By the Numbers: The Perfect Season Part I, Kansas State Wildcats

One more week in the books and two more unbeatens have fallen.  The mighty Crimson Tide were taken down by Johnny Football and the A&M Aggies, while Big East front-runner Louisville went down to 5-5 Syracuse Orange.  That leaves just four undefeated teams in the FBS—Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.  For the purposes of this article, Ohio State will be ignored because they are ineligible for postseason play.  (Although, don’t overlook Braxton Miller as a Heisman candidate, sneaking into New York).  The Gamedayr Statistics Department takes an in-depth look at each of the remaining unbeatens, how they reached 10-0, and what they will need to do to finish off the perfect season.  We begin with the Kansas State Wildcats.

The Wildcats are ranked number one in the current BCS standings, and have looked mighty impressive week in and week out.  Kansas State has faced four ranked teams so far—Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.  West Virginia started the season hot, with the early season Heisman trophy front-runner in quarterback Geno Smith, but the Mountaineers have since lost four consecutive games and have dropped from the rankings.  Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are still holding on in the back end of the rankings, but with three losses apiece, are far from championship contenders.  That leaves Oklahoma as the lone title contender on K State’s schedule after a 24-19 win in Norman.

Still to play for the Wildcats are Baylor and Texas.  Baylor apparently has yet to discover the word ‘defense’ in the dictionary, evidenced by a 70-63 loss to West Virginia and a 56-50 loss to Texas.  The matchup this Saturday should be a high scoring affair that Kansas State wins because their defense steps up in the clutch, while K State quarterback Colin Klein may just score ten touchdowns against the porous Bears defense.  Texas, at number fifteen in this weeks BCS standings, should provide a much more difficult opponent for the Wildcats.  The Longhorns have been playing inspired football since a blowout loss to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, and they will not go down easily.

[Related: Week 12 Heisman rankings]

We have all heard what Colin Klein has done this year, but the real reason Kansas State has reached the ten-win mark without a loss may just be an extremely underrated defense.  The Wildcats’ defense ranks 14th in the nation in points per game, allowing opposing offenses just 17.7 points.  This is even more incredible when you realize the conference that they play in.  The Big 12 is chock-full of high-powered offenses, as seven of the nations twenty highest scoring teams reside in the conference.  Oklahoma has scored 39.8 points per game, but managed only 19 at home against the Wildcats.  West Virginia averages 40 points per game, but managed only 14 in a blowout loss at home to Kansas State.

To finish the season undefeated, the Wildcats defense will have to play similarly well against an upset-minded Longhorns’ squad in the regular season finale.  The Wildcats benefit from the new conference alignment, as the Big 12 no longer plays a conference championship game.  If the Kansas State defense can slow down Texas quarterback David Ash and the multi-faceted Longhorns’ rushing attack, look for the Wildcats to remain atop the polls and head to Miami for a chance at the school’s first national title.


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