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Kansas State Earns Surprising Top 25 Ranking With Strong Big 12 Opener

With Saturday's upset against Baylor, Kansas State debuted in this week's national rankings. Missouri would love to knock the Wildcats right back out of the rankings.

Kansas State's stout defense has led to a 4-0 start and a top 25 ranking.
Kansas State's stout defense has led to a 4-0 start and a top 25 ranking.

Kansas State's 10-7 season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky did nothing to impress the Wildcat fan base, let alone potential voters.

But three wins later, including Saturday's last-second 36-35 win over the Robert Griffin-led Baylor Bears, Kansas State has debuted in every notable poll. ESPN has the Wildcats ranked the highest, at #19 in the FBS. Last week, the Kansas State was barely even receiving votes, so suffice it to say that the shootout win against Baylor caught people's attention.

In head coach Bill Snyder's 20th season, the Tigers' success at this point has been due to its running game and defense. The Wildcats' current ranking aligns very closely with its ranking in those two key areas. The defense is giving up 16.5 points a game, a number that rose drastically after the confrontation with Baylor's high-power offense.

Top 25 ranking or not, there is still plenty of football to play. Kansas State's next conference foe, Missouri, is coming off a bye week, the dreaded extra week to prepare. The Tigers have lost 2 games but are quite capable of pulling their own upset. Led by sophomore quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers boast an impressive running and passing game that will surely test the Wildcat defense again.