How in the world do the Kansas State Wildcats keep on winning? They’re clearly overachieving, so this is nothing but smoke and mirrors right? It might seem you would have a better chance of deciphering the Labyrinth if you take this team at face value, but if you look deep into the cat’s eyes, you will see it’s a very simple, fundamental brand of football that we’re all taught when we’re kids. The secret is no secret at all. Bill Snyder has his team in the hunt for a national title with mistake-free football.
Last season was an engrossing journey for the college football world. Despite being outgained by its opponents within conference play by 106.8 yards per game, the Wildcats were able to control games with time of possession. Mistakes were hard to find on offense as they only turned the ball over 15 times.
It was as if KSU was promoting a live version of defense for dummies as they posted 27 takeaways, while only being on the field about 26 minutes a game. And finally, to rub it in the face of every coach who has failed to sell their team on winning the close games, nine of the 13 games were decided by a touchdown or less. K-State was 8-1 in those games.
There was no way they could repeat this same success right? Wrong. This season has been much of the same. Kansas State doesn’t impress in terms of total offense (41st nationally) or defense (44th nationally), however, they do rank 11th nationally in scoring offense and 16th in scoring defense. They have a tendency to do just enough on both ends of the ball to come out on the winning side. We’re witnessing the art of fundamentally sound pigskin.
The Wildcats also demonstrate more evidence to the brilliance of coach Snyder, as the fifth best team in turnover margin along with the fewest yards penalized in the nation. To quote Barry Switzer, “He’s not the coach of the year, he’s not the coach of the decade, he’s the coach of the century.” Not to get too far ahead, but how great would it be to see coach Snyder go up against Nick Saban in the BCS Championship?
Despite the success last season, the Wildcats still weren’t looked at as a top team even in the Big 12, let alone nationally. The Oklahoma Sooners absolutely throttled the cats by 41 in 2011, but redemption served KSU well this season when they beat the Sooners in Norman. No one considered K-State a legit national title contender at the beginning of the season, and people are still a bit uncomfortable considering them a threat.
As great as the win in Norman was, the Wildcats have to move forward because this Saturday they travel to Ames to take on a confident Iowa State Cyclones team that has become increasingly difficult to beat at home. Then the showdown that could decide the conference title against the West Virginia Mountaineers comes a week later in Morgantown. Here is some advice for KSU, don’t lose.