As you probably noticed yesterday, Kansas State was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big 12 football poll. That wasn’t the least bit surprising. But the Wildcats also received two first-place votes. That turned some heads.
Two of the 52 media members that voted in the poll (about 4 percent) think K-State will win the conference this season. Only preseason favorite Oklahoma received more first-place votes. That’s interesting.
The Big 12 seems wide open this year, even if OU is the obvious favorite, and the league’s preseason poll helps push that narrative. You could make a case for just about any team from No. 2 to No. 7. And with five different teams receiving first-place votes, I guess you can also make a case for just about any team at No. 1.
I didn’t vote in this year’s poll, but (so they are written down somewhere) here are my preseason picks:
1. Oklahoma: No Baker Mayfield, but the Sooners still appear to be the class of the Big 12.
2. West Virginia: People picking the Mountaineers in the middle of the pack are nuts. No one is stopping this offense.
3. Texas: The Texas Is Back Tour begins in earnest this season.
4. TCU: Gary Patterson will have another good team.
5. Kansas State: Hard to pick the Wildcats any higher until we see what the new coordinators have in store.
6. Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy has to replace a lot this season.
7. Iowa State: I want to pick the Cyclones higher, but I just can’t do it.
8. Texas Tech: This could be the year Kliff Kingsbury finally breaks through. Or not.
9. Baylor: Bears could challenge for eighth.
10. Kansas: David Beaty will coach how many games this season?
And now it’s time for another K-State Q&A. Let’s get to your questions. Thanks, as always, for providing them.
Does the 2 QB start to the season... both going to media days... lead us to a repeat of the Waters/Sam’s season. What is the upside of this?— Larry Ross (@BowTieMetal) July 12, 2018
Bill Snyder taking both Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson to Big 12 media days is an unexpected move. I figured he would leave both of them home. But K-State hasn’t selected captains yet and everyone wants to know who the starting QB is going to be, so he’s letting us talk to both of them. That’s probably a sign that he thinks a lot of each of them and that they remain “dead even” as preseason camp approaches.
Who knows what the season brings, but I think we will see both quarterbacks play. Not an even split. Snyder, as he should, wants a clear starter and backup hierarchy. Still, I think Delton and Thompson will both have their moments even after one of them establishes himself as QB1.
There are obvious downsides to using multiple quarterbacks. But there are some upsides. Playing two QBs could reduce the risk of injury and keep defenses off balance. Could lead to some neat trick plays, as well.
Things will work themselves out. Jake Waters and Daniel Sams did go back and forth in 2013, but even then Waters was the guy in most games, particularly once November arrived.
Favorite B12 Media Days moment.— Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) July 12, 2018
This question takes me back to a ballroom in a downtown Dallas hotel. The year was 2011. Colorado and Nebraska had just departed the Big 12, and rumors swirled that others might soon follow. Everyone was mad about The Longhorn Network for reasons that seemed important at the time and turned out to not matter at all. But Dan Beebe wanted to convince the media everything was hunky-dory.
So, at the conclusion of Day 1 interviews, he gathers media into a ballroom for ... Well, I’m not sure what exactly.
Everyone in attendance was presented a backpack filled with Big 12 swag. Then we were asked to take pictures of every coach in the conference, who had gathered on a stage for a photo op that signified league unity. But some of the coaches had already gone home. So it wasn’t much of a sign of unity. Then Beebe walks onto the same stage while the theme music from “The Natural” blares at max volume. After that, a hype man comes out with a mic and does a one-on-one interview with Beebe that felt a lot like LeBron James and his infamous Decision. His message: The Big 12 had never been better.
It was hard, nay impossible, not to laugh at the spectacle.
A few short months later, Texas A&M and Missouri bolted for the SEC and Beebe was out of a job. But he’ll always have that event at Big 12 media days. I will certainly always remember it.
What's your take on the positioning of Kstate in the odds of winning the Big12?— Kenn Wealand (@KennWealand) July 12, 2018
Here are the Big 12 championship odds Bovada assigned to every team:
7/5 - Oklahoma
3/1 - Texas
13/2 - TCU
8/1 - Oklahoma State and West Virginia
25/1 - Iowa State
30/1 - Kansas State
40/1 - Texas Tech
60/1 - Baylor
800/1 - Kansas
K-State’s odds seem about right. With two new coordinators, uncertainty at quarterback and some serious holes to fill on defense, the Wildcats have too many question marks to be considered serious contenders in the Big 12 race. Maybe they deserve to have the same odds as Iowa State, but the Cyclones went 8-5 with some nice upsets last season. I can see why their odds are lower.
