Wildcats move up to No. 2 in BCS

By Joshua Kinder

As expected, Kansas State moved up one spot to No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Sunday night, behind only Alabama, and in front of No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Oregon.

All that means right now is that the Wildcats, coming off a 55-24 win Saturday against Texas Tech, would play for the national championship if the season ended today.

Unfortunately for K-State, though, there is still a lot of football left to play, meaning the BCS standings remain fluid and are expected to change every week, even if all four teams at the top continue to win.

Right now, the six computer polls that factor into the BCS love K-State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12). Three of the polls have the Wildcats No. 1, while two others have K-State No. 3 and one at No. 2. The human polls, however, have K-State ranked third in both the Harris and USA Today coaches poll — and those count for 2/3 of the BCS. K-State is also No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, but that one doesn’t count toward the BCS standings.

On the flipside, Oregon’s average rank in the computer polls is No. 5, but yet the Ducks come in at No. 2 with the human voters.

A key factor in all of this is that Oregon has defeated just one team currently ranked in the BCS top 25, giving the Ducks the 63rd-toughest strength of schedule. That will change though, as Oregon still has games remaining against No. 11 Oregon State, No. 14 Stanford and No. 17 Southern California.

K-State has wins over No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 18 Texas Tech and No. 21 West Virginia with games against No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Oklahoma State still remaining — putting the Wildcats at No. 13 in strength of schedule.

“The fact that Oregon still remains at (No.) 2 in 2/3 of the BCS standings should send a very loud message to everybody out there,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Sunday night on the BCS Countdown Show. “If we’re going to have this huge argument about Armageddon if Kansas State wins out, Notre Dame wins out and Oregon wins out, what’s going to happen?

“Oregon is not going to drop from the Harris poll or the coaches poll if they win out. They’re only going to go up in the computers. And as much as Kansas State is very deserving of their spot right now, Notre Dame is very deserving of their spot right now — based on what they’ve done on the field at this point — I still feel that Oregon will control its own destiny. If Oregon wins out, they ultimately, will finish in the top two.”

But the BCS isn’t only about K-State and Oregon. Alabama — which has just one win against a BCS team in No. 15 Mississippi State — is playing No. 5 LSU on Saturday. Notre Dame, with two wins BCS wins over OU and Stanford, still has to play USC.

The difference right now, according to ESPN’s Jesse Palmer, are the common opponents between the four undefeated teams — more specifically, K-State and Notre Dame.

“Both teams easily beat Miami, Kansas State won at Oklahoma 24-19, a game they easily could have lost — Oklahoma had three awful turnovers,” Palmer said Sunday night. “I think Notre Dame’s win this past weekend at (Oklahoma) was more impressive and because of that, Notre Dame should be ahead of Kansas State right now.”

ESPN analyst David Pollack doesn’t think K-State’s resume is complete, though, and that the Wildcats can still make up ground with the human voters in the next four weeks.

“Early in the season, North Texas was a bad game for them,” he said. “You saw Oklahoma, three turnovers — it was kind of fluky. Now, I really think they’ve hit their stride… I think that’s a team down the road that can prove more and more because if they continue to whip people and beat people down, like good teams, like they did to Texas Tech this past weekend, they’re going to gain more credibility.”

Pollack said he likes the potential matchup between Alabama and K-State — assuming both win out — but couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Wildcats’ quality of players.

“I think K-State and Alabama compare to each other very favorably — their style,” he said. “But one team has like 60,000 five-star athletes and one only has a few. They don’t beat themselves and they play physical. They’re very similar, but one has a lot better players.”

K-State will get its next chance to sway voters this Saturday when the Wildcats host Oklahoma State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on ABC.

Klein named Big 12 Player of the Week

K-State quarterback Collin Klein was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to a 55-24 win over Texas Tech on Saturday.

Klein was 19-of-26 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 83 yards and another two on the ground. He moved to sixth in Big 12 history with 49 career rushing touchdowns.

Klein was also named a semifinalist for the Maxwell award, given to the collegiate player of the year.

Arthur Brown was also named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, givien to the most outstanding defensive player. Brown is the first K-State defender since cornerback Chris Canty in 1996 to earn semifinal status for the Bednarik Award.

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