6th: Big 12
30th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: Last season was a will-he-or-won’t-he storyline for legendary Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder – will the 78 year old coach retire after the season, or won’t he? After a 7-5 season that concluded with a win over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl with a relatively young team, Snyder finally tamped down some of that speculation by signing a 5 year coaching extension this offseason, but questions about his health to be the head man for many more seasons remains.
Biggest Shoes to Fill:Though K State has a great young nucleus returning, DB/RS D.J. Reed continued the Wildcats’ impressive streak of producing NFL draftees, as the speedy defensive back was drafted in teh 5th round by the San Francisco 49ers.
Key Player: It’s not often that a fullback is a school’s key player, but FB Winston Dimel is one of those types of guys. He’s not just a blocking back – though that is what he’s best at – he also delivers the goods rushing the ball (22 career TDs) and receiving (8 catches for 91 yards in 2017). He’s a key part of the glue that will make this Kansas State offense work.
Fearless Prediction: Speculation on Snyder’s heath and coaching career will not cease, but the Wildcats are on the rise and should be comfortably in the conversation for another bowl appearance this year. Getting to the top of the Big 12, however, seems like a tall order.