It is only natural for any Kansas State football fan waking up on Sunday morning following the Wildcats 24-19 victory over OU, to immediately take a peek at the remaining schedule. Scratch that, maybe not immediately, as I am sure there will be more than a few Ibuprofens and cups of coffee needed before some Wildcat fans get their day started.
As far as the schedule is concerned, one aspect that initially seemed like a negative may now have swung into being a positive for K-State. Following the OU game, K-State has their bye week before starting the meat-grinder that is the Big 12 schedule.
When the schedule was announced it was deemed that having a bye week after only one conference game and a grand total of four games was way too early. In normal circumstances this is probably accurate but things have now changed with the Wildcats road victory in Norman.
As much as Bill Snyder and his team tried to act like it was another step in the process of the season and the team expected to win everyone knows better than that. Normal road victories do not cause masses of people to greet the football team in the cold as they return back to Manhattan in the early morning hours.
If the Wildcats were to have to play next weekend it would not be unexpected to see a slow start as it might be tough for the team to get hyped up again, even though the game is at home. Especially considering the Wildcats next opponent is Kansas, a school that the Wildcats have beaten by scores of 59-7 and 59-21 in the past two years.
The Jayhawks are coming off a road loss to a MAC school, Northern Illinois, which pushed their record down to a dismal 1-3. The record does not tell the full story though as KU led in the game against the Huskies by 10 points in the fourth quarter before letting it slip away. The previous week, the Jayhawks forced four turnovers against TCU and stayed within striking distance of the Horned Frogs.
While KU's record does not necessarily reflect it, this year's Jayhawk squad appears to be much more competitive under Charlie Weis than the previous two teams. So while no one would be predicting a loss if the Wildcats had to come out immediately and take on the Jayhawks, it may not be the immediate cakewalk that all K-State, and KU, fans would be anticipating.
It might turn out that the bye week came perfectly for K-State as the team now has a week to enjoy their conquest against OU before having to get 100% focused again.
As for that remaining schedule, well it is pretty damn tough. Following the game against Kansas is a road tilt at Iowa State which has the appearance of being a classic trap game as K-State may be peeking ahead to West Virginia. But up first are the Cyclones who currently stand at 3-0 and they have two of the best linebackers in the Big 12 in A.J. Klein and Jake Knott.
As Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State fans can vouch for, it will not easy to walk into Jack Trice Stadium and come away with a victory. Beginning in Ames, the Wildcats will likely see their road games now be marquee events for the opposing team's fanbases.
The game though that a lot of people are starting to get geared up for is that matchup in Morgantown on October 20th. If both K-State and West Virginia remain undefeated at that point it will almost certainly be a battle of two Top-Ten teams fighting for the front runner spot in the Big 12 race. The winning quarterback in that game, whether it be Geno Smith or Collin Klein, will see their chances of winning the Heisman Trophy skyrocket.
Luckily for K-State they get two very winnable games at home against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State coming off the game with West Virginia. Then it is back on the road for two straight weeks starting with Big 12 newcomer TCU before going to Waco to face a strong offensive team in Baylor. The Horned Frogs have not looked spectacular this season but they will be geared up to play K-State as their head coach, Gary Patterson, is an K-State alum.
The regular season will be wrapped up on Dec. 1st when the currently #12 ranked Texas Longhorns visit Manhattan to try and beat K-State for the first time in what has to seem like an eternity for UT fans.
Not a single rationally thinking K-State fan can look at the Wildcats remaining games and think it will be easy but expectations have definitely shifted in the course of a day. Previously it was thought that the Wildcats were a solid team that could finish somewhere maybe in the range of a #15 type of ranking.
Now the team that was predicted to finish sixth in the Big 12 in the preseason has to be thinking on a much larger scale. The beginning of the journey starts Oct. 6th against Kansas in what should be an extremely crazy environment inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.