The Kansas State Wildcats established a particular identity under previous head coach Bill Snyder, the man who rescued the program from obscurity in the early 1990s and transformed it into a college football power. That identity was rooted in fundamentals: Being supremely prepared, being in the right position on the field at all times, and being supremely physical so that faster, more talented teams could not unleash the full measure of their skills. They would get punched in the mouth at the line of scrimmage before they could outrun and outrace Kansas State players in the open field.
That larger overall identity under Snyder has been recaptured by current coach Chris Klieman. Kansas State doesn’t have the very best athletes in the Big 12, but it is regularly the better-prepared and tougher team. The Cats rode this familiar formula to a Big 12 championship and a Sugar Bowl appearance last season. We will see what KSU can do for an encore in the 2023 season.
Kansas State Wildcats 2023 Futures
Odds To Win Big 12: +500 at Bovada
Odds To Win National Championship: +15000 at Bovada
Best Bet To Win Heisman
Quarterback Will Howard is priced at +10000 for the award. He really needs everything to go just right in order to have any chance at the award. Kansas State must win the Big 12 championship for Howard to have a chance. The Wildcats likely need to win at least 10 games, probably 11, for Howard to make his way to New York this coming December as a Heisman finalist. He also needs the top candidates to struggle and thereby open the door for a surprise Heisman candidacy. Yet, among all the other Kansas State players on the roster, Howard has the best shot of them all.
He wasn’t the starter at quarterback for the entirety of the 2022 season, but he has filled in for injured teammates before, so he is not entering the 2023 season with a relative lack of experience. He knows how to run this offense. This is not a mystery for him, for Klieman, or the rest of the coaching staff. Having that level of continuity should greatly help Howard run the offense. It does give him a chance, however small, of making a run at the Heisman this year.
Pick: Will Howard
Best Player Prop To Bet
Treshaun Ward Rushing Yards
Ward is a transfer running back who previously played at Florida State. Ward knew that with Florida State loading up on talent and becoming a top-15 program, his ability to get maximum playing time on the Seminole roster was noticeably limited. He wanted to go to a program which would give him more touches and more overall opportunities to prove himself at the collegiate level. At Kansas State, he should indeed receive that chance to make a big impact. Ward collected over 600 rushing yards at Florida State, to go along with seven touchdowns last season. He was not the No. 1 running back for the Seminoles, however.
Imagine what Ward can do as the number one running back on the roster. If you do see a rushing yardage proposition for Ward at some point during the season, you should be inclined to go over, not under, the number. This is a relatively under-the-radar player who won’t get too much national attention. Yet, because Kansas State produces quality offensive linemen and will need to run the ball to control the clock against potent Big 12 offenses it will try to keep off the field, Ward’s upside is greater than a lot of people might initially think. Go over a rushing yardage total for Ward if you see a listed total at some point this season.
Pick: Treshaun Ward over rushing yards
Regular Season Win Total
One of the big stories in college football this season is the wild and wide-open Big 12 Conference. Next year, Oklahoma and Texas will leave the Big 12 for the SEC, but this year, the Sooners and Longhorns are still around. OU and Texas join four newcomers to the Big 12 Conference: BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF. This creates a 14-team conference, which will be a jarring new reality for Big 12 teams after several years of having just 10 teams in a conference.
It is uncertain how the four new schools will affect the competitive calculus in this year’s Big 12, and that’s a big reason why the conference championship is up in the air. The Big 12 2023 race in college football is extremely hard to predict, with no clear favorite lording itself over the rest of the field.
Examining The Schedule
Kansas State’s toughest games this season are (out of conference) at Missouri, home against UCF, at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech, home versus TCU, at Texas, home versus Baylor, at Kansas, and at home versus Iowa State. If the Wildcats can go 5-4 in these nine games, they should be able to win eight games for the season and go over the 7.5 win total.
Missouri has some high-end talent, but it is unclear if the Tigers have the line play – offense and defense – to match KSU’s physicality. The Wildcats deserve the edge in that game, a matchup of former Big Eight Conference rivals. The UCF game should go to Kansas State due to the Wildcats’ advantage in the trenches. At Oklahoma State will be extremely difficult due to OSU’s level of expected line play.
At Texas Tech is a similar proposition for the Wildcats. TCU won’t be anywhere close to the level it displayed last season. That should be a KSU win. At Texas will be rough, since the Longhorns have more talent than any other team in the Big 12 this season. The Baylor game will be close, but the Bears don’t have a lot of offense and KSU can contain them for 60 minutes. The Wildcats are better than Kansas and Iowa State, but those are both rivalry games in which anything can happen.
Kansas State should win at least five of those nine games, possibly six. The Wildcats are looking at an 8-4 or 9-3 season. They will go over the 7.5 total.