Cotton Bowl 2012: How Collin Klein Can Launch a Darkhorse Heisman Campaign

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats looks to throw in the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 5, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 52-45.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

There may not be a more surprising player in the 2011 college football season than Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. He has almost single-handedly brought the Wildcats out of obscurity, a final ranking of eighth in the BCS Standings and into the Cotton Bowl after gaining just over two-thirds of the offensive yards per game.

Many people thought he should have been a Heisman finalist, but if there was going to be a year in which he would be a real candidate, it would be next year.

The only losses on offense he suffers are on the offensive line, which was already allowing three sacks per game. The team will lose five defenders, but Tysyn Hartman was the only guy who could be considered a playmaker.

It may surprise some people, but Kansas State only averages 343 yards per game which is 96th in the country while scoring 33 points per game which is 30th. A lot of the Wildcats points come off turnovers where the team ranks fifth in turnover margin.

With most of those playmakers returning on defense and all of the skill players returning on offense, Kansas State should be even better next year than it was this year.

And in a Big 12 which could take a step down with the departure of guys like Justin Blackmon, Ryan Broyles and Robert Griffin III, this is the perfect time to make a run at a championship title though TCU and possibly West Virginia will be really tough wins.

Still, RG3 won the Heisman this year despite having three losses, and if guys like Matt Barkley, Montee Ball and Tyrann Mathieu fail to have stellar seasons, Klein could not only get an invite to New York, but he could take home the Heisman Trophy.