Sports Extra: How Many Can the Cats Win?

Head Coach Bill Snyder

Aug. 27, 2011

By Mark Janssen – K-State Sports Extra

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As the summer scoreboard clock counts down to one week from tonight at 6:10 p.m., the question now comes multiple times a day: How many can the Wildcats win?

Out of 12 opportunities, how many “W’s” can/could/will be posted, keeping in mind that nine of those games are against Big 12 Conference opponents. Will there be enough victories to be in the postseason again?

The answer for everyone associated with the Wildcat program is a resounding ‘Yes!’ If you’re not playing to win, then why are you playing?

Some regional and national media folks say that five games – at Miami, Baylor, Missouri, at Texas Tech and at Texas – are season makers or breakers that will determine whether K-State reaches the needed six wins, or beyond, to become bowl eligible in consecutive years for the first time since 2002 and 2003.

The Wildcats’ non-conference slate will include a season- and home-opening contest against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 3. Following an open date, K-State entertains Kent State on Sept. 17, before traveling to Miami to play the Hurricanes on Sept. 24, at Sun Life Stadium, which is the home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

Eastern Kentucky went 6-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference, which included three wins to end the season.

Kent State, a member of the Mid-American Conference, went 5-7 in 2010 and is under the direction of first-year head coach Darrell Hazell.

Miami, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, finished 7-6 last year, which included a 33-17 loss to Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl. This season, the Hurricanes are picked to finish second in the ACC’s Coastal Division behind only Virginia Tech.

It will be a first-ever meeting with each of the three non-league opponents, plus K-State’s first trip to the Sunshine State for a game since traveling to Florida State on Oct. 2, 1976, when the Cats fell to the Seminoles, 20-10.

• With Miami being one of the teams, K-State will also be playing Big 12 schools Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech as teams that attended bowl games in 2010
• Pluses of the non-conference portion of the schedule are: 1) Two of three games are at Bill Snyder Family Stadium; 2) Kent State and Miami are with first-year coaches; and 3) The Wildcats play the Hurricanes a week after Miami takes on national power Ohio State
• If Oklahoma is indeed the class of the Big 12 – as many folks nationally are claiming – K-State has the good fortune of playing Missouri, Kansas, Texas A&M and Iowa State the game after those teams play the Sooners.
• The Wildcats open Big 12 play with Baylor and Missouri at home, and closes the year with two (Texas A&M and Iowa State) out of the last three at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. That means a middle four games of at Texas Tech, at Kansas and at Oklahoma State, with the fourth game being at home against Oklahoma.

In the last four seasons when K-State went at least 4-4 in the Big 12, it started league years by posting a winning record just one time in the first portion of the season. That was in 2009 when the Wildcats went 2-1 and finished 4-4.

In 2006, K-State was 1-3 out of the gate, but finished 4-4. In the 2003 Big 12 title season, the Cats were 0-2 before finishing the regular season with six straight wins. Also, in 2002, the Wildcats were 1-2 early, only to finish with five straight wins for a 6-2 Big 12 season.

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