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Kansas State

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Kansas State continues moving along and while it isn’t a flashy program under Bill Snyder, the Wildcats keep making bowl games and that’s the main goal in the end. They finished 8-4 last season, somewhat disappointing, but still got a bowl win over Texas A&M to put a good note on the campaign. With more experience returning in 2017, the Wildcats will be looking to reach that double-digit win mark.

That’s made possible with the help of quarterback Jesse Ertz, who led the offense to a solid 32.2 points per game. He’s not a great passer (57.6% completion, 9 TDs, 4 INTs), but that doesn’t matter a ton in this offense as he ran for 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns. The offensive line returns four starters and should be one of the better groups in the Big 12, while key blockers Winston Dimel and Dayton Valentine also return. It’s a bit more unknown at the skill positions, but Byron Pringle (631 yards, 4 TDs) looks set to break out in the passing game along with the up-and-coming Carlos Strickland in the slot. The running backs are deep with Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon expected to split duties.

Defense may be a bigger question after being a strong suit last season allowing 21.8 points per game. If this group drops off, that could mean trouble in the high-flying Big 12. The line lacks depth, but still has plenty of talent with Reggie Walker only a sophomore. Linebacker is completely new, although all of the expected starters have been in the system with Trent Tanking a senior in the middle. The secondary was great least season, but they can become elite with some improvement through corners D.J. Reed and Duke Shelley to go with safety Kendall Adams.

Kansas State has started a bit slow the past few seasons, but should get off to a good start before a trip to Vanderbilt. With a win there, the Wildcats could enter conference play looking solid with three of their first four games coming at home. If they can take down Texas in that first road game and then upset Oklahoma at the end of October, they’ll be sitting pretty before trips to Texas Tech and OK State late in the season.

If the defense can reach last year’s levels and the offense takes a jump behind Ertz, this team has what it takes to reach 10 wins in the regular season. This team hasn’t reached that mark since 2012 when it made the Fiesta Bowl, but without any truly dominant teams in the Big 12 this season, there’s a chance the Wildcats surprise. Of course, if the defense has a couple bad games and the offense can’t keep up similar to last year, then eight or nine wins would be more likely. As for the odds, K State has the fifth best in the conference at +1200 to win the Big 12 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.


2017 Kansas State Wildcats Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Central Arkansas
Sept. 9 vs. Charlotte
Sept. 16 at Vanderbilt
Sept. 30 vs. Baylor

Oct. 7 at Texas
Oct. 14 vs. TCU
Oct. 21 vs. Oklahoma

Oct. 28 at Kansas
Nov. 4 at Texas Tech
Nov. 11 vs. West Virginia
Nov. 18 at Oklahoma State
Nov. 25 vs. Iowa State

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