Kansas State Football: Expectations Are Low For 2016


Kansas State football didn’t have a great season in 2015, but they’re usually always one of the best teams to come out of the Big 12. Why are the expectations for 2016 so low then?

USA Today released the top 25 teams for the 2016 season on Thursday and K-State was not in the top 25. Not only that, but the Wildcats weren’t even mentioned.

This really shouldn’t be all that surprising honestly, considering the downhill slump that the Cats have been in over the past year or two. They weren’t ranked heading into last season and went on to have a mediocre season, finishing their 2015 campaign with a 6-6 regular season record. They then topped it off with a lackluster performance against Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.

In other words, Kansas State football hasn’t been the talk of college football lately. From 2010-2014, the Wildcats compiled winning seasons, but the spark just hasn’t been there.

While it’d be tough to imagine the team struggling as much as they did last year, this year’s schedule will be more challenging for the Cats.

Part of the problem comes at the quarterback position. Last season, Jesse Ertz was hurt after just one play and missed the entire season.

Joe Hubener stepped in and though he wasn’t the best, his run game was pretty good and he did help the team win six games.

Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle predicts that KSU will be better than they were a season ago.

"On paper, K-State appears to be an improved team. It returns nine players with starting experience on defense, including four preseason All-Big 12 selections. On offense, it should be better at quarterback and receiver (barring injuries), though unproven on the offensive line."

While it’d be tough to imagine the team struggling as much as they did last year, this year’s schedule will be more challenging for the Cats.

For one, they start off visiting the Stanford Cardinal, a team who dominated Iowa in the Rose Bowl last season. Stanford might have a different quarterback running the offense this year, but they’ll still be tough and very well could hand K-State their first loss of the season. They’re also ranked seventh in those rankings linked above.

More from KC Kingdom

They’ll then have a week off to prepare for two straight home games before traveling to face West Virginia for their first Big 12 game of the season.

Robinett points out that the only “slam dunk wins” are against Florida Atlantic (week two), Missouri State (week three), and against Kansas in their second to last game of the regular season. I’d also throw Iowa State into that category, but they have played KSU tough in the past.

The lingering question out there will be how can the team bounce back after a less than stellar season? Jesse Ertz will need to prove himself, the offensive line will need to do their part in protecting him, and the defense needs to make sure it can shut down opposing offenses.

Next: 15 Best KSU Quarterbacks EVER

There’s still time before the season begins, but for now, Kansas State football are underdogs heading into 2016.