It is about time for Kansas State to get noticed.
The Wildcats were underrated during their 10-win season a year ago, but are finally in the Top Five of the Coaches' Poll after a 5-0 start to the season.
Iowa State is also better than anticipated and are in the Top 25 with a 4-1 record after an impressive road win over TCU.
There seems to be a shift in power in the Big 12 from the teams in Texas and Oklahoma to those a little farther north. This will be true at least until the Sooners remember that they are very good.
Until that point, feast your eyes on what should be a great game between two strong teams.
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
When: Saturday, October 13 at 12 p.m. ET
Live Stream: FX Online
Betting Line: Kansas State -6.5 (via Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via USA Today)
OL Nick Puetz (Foot) Questionable
OL Shaban Dika (Undisclosed) Out
Key Storyline: Are the Wildcats for real?
The college football purists do not like seeing teams like Kansas State this high in the rankings. It just seems weird to see this school ahead of Texas, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC and all of the other strong programs from across the country.
However, Kansas State is making a run at a national championship and do not look to be stopping any time soon. The team is No. 11 in the nation in scoring and has the 16th-ranked defense.
Still, the Wildcats must show that they can consistently win on the road against good teams. They already defeated Oklahoma, but Iowa State presents a tough challenge as well. If they lose focus, the Cyclones will walk away with the upset.
Top 25 Implications
Iowa State can really boost its standing with a win, but Kansas State is the real story here. The team has put itself in position to reach the BCS Championship Game if they keep winning and get a little bit of help.
The Wildcats face No. 4 West Virginia next week in a battle that might determine the Big 12 and more.
Unfortunately, a loss to the Cyclones could ruin the chances of these magical season, just like Oklahoma State last year.
What They're Saying
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has his expectations raised for his team and his players need to continue to match them. Despite going into halftime against Kansas last game with a lead, the coach was disappointed with the team's first half performance.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Snyder said after the game:
We did a miserable job to start the ballgame. We had a three-and-out to start the ballgame and then they walked it down the field. So again, I was not too excited about our first-half performance… We made some mistakes in the ballgame and come to find out, there was a great deal of uncertainty on our part and that created some things that should not have happened. Those things do not happen in high school football or elementary school football and should not happen at this level, either.
As the team keeps winning, small mistakes become noticed more often. They must make sure they play a smarter game against Iowa State.
Kansas State Player to Watch: Collin Klein, Quarterback
Geno Smith of West Virginia is the Heisman favorite, but Collin Klein is not too far behind.
The dual-threat quarterback is the reason the Wildcats have been able to score almost at will this season, and he pairs well with John Hubert to make a dangerous combination in the backfield.
He should be the focus of the Iowa State defense on every play if the team wants to pull the upset.
Iowa State Player to Watch: Josh Lenz, Wide Receiver
The Cyclones still are not completely set at the quarterback position after shifting between Jared Barnett and Steele Jantz throughout last season and this one. However, the team needs Lenz to be a leader regardless of who is under center.
The senior was big reason his team was able to upset TCU on the road last week as he finished with 147 receiving yards and three touchdowns. This is coming off a two-catch, 16-yard performance in a loss to Texas Tech.
If Lenz can play up to his ability, Iowa State has a much more dangerous offense. Without him though, this team might not even have a chance.
Prediction: Kansas State 31, Iowa State 21
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