It's taken Bill Snyder three years to return Kansas State football to the heights it reached in his first tenure with the school. The odds makers have made the Wildcats a -11 home favorite over the Iowa State Cyclones, which would give the Kansas State its first 10-win regular season since 2003.
The Wildcats have not played since eking out a 17-13 victory over Texas on Nov. 19, where they were held to only 121 total yards offensively.
While most of the Big 12 has embraced the pass-happy spread attack, Synder has Kansas State playing a much more physical run-oriented offense. Junior QB Collin Klein has rushed for almost as any yards (1,013) as he has thrown (1,587) and he has 25 rushing TD's to only 11 passing TD's.
He'll be going up against a surprisingly feisty Iowa State defense, which shocked the college football world by holding the high-powered Oklahoma State passing attack somewhat in check in the Cyclones 37-31 2OT upset of the Cowboys on Nov. 19.
Under coach Paul Rhoads, 6-5 Iowa State is now bowl eligible in two out of the last three seasons, the second-best run, behind only Dan McCarney's four bowl teams in five years in the middle of the 2000's, in the history of the tradition-starved program
Since taking over at QB midway through the season, freshman Jared Barnett has sparked the Cyclones offense. A dual-threat QB as comfortable running as he is throwing, Barnett averages nearly as many yards per rush (4.8) as he does per pass (5.5).
With both offenses trying to run the ball and control the clock, odds makers are expecting a much lower-scoring game than the standard Big 12 fare, setting the over/under for Saturday's game at 53.
The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net at 11:30.
For the latest news and notes on Kansas State football, head on over to the indispensable Bring On The Cats, and for all you ever wanted to know about Iowa State athletics, there's no better destination than Wide Right And Natty Lite.
The No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats (9-2) have come out of virtually nowhere to currently sit in third place in the Big XII behind Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, despite being a preseason pick for No. 8 in the conference.
Much of that success should be given to head coach Bill Snyder, who has again come to Kansas State and helped turn around a program that was headed in the wrong direction. While the circumstances weren't nearly as dire this time around, it's still impressive to see the improvement from a Kansas State football team that isn't crawling with NFL prospects.
This could be one of the reasons that Snyder is currently leading the Liberty Mutual "Coach Of The Year" voting with over 127k votes. Collin Klein has come on the national scene with 36 total touchdowns (25 rushing, 11 passing) this season and is by far the most important player on the Kansas State team.
Snyder, Klein, and the rest of the Wildcats take on Iowa State on Saturday before awaiting their bowl fate. It's looking like Cotton or Alamo bowl for the Wildcats, with a very small chance at the Fiesta Bowl.