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Game Day

Kansas State picked the wrong year?

10/31/2012

FIRST DOWN:

The worry in some Big 12 circles right now is that Kansas State might’ve picked the wrong year — crazy as it sounds — to have the season of a lifetime. After thumping Texas Tech last Saturday, the Wildcats are 8-0 and jumped to No. 2 in the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings. But with Alabama, Oregon and Notre Dame also unbeaten and expected to remain perfect through the rest of the regular season, the Wildcats may not reside in the penthouse for much longer.                

The computers love Bill Snyder’s men, ranking them as co-No. 1 with Notre Dame. Of course, it remains to be seen just how long that cushion will last. Of K-State’s last four regular-season foes, only one — No. 23 Texas on Dec. 1 — sits among the latest BCS top 25. Notre Dame’s swimming up the same creek, with only a visit to No. 17 USC looming as a chance to pad its schedule strength.                

Oregon’s path is the most challenging of the four contenders, and thus, the most likely be rewarded by the digital component of the BCS formula. The Ducks figure to get USC twice, in all likelihood — this weekend inside the Coliseum and probably again in the Pac-12 title game; they’ll also host No. 14 Stanford and visit No. 11 Oregon State. ’Bama gets cracks at two ranked dance partners: a Saturday trek to No. 5 LSU and a visit from No. 16 Texas A&M. In the BCS, just like in life, sometimes timing really is everything.

 

THE BIG 8:

Ranking the best eight teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten, one through eight…

 

TEAM (RECORD) / UP NEXT                

1. Kansas State (8-0) / vs. Oklahoma State                

2. Oklahoma (5-2) / vs. Iowa State                

3. Ohio State (9-0) / vs. Illinois                

4. Texas Tech (6-2) / vs. Texas                

5. Oklahoma State / vs. Kansas State                

6. Nebraska (6-2) / vs. Michigan State                

7. Texas (6-2) / vs. Texas Tech                

8. Iowa State (5-3) / vs. Oklahoma

 

ONE MAN’S RUNNING HEISMAN BALLOT:

1.Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: How important is the front-runner to The Little Apple’s finest? In the Wildcats’ wins at Oklahoma and Iowa State, the 6-foot-5 Colorado native personally accounted for 70.5 percent (31 of 44) of K-State’s first-down conversions, either running or passing. No individual is more important to an elite team’s identity. Except maybe for…                

2. Manti T’eo, LB, Notre Dame: The big lug from Hawaii turned Norman on its head Saturday night after recording his fifth interception of the season, to go along with 11 tackles, a sack and two tackles for losses.                

3. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama: This weekend’s tussle with LSU may not be the latest Game of the Century, but it is the tilt that could sway national voters McCarron’s way. We know he knows how not to lose a game — 18 touchdowns and zero picks in 177 attempts — but can the Tide signal-caller go out and win one, once push comes to shove?

 

SET YOUR TIVO:

The games you won’t want to miss …                

1. Nebraska at Michigan State, ABC/ESPN, 2:30 p.m.: Left for dead after a home loss to Iowa, Gang Green can put a serious dent in the Huskers’ Legends division title hopes.                

2. Oklahoma State at Kansas State, ABC, 7 p.m.: Strange but true: No current Wildcat has ever beaten the Pokes — Okie State takes a three-game series win streak into Manhattan.                

3. Alabama at LSU, CBS, 7 p.m.: Take the under, kids: The Bayou Bengals have scored just six points over their last eight quarters against the Tide defense.

 

THIS WEEK’S COACH ON THE HOT SEAT: DANNY HOPE, PURDUE

You figured there might be a bit of a hangover after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Ohio State, but the Boilermakers collapsed in the Twin Cities like a ton of bricks. Purdue’s 44-28 loss at Minnesota put the Boilers’ already flailing minor-bowl hopes in serious jeopardy, dropping their record to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten. “It’s a huge setback,” Hope told reporters. Ya think? CV

 

Sean Keeler is a columnist/blogger with FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports. In 2011, the Iowa native was named one of the Top 10 sports columnists in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors. You can read him at FoxSportsKansasCity.com and at FoxSportsMidwest.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@seankeeler) and through his Tumblr blog: seankeeler.tumblr.com.
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