- Things could get ugly this season for K-State, whose win total sits at 7.
- The Wildcats lose a ton of talent on defense, and quarterback is still a major question mark.
- They were lucky to win eight games last season and an unkind schedule looms.
Over the weekend, one book released the Big 12 conference season win totals. While limits remain low, it’s currently our only option in the college football win totals market from any offshore or Vegas sportsbook. However, we won’t have to wait much longer, as win totals should become widely available within the next few weeks. Once they do, we will have every conference covered for you in detail.
In the interim, let’s take a look at the Big 12 and put a stake in the ground on one particular team that should have your attention — whether you can get down now or just want to get ready for when you can.
Kansas State Under 7 Wins
Things in Manhattan could get ugly in a year many expect coach Bill Snyder to appear in another bowl. The Wildcats lose a plethora of talent on defense, especially along the front seven. They’ll need to replace three key senior starters in linebackers Jayd Kirby and Trent Tanking and defensive tackle Will Geary. That trio accounted for 37 run stuffs last season; only one other player had more than five.
However, you could put some positive spin on losing that defensive experience, considering Kansas State ranked outside of the top 100 in a number of critical defensive categories, including:
- Adjusted Sack Rate (sack rate modified for competition).
- Standard Downs Success Rate (efficiency measure for a team on first or second down with 7 or fewer yards to go and third or fourth down with 4 or fewer yards to go).
- Passing Downs IsoPPP (per-play value of a team’s successful plays).
Translation: A stiff wind would’ve sliced through the KSU defense.
Kansas State returns a number of weapons at wide receiver in Isaiah Zuber, Dalton Schoen and spring game MVP Chabastin Taylor. Running back Alex Barnes (pictured above) will also return to provide stability in the backfield. Quarterback is still a major question mark, though, as KSU lacked playmakers at that position in 2017. The competition has been so lukewarm that Snyder flipped a coin at the spring game to determine the teams for quarterbacks Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson.
A deep look inside the metrics shows that Kansas State may have overachieved in 2017, posting a 2nd Order Wins total of -1.9 — ranking in the bottom five nationally. That metric essentially tries to quantify the actual number of games a team should have won. The Wildcats also posted a +10 turnover margin in 2017, which drove some of their fortune. I wouldn’t count on the Wildcats getting some of the same bounces they benefited from last season.
I made their win total 5.3 — giving value on the under even at a win total of 6. I’ll gladly take the extra cushion at 7. The schedule is unkind, as the Wildcats draw five conference road games in 2018. Of those five, they should be favored in only one: at Waco against a Baylor team that I think could surprise. It’s certainly not a gimme.
You can also expect to see Kansas State listed as a significant underdog (touchdown or greater) in five games: Oklahoma, TCU, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Mississippi State. If you assume the Wildcats lose those, that puts their maximum possible wins at 7. Once you account for coin flips at home against Texas and Texas Tech, this opening win total looks too high. I think this under cashes well before Thanksgiving.
Stats via Football Outsiders
Photo via Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports