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NCAA Football Big 12 FootballKansas State Wildcats

Rant Sports College Football Top 100: No. 25 Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State Wildcats

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since the Kansas State Wildcats won a bowl game. In fact, they haven’t been victorious in a postseason appearance since 2002, only winning two bowl games since 2000. However, head coach Bill Snyder, although aging, is one of the best in the Big 12 as well as school history.

No one has been more successful than Snyder at Kansas State and he has been part of one of the most successful rebuilding periods in program history.

While this team will look to finish better than their impressive 11-2 result from 2012, they will have to do so without Collin Klein as their superstar quarterback. Losing him as well as top receiver Chris Harper and top defensive player from 2012, Arthur Brown, this team will need to come together quickly before the season opener on Aug. 30.

Let’s take a look at how they stack up against the competition in 2013.

KEY PLAYERS

Kansas State’s offense was one of the best in the Big 12 last season, point-wise, but how will they improve on its lackluster 91st ranked pass offense. Sure, Klein was a Heisman candidate, but he became such because of his ridiculous amount of rushing touchdowns as a dual-threat quarterback.

This season, running back John Hubert and receiver Tyler Lockett will be the primary offensive weapons as the returning leading rusher and top returning wide out, respectively.

Defensively, the top returning tackler, defensive back Randall Evans, will look to be a leader. He recorded 76 tackles last season as a sophomore and is one of the only returning starters from 2012.

OFFENSE

As I stated earlier, the offense will need to improve in the passing game and right now there are two guys fighting for the starting quarterback job. Jake Waters, a junior college transfer and national champion, as well as sophomore Daniel Sams, Klein’s backup in 2012, will be duking it out to see who can take the reigns in 2013.

According to Snyder, the quarterback battle is a dead tie and it will take some strong August performances to earn the role. Despite not having a solid quarterback starter right now, two of the top receivers from last season will be the favorite targets of whomever wins the job.

Both Lockett and Tramaine Thompson combined for 81 catches and 1,213 yards and eight touchdowns — finishing second and third in receiving on the team in 2012, respectively. Also, Thompson is one of the best punt returners in the conference.

DEFENSE

The Wildcats’ defense has to be one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2013 season. Losing most of their top defenders from a season ago, Kansas State will have a tough time adjusting to a whole new staff.

Six of the top seven tackle leaders will no longer be part of the defense in 2013, meaning that this squad will rely heavily on Evans and Ty Zimmerman to carry the defensive load. These two defensive backs were key players last season, learning from the veterans in 2012.

While the defense may not as good as it was in 2012, it will be younger and therefore better in the long-run.

SCHEDULE

Finishing 11-2 is probably not very likely in 2013 because the Wildcats are losing many key players, but this team could definitely make their fourth straight bowl game and ninth since 2000.

Here are their toughest games: at Texas Longhorns, at Oklahoma State Cowboys, vs. West Virginia Mountaineers, at Texas Tech Red Raiders, vs. TCU Horned Frogs and vs. Oklahoma Sooners.

There are a few more tough games on the schedule, but these are the toughest. The schedule is far from easy, but the Wildcats have the talent to come close to 10 wins, but I don’t think that will happen. In my opinion, they will finish 8-4 and make yet another bowl game under Snyder.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.