Friday, August 30, 2013


That's right, the first college football games of the 2013 season took place last night, and the NFL is wrapping up the pre-season this weekend!  I wanted to post primarily about K-State, but before that I wanted to offer a few random thoughts on the upcoming football season.

Johnny Manziel

Seriously?  The guy clearly violates a rule that the NCAA seems to hold as gospel (taking money), and he gets suspended for the first half of the first game?  What a joke.  The NCAA has proven over the past few years to be one of the most hypocritical and incompetent/corrupt "governing" bodies in sports.  Apparently, there is a different set of rules that the rich and/or famous play by, allowing them a slap on the hands with a wet noodle rather than genuine sanctions.  If this is their standard mode of conduct, then why wouldn't the top players and coaches (not to mention programs) cheat and violate rules at will?

My new 2nd favorite team

TCU.  I've always liked them.  They're scrappy, they're underdogs, and they've got great colors.  They were a regular double-digit winner and BCS buster before they got into the Big 12 and had a Big 12 budget, and they absolutely belong here.  A terrific odd stat from last year was that every team lost the week after playing TCU because the Horned Frogs' defense beat 'em up (legally, and in that great DEFENSE way you really want to see).  KSU pulled out the win against them, but lost the next week to Baylor.  They return most of that defensive unit, and get their best QB back this year.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if they made their way into contention for the Big 12 title this year, and I'll enjoy watching them win a lot (except against KSU, of course).

Thank you, Green Bay Packers

I joined up as an assistant coach for Connor's flag football team this year.  Games start in late September, and we're really excited to get going again.  The head coach is from Wisconsin and a GIANT Packers fan, so our team is, naturally, the Packers.  The green and gold has become the de facto 2nd favorite in our household because of flag football.  Recently, the father of one of the players sent a letter to the Packers organization with a team picture and a bit of our story, and they responded with tickets to spend last night's preseason Chiefs-Packers game in the owner's suite, and passes to watch warm-ups on the field.  AWESOME!!!  We had a great time, took tons of pictures, and soaked it all in.  The Packers' CEO, Mark Murphy, was a tremendously gracious host, hanging out with a bunch of 4th-5th graders (and us coaches, who were almost as giddy) all night.  It was a rare and great experience, and we'll post more about that on the family blog soon.


Okay, now for the main event.  Jake Waters was announced a few days ago as the starting QB, answering the single biggest question going into this season.  He is a virtual unknown.  From what I've heard and read, he was undersized coming out of high school, so he went to a community college in Iowa.  While there, he not only grew a few more inches and added arm strength, but he led Iowa Western to a 12-0 record and a NJCAA national championship while amassing 3,500 yards and a nation-leading 39 touchdown passes with a 73% completion rate (which, if you take into account receiver drops and intentional throwaways, is pretty much everything).  By all accounts, he has taken the path of quiet leadership like Collin Klein did, and has picked up the playbook very quickly.  He's got a phenomenal arm that will be very different from most recent KSU quarterbacks, and could spearhead an even more prolific offense than we saw last year.  He certainly won't be a bruising runner like Klein, but can apparently still scamper when necessary.

The offensive line is completely intact from last year's squad, which will be a huge benefit when breaking in the new QB.  Running back John Hubert and the receiver corps is also back, providing a lot of experienced weapons all over the field.  Expect points this year, and lots of them.

The big question mark is the defense, which lost all but one starter from last year's Big 12 championship squad.  Ty Zimmerman will anchor the D from the safety position, and should provide some tremendous leadership and experience precisely where it is needed.  The Wildcat defense will likely have some struggles, especially early in the season, but the good news is that a defense can achieve greatness without marquee players when they are disciplined, consistent, and play smart.  Bill Snyder will ensure those things happen.

Regarding the first game tonight, don't expect a cake walk.  North Dakota State is riding a streak of two consecutive FCS (division 1-AA) national championships, and this year's team is supposedly the most experienced and talented team they've had in a while.  They're conditioned to win, they have a 6-3 record against FBS (division 1-A) teams over the past few years, they're confident, and they have great coaching.  I'm confident KSU will prevail, but I wouldn't be surprised if the game stayed relatively close until the later parts of the game.  If KSU does achieve a blowout, well, that'll just be a great indicator of how good KSU's year may be.

So, how will KSU fare this year?  I think it depends mostly on the chemistry and how quickly the new pieces grow into Snyder's scheme.  The Big 12 is supposedly going to have a bit of a down year this year, with no clear juggernaut in pole position; if the league as a whole is weaker, I'd say there's an outside shot for KSU to make a play for the league championship again.  They'd need to remain relatively injury free, have Waters immediately play well, and have the D gel quickly – and probably get a couple of lucky breaks along the way – but in sports I think it's okay to be a bit over-optimistic unless you're a professional prognosticator and your opinion actually counts.  J

Pessimistic Pick --- 7 wins, go to a minor bowl game

Optimistic Pick --- 11-12 wins, 1st place

More Likely Pick --- 10 wins, tie for 2nd place

Regardless…let the games begin!  EMAW, baby!

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