Will K-State finally compete in the Big 12? Or will we see yet another middle-of-the-pack season for the Wildcats football program?
Next up in our Big 12 football predictions, we have the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats bring more success to the table than KU does and that should not shock anyone. Last season, K-State finished with an 8-5 record overall and a 4-5 record in conference play.
Historically, the Wildcats tend to have a slight drop-off in their wins the next season when they finish above .500. Their best season in recent memory was when they finished 11-2 back in 2012 which ended in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Marcus Mariota’s Oregon Ducks. Fast forward to today, the Wildcats have some new offensive weapons and quite a few defensive transfers that will make this team a legit Big 12 contender. That being said, let’s break down the Wildcats’ schedule for 2022 and how I think they will finish.
Week One, Home Game vs South Dakota
The Wildcats open the 2022 season at home with a non-conference game against South Dakota. Opening the season at home will help them out big time, especially for new quarterback Adrian Martinez. I think the defensive transfers and their top-notch receivers will make this an easy win in week one. Look for Martinez to find his groove as a Wildcat and for them to walk away with a blowout win.
Score Prediction: K-State 42, South Dakota 17
Week Two, Home Game vs Missouri
After an easy non-conference game in week one, K-State will then have to host a tougher non-conference opponent in the Missouri Tigers. These teams have not met up since 2011 and Kstate won that time around 24-17. Historically, Mizzou has dominated this matchup considering they lead the all-time series 60-32. However, I think this is a different K-State team that can run the table against their non-conference opponents. This will be a close game but look for Martinez and company to show they are up to the challenge in close games.
Score Prediction: K-State 24, Mizzou 20
Week Three, Home Game vs Tulane
To close out their non-conference schedule, the Wildcats take on Tulane. Believe it or not, these teams have met up before. In 1988, Tulane beat the Wildcats 20-16 in the only matchup these teams have had. That being said, I do not see Tulane being a legitimate problem this time around especially against a well-rounded Kstate team. Look for K-State to close out non-conference play with another win.
Score Prediction: K-State 35, Tulane 13
Week Four, Away Game vs Oklahoma
Sure a 3-0 start to the year will be great but then to go to Norman and play against OU is tough. I would not be surprised if K-State competes in this game but then loses it in the last quarter or so. Oklahoma might have lost quite a bit but they will still be a solid program. This will a tough road game for this Wildcat squad and I do not see them being successful in their first big road test.
Score Prediction: OU 35, K-State 21
Week Five, Home Game vs Texas Tech
I touched on the reboot stage that Texas Tech is in when predicting how KU performs this year. This will also be the case here against K-State. However, a loss to a solid K-State squad is not as embarrassing as losing to KU. Tech was hurt by injuries way too much last year and with a new coach in 2022, K-State might walk into a victory. It will also help that this game is in Manhattan so I’m putting all of my chips into the K-State basket this week.
Score Prediction: K-State 31, Texas Tech 20
Week Six, Away Game vs Iowa State
It is always tough to go on the road and beat Iowa State, at least recently. I mentioned in the KU piece that ISU lost Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, and Charlie Kholar which completely changes up their offense. Their defense lost five of their 13 top players adding to that different landscape reality for the Cyclones. If I am Adrian Martinez, this should be a green light to go out and perform at his best. Beating ISU in their house is a big task and would add to their Big 12 resume for the year. I like K-State to shift the tide and take down ISU this year.
Score Prediction: K-State 24, ISU 14
Week Seven, Away Game vs TCU
Another tough road game normally but this TCU roster is in shambles right now. Their new head coach still needs to get the players adjusted to the new system. However, I had TCU losing to KU the week before so they will be a little ticked off if that happens. That could be bad news for K-State and I see TCU battling out a close, gritty win over the Wildcats. This will be one of the tougher games that K-State plays despite this being a lower-tier TCU team.
Score Prediction: TCU 27, K-State 21
Week Eight, Home Game vs Oklahoma State
Next up the Wildcats will be back home to take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are a tough matchup regardless of location. The Cowboys are going to be a legitimate contender in the Big 12 in 2022. This will be the second loss in a row for K-State considering that the Cowboys are a much better team overall. This will not be a close game for K-State and might be a good wake-up call late in the season.
Score Prediction: OSU 41, K-State 17
Week Nine, Home Game vs Texas
To take on a solid Cowboys team and then turn around and play Texas is a tough two-game stretch. However, if there was a year for K-State to take down Texas, it is this year. K-State has the pieces to defend their home turf against a Texas team more concerned with leaving the Big 12 than winning in it. It will be a high-scoring and tough game but I think K-State gets the big win over Texas. This would be a huge win late in the season to boost K-State overall.
Score Prediction: K-State 48, Texas 42
Week Ten, Away Game vs Baylor
The tough stretch of games will sadly continue another week for K-State with an away game in Waco. Baylor is a favorite to win the Big 12 again and that is not good news for the Wildcats. If K-State wins the six games I listed, Baylor will want to shut them down from being a late threat. This will be a tough game and I do not think Adrian Martinez will be up to the test of winning in Waco. Baylor cruises in this one and sets K-State back another game.
Score Prediction: Baylor 42, K-State 21
Week Eleven, Away Game vs West Virginia
A few years ago this matchup would be given to West Virginia easily. Now, I like K-State to bounce back against West Virginia who will not be very good in 2022. A late win in the season will be helpful if K-State wants to continue its hopes for another Bowl game. No other way to put this game prediction other than that K-State wins big.
Score Prediction: K-State 35, WVU 10
Week Twelve, Home Game vs KU
There is nothing like finishing a regular season against your biggest rival. With KU coming to town and the potential to earn a Bowl game bid, beating KU for some reason will matter. If this win/loss amount pans out this way, K-State will need one final Big 12 win. How fitting it has to be against their biggest rival who will likely be playing spoiler rather than competing themselves. This will be a closer game than they would like but I got K-State winning this Sunflower Showdown.
Score Prediction: K-State 24, KU 20
Final Record For Kansas State Football In 2022: 8-4 (5-4)
If K-State manages to go 8-4 in the regular season, they might not be winning a Big 12 title but they will get a Bowl game bid. An 8-4 (5-4) season overall might not be anything new but it’s a winning season nonetheless. This program is on the cusp of being really good in the Big 12 but they are going to be just short again this year. This will be another “hey we won eight games” season and nothing more, sorry K-State fans.
Which Big 12 team will improve the most in 2022? Comment below and join the discussion!