The Kansas State Wildcats and Stanford Cardinal take center stage in the Allstate Kickoff Classic. Which team prevails in AT&T Stadium?
Both the Wildcats and Cardinal will meet in Arlington, Texas to kick off their 2021 campaigns. The two schools do not have much history, only meeting in 2016. Stanford won that game 26-13 in a deceptively close game. The two programs have recently had similar trajectories, with 2020 being an outlier. The Cardinal finished 4-2 in 2020, while the Wildcats finished 4-6.
Similar to the West Virginia-Maryland matchup, this game could have conference realignment ramifications. Big 12 teams have commonly been linked to the Pac 12 recently. A win for either program could change the competitive narrative between the two conferences on the gridiron.
The running game will be decisive for both teams. Kansas State’s backfield is strong with senior quarterback Skylar Thompson and sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn leading the charge. Stanford’s ground attack is lead by junior running backs Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat, who return to a depleted Cardinal offense.
Stanford’s quarterback battle will be key in this game, with senior Jack West and sophomore Tanner McKee gunning for the starting job. Neither have impressed on the field, which may limit the Cardinal’s aerial attack in Week 1.
Neither team will have a true home-field advantage, while the Wildcat faithful are expected to make the drive to AT&T Stadium. This game will certainly be close, with Stanford as a popular pick to win the game. Kansas State can turn around from a down 2020 season with a win here, while Stanford could become a Pac-12 favorite with a win of their own.