The week before the first college football weekend of the year is always the longest week of the year. The last five days before the first college football Saturday feel like an eternity.
For the Kansas State Wildcats, it will feel even longer. The last time they were on the field, was their best performance of the 2013 season, a 31-14 over college football giant Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
That game earned K-State some preseason accolades it hasn’t had in over 10 years, and they now begin the 2014 season as a dark horse candidate to win the Big 12. It’s a team that’s perfectly capable of achieving that for the second time in three years, but with a very difficult schedule, including Iowa State and Auburn in the season’s first four weeks, it’s also a team that could go 7-5 and barely sneak into a bowl.
For K-State, week one has been a challenge since Bill Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009. For whatever reason, the Wildcats’ worst game of the season has often been the first game of the season. That trend finally bit K-State last year when three-time FCS National champion, North Dakota State, came to Manhattan and shocked the sleep-walking Wildcats.
In 2009 it was a 21-17 victory over Massachusetts. In 2011, the Wildcats trailed in the 7-0 in fourth quarter before coming back to win 10-7. The 2012 season opener against Missouri State looks like a blowout if you just look at the final score, 51-9, but it took 35 fourth quarter points for the score to look respectable.
Obviously the 24-21 loss to North Dakota State was the most painful and it got K-State off on the wrong foot, haunting them for the first two months of the season. The Wildcats struggled through September and October, sitting at just 2-4 in the last week of October.