The Week 9 BCS standings are officially out, and for the second week in a row, the Oregon Ducks have dropped a spot, this time being jumped by the Kansas State Wildcats. Last week Oregon was idle, but this week, the Ducks took care of business in on the road against a good Arizona State team.
So this obviously begs the question, are the Wildcats really that good? I’m here to tell you that, yes, yes they are.
Let’s start with the obvious, Collin Klein. The Kansas State quarterback is looking better every week and has now planted himself squarely in Heisman contention, if not the frontrunner.
So what is it about Optimus Klein—as KSU fans have dubbed him—that makes him so good?
First of all, Klein is built for success in college football. At 6’5”, 226, he has the size and power to be that dual threat-type quarterback that’s been so successful in college football in recent years—think Tim Tebow or Cam Newton, both National Champions.
Klein evidenced this potential against West Virginia by scoring seven touchdowns on seven drives—three through the air and four on the ground.
But Klein is much more than a physical talent. He’s a guy who knows how to get the job done when he’s supposed to as well as when it counts.
Traveling to Norman to take on Oklahoma in Week 4, Kansas State had a huge test. A test that Klein and the Wildcats passed.
Klein was having an average day up until the fourth quarter of that game. But in crunch time, he put the team on his back and led the Wildcats to a huge victory on the road.
Where does KSU belong in the BCS?
In that final quarter at Oklahoma, Klein had a rushing touchdown that put Kansas State on top for good, went 4-of-5 for 72 passing yards and clinched the game with a huge rushing first down that allowed the Wildcats to run the clock out.
In Kansas State’s other huge game this season, against West Virginia, Klein had a career game, throwing for over 300 yards for the first time in his career. Granted, the Mountaineer defense leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s what I was talking about earlier—Klein takes care of his business when he’s supposed to.
But the wins over Oklahoma and West Virginia were about much more than Klein, as is this Kansas State team.
The Wildcats are 14th in the nation in rushing yards—although Klein admittedly figures into that as well—with John Hubert leading the way. Hubert already has 658 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, averaging nearly six yards per carry.
And, as West Virginia will tell you, you have to play well on both sides of the ball, which Kansas State certainly does.
The Wildcats’ defense held Oklahoma to 19 points in the win against the Sooners. To put that into perspective, OU has averaged over 61 points per game this season at home against teams not called the Wildcats. And that includes hanging 63 on rival Texas, who was ranked No. 15 at the time of that matchup.
The question now becomes, if Kansas State does win out, will it be enough to propel it to the BCS Championship Game? Some of that depends on what happens with the teams around the Wildcats in the BCS.
The SEC will eventually have to cannibalize itself in its championship game. Even if Florida and Alabama meet up undefeated, a loss that late probably wouldn’t keep either one in the top two in the BCS if Kansas State is still lurking around undefeated.
The big downside for the Wildcats is that they don’t have the benefit of a conference championship game to propel them in the rankings with one more quality win at the end of the season.
So, while Kansas State does have three quality teams from the state of Texas left on its schedule, that may not be enough if Oregon runs the table and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game.
One thing is for sure: If that scenario does play out, college football fans will be lamenting the fact that the playoff is coming but is not here quite yet.