Kansas State failed to generate much in the way of national respect this season despite a top 8 BCS rankings showing leading up bowl season. The major BCS bowls passed on Kansas State, so they had to settle for the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas. The team continually struggled to move up much in the rankings week to week despite finishing as a Top 10 team and No. 2 overall in the Big 12 football standings. So what is Bill Snyder to do? Prove them wrong again next year.
The reality is that even those who want to give Snyder's team some respect have to admit that the same roster likely played over their heads last season. David Ubben covers the Big 12 for ESPN and admits as much although he believes the team could win 9 or 10 again next season as they improve. He writes:
It all comes down to improvement. You're crazy if you think K-State was truly as good as its record this year. It found ways to win games late this year, but the Wildcats weren't a 10-win team.
Next year, though? With as much returning talent as the 'Cats have, they very well may be. It's all about one of the basic tenets of Bill Snyder's program: daily improvement. K-State won't have to win as many close games against mediocre teams next year, but they'll be in close games once again. Just, you know, with better teams. We'll see if that late-game experience pays off. The defense will be better. The offense, as long as it replaces the starters on the offensive line, should be solid.
Next year, the 'Cats look like a 9-10 win team with some upside. It'll be exciting to see how Collin Klein progresses as a passer this offseason. He was a completely different player from September to December.
Klein is going to make all of the difference much like Baylor's Robert Griffin III did this season. Klein will have to place the team on his shoulders at times to will them to win if they are to repeat last year's success. The Big 12 should be tougher in 2012 and powers like Oklahoma and Texas will be looking to the top again.