Rule of thumb in the Big 12 is that Texas is perennially overrated in the preseason polls and K-State is perennially underrated.
That’s probably the case here ... Again. So if you’re confident in the Wildcats, by all means take advantage.
Some other thoughts on those odds: West Virginia is the best sleeper pick. I think the Mountaineers make the Big 12 championship game. Texas Tech could be worth a dart throw. I know all the reasons why the Red Raiders will probably disappoint, but if you absolutely had to pick a dark-horse team with long odds they seem like the best option. Also: no odds make KU football appealing.
The new fed tax law resulted in K-state having to pay $700,000 in excise tax on coach Weber and Snyder’s salary? If so, what did Ku pay on Self’s?— Bob Strawn (@StrawnBob) July 12, 2018
You can read about all the projected numbers right here.
Let’s get real for a second: If Bill Snyder allows any chain restaurant into the football stadium it’s Taco Bell.
K-dawg!— the (@grant_ksu) July 12, 2018
If you could create a new bowl game, where would it be and what would you call it?
If you could be the best in the world in any sport, what sport?
Swaggiest cat in 2018 KSUFB?
O/U 12: times Bill says youngster?
Player with the most TDS?
Best kstate podcast?
The Oktoberfest Bowl in Germany.
Over. Way over.
So I heard you were recently on a podcast, is that true? If so, where can I go to listen to it?— scottwildcat (@scottwildcat) July 12, 2018
You can hear me wax poetic with Scott on his latest podcast right here. It’s basically the same thing you read on here, but in podcast form.
With the Athletic Department, softball, rolling in cash, softball, what sport, softball, should KState, softball, add?— Wildkat Photography (@wildkatphoto) July 13, 2018
K-State athletics is doing well in the financial department and will increase its budget by $8.6 million next year.
But the Wildcats aren’t looking to add sports right now. I don’t want to say it will never happen, but it’s a long shot. Softball could be fun. Some of you have mentioned wrestling in the past. The best bet, if it ever happens, is for K-State to add an eSports team.
K-Dawg, hope all is well. My question: If I were K-State’s starting QB this year how many games do we win?— Mark McDermed (@MarkMcDermed) July 12, 2018
Useful facts to consider: I run a 8.3 second 40. I have not exercised in 4 years of college. I cannot throw a football with a spiral.
I am excellent at hand-offs.
With you (or me, or any random guy in the stands) at QB, K-State wins as many games as Alex Barnes, the offensive line and the defense can muster. But the Wildcats won six games a few years ago with unprecedented QB injuries, so maybe they could qualify for a bowl.
My favorite story you wrote last season was on Snyder's first bowl team; that game in Tuscon in the Copper Bowl was when the program finally started to gain traction. My question: what happened to the players you interviewed? Where did they end up in life?— Scott Abel (@EstoniaKat) July 12, 2018
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to link back to my oral history on K-State’s Copper Bowl team. That was a fun one to write.
Some of those players have gone on to prominent jobs in athletics. Kirby Hocutt is the AD at Texas Tech, Laird Veatch works in Florida’s athletic department, Eric Wolford and Andre Coleman are college football coaches. But most moved into other fields. Some of the former players I spoke with are now teachers, financial advisers and sales reps.
It would be a lot of fun to get that team back together for a reunion.
When Beatty is fired in the non-con part of the season, how serious will the talk be that BERT will be the next coach? If there wasn’t success at Arkansas, why would he have success at (lowly) Kansas?— Tod Cordill (@ksu4tc) July 12, 2018
There will be talk. Lots of talk, probably. There is already some talk about Bret Bielema being a candidate for that job, and it isn’t even open. K-State fans like to mention him as a potential Snyder successor, as well. Not to the same degree as Brent Venables, but he’s in the conversation.
It would make sense for the Jayhawks, because he’s available and has a connection with the new athletic director. Realistically, he’s probably the biggest name they can hope for. KU isn’t going to be able to hire a sitting Power 5 coach with a successful track record. If they want to go with an experienced head coach, they will need to target a re-tread like Bielema.
I have no idea if he would be a good fit at KU or not, at least compared to an up-and-coming coordinator, but you would think he could do enough to restore the program to a mediocre level. And Jeff Long has already proven he will stand by his side while he tries to build.
Success is relative. Yes, Bielema was run out of town for going 29-34 at Arkansas, but that would be a phenomenal record in Lawrence over the next five seasons. And he did a great job at Wisconsin. Bielema will get another shot at some point. It’s just a question of when and where.