A 29-16 loss in the Cotton Bowl dropped Kansas State out of the Top 15 in the final coaches poll, as the Wildcats finished with a 10-3 record and a No. 16 ranking.
All three of Kansas State's losses this year came to teams that finished ahead of them -- No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Arkansas and No. 15 Oklahoma.
Now, with Collin Klein set to return for his senior season, Bill Snyder's program has a great opportunity to take the next step by beating some of the nation's elite teams and getting themselves in a better position to secure a BCS bowl bid.
With TCU and possibly West Virginia entering the new-look Big 12 next season and Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor all looking at starting over at the QB position, the conference should be wide open once again.
Oklahoma, with Landry Jones looking like he'll return for his senior year, and TCU, coming off its fourth straight top-15 finish, will probably be the only two Big 12 teams ranked ahead of Kansas State in the preseason polls.
Missouri, in its last season before joining the SEC, finished right outside the Top 25 after a convincing 41-24 win over UNC in the Independence Bowl that left them with an 8-5 record.