark in all college football. The Wildcats, in all actuality, were one of the most balanced teams out there in 2014 - will we see more of the same in 2015?
Kansas State Wildcats: 2015 Look-Ahead
If the Wildcats are able to string together some wins and surprise here and there, they're going to have to earn it. It's not going to be a walk in the park whatsoever in a very competitive Big 12 conference, and the college football odds back that statement up, putting Kansas State relatively low both overall and in the conference.
Why don't odds makers seem to like the Wildcats' chances? For starters, Waters is no longer around, so the quarterback position is a lot shakier than it once was. Joe Hubener, a junior, is set to assume the starting role, but he doesn't have much experience whatsoever and is largely an unknown quantity.
Given how important sound quarterback play is, especially in a conference like the Big 12, the Wildcats aren't to be fully trusted until we see what they're made of early on in the season. Then you throw in the fact the team's top two wideouts from last year, Lockett and Sexton, have both moved on to the NFL, and you can see why our expectations aren't all that high heading into the new season.
We'll get a good idea of just how good this team is when they roll through a daunting stretch that includes matchups with Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas Tech in succession. Yikes. What a test that will be for the Sooners.