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Week 8 Game: at West Virginia (5-1)
Really Collin Klein and Kansas State’s 6-0 football team present one of the most interesting storylines in the nation coming into Week 8 of the 2012 season.
Yes, we found out about this guy and his team last season when they hooked up for an astonishing 10 wins and finished second in a Big 12 conference stacked with super powers.
Which leads us to wonder how far these Wildcats can streak in 2012…can they really win the Big 12 for the first time since 2003, go undefeated for the first time in history, play in their first national title game ever and walk up to the podium and accept their first Heisman trophy?
Seriously, can they?
Well, we’re about to find out the answers to all these questions, and the first big test will be a Week 8 trip to Morgantown to square off with a West Virginia team that simply can’t afford another loss (on a bunch of different levels).
Klein is an unimpressive 79-of-113 for 1,074 yards, seven TDs and two picks as a passer this season, and his rushing numbers of 515 yards and 10 scores on 98 carries are solid but not spectacular (especially when you throw Johnny Manziel and Braxton Miller’s numbers into the ring).
Klein’s path to New York City is pretty simple…win out. It’s not one-loss or “almost,” it's win every game. Klein simply doesn’t have the gaudy stats, nor will he produce them, to succeed with a loss after his name.
Additionally, this is Kansas State and not Ohio State…there is a difference and the voters historically seem to know it.
And for K-State’s offense that means it's got to continue to run the ball, because like Ohio State it is not a proficient passing team (No. 11 nationally in rushing yards vs. No. 112 in passing yards).
Step one is knocking off a good West Virginia team that has been far more effective vs. the run (No. 43 nationally) than the pass (No. 122), a task that simply won’t be easy.
The road home after that will be bumpy with a home game vs. Texas Tech and its No. 12-ranked rushing defense followed by a road trip to TCU to square off with the Frogs' No. 9-ranked rush D in Week 11.
The Wildcats also have Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas on the schedule, teams that might not be defensive stalwarts but were all ranked at one point this season and won’t just lie down and let Klein and company prance off with a victory.
The good news for Klein and K-State is that they have already taken care of Oklahoma on the road and, even more critically, they tout the No. 19-ranked scoring defense in the land.
What may catch up with the Wildcats and all their wild dreams is a pass defense that ranks No. 76 (vs. the rushing D that is No. 16) and still has to face the meat of a pass-happy Big 12 slate.