Remember the Big 12 preseason poll where Kansas State checked in at number six? Well, two games into the season and the Wildcats are already proving why preseason polls don't mean a whole heck of a lot.
Kansas State took a decent Miami team behind the woodshed in Manhattan and beat them to the tune of 52-13 on Saturday. Kansas State outgained the Hurricanes 498 to 277. Kansas State rushed for 288 yards and threw for another 210 even though they only attempted 11 passes all day, completing nine of them.
There's no question this wasn't a Miami team of old, but the Hurricanes still have plenty of talent, not that anyone could necessarily tell on Saturday afternoon. Kansas State might just be that good.
There's no reason why K-State can't or won't be in the thick of the Big 12 race come the first weekend in December. If you're looking for the conference frontrunner two weeks into the season, Manhattan might be the best place to begin your search.
Oklahoma doesn't yet look like the team many thought they'd be. West Virginia looked great in their first game but nobody knows yet how they'll handle the grind in their new conference. Texas looks good after two games but still have plenty of questions yet to answer. Oklahoma State just lost to Arizona giving up 59 points in the process. TCU is talented although they have a ton of inexperience on their depth chart and have a brutal schedule over the second half of the season to deal with.
And then there's Kansas State who checked in behind all five of those teams in the poll selected by those who follow the league the closest.
The disrespect paid to Bill Snyder's team never made sense from the outset. Here you had a 10 win team in 2011 returning 14 starters including a very good (and still very underrated quarterback) coached by arguably one of the best coaches in the country. Yet nobody thought they had a reasonable chance at contending? Or maybe they did, just not as much as other teams in the league that had nearly as much or more to prove than did the Wildcats.
The prevailing argument against KSU seemed to be the fact they were 8-1 last season in games decided by seven points or less and they wouldn't or couldn't be so lucky again. Well guess what? There may have been a little luck involved, but when it happens eight different times, there's probably much more to it than simple luck.
What they did to Miami on Saturday can best be described as a football clinic. Collin Klein was at his best rushing for 70 yards and three touchdowns and throwing for another as part of his 210 yard day. Watching Kansas State's offensive line block Klein's designed quarterback runs that everyone in the stadium knows are coming is a thing of beauty.
The receivers are more than capable of making big plays in the passing game and they seem to have found a reliable one-two punch in running backs John Hubert and Angelo Pease.
And then there is the defense that has talent at all three levels. There are some holes to fill there, sure (there was some suspect pass coverage at times on Saturday), but there are also enough playmakers capable of hanging with the offenses they'll see in the Big 12, at least as well as any other team in the league outside of maybe Texas. Miami rushed for 208 yards last week against Boston College. Saturday against the Wildcats, they managed just 44 yards on 29 carries.
It's easy to jump to conclusions after two games and one dominating performance. K-State will definitely face much tougher tests once conference play gets underway. But anyone underestimating this team is making a big mistake, something the teams in the Big 12 should have learned all too well last season.
Is Kansas State capable of winning the Big 12 outright in 2012? "We're a work in progress," Snyder said, "but we're vastly improved." That should worry anyone and everyone in the league that doesn't call Manhattan home. Now if they can just find some of that luck that propelled them to 10 wins a season ago, they might have something to work with.