Predicting K-State Football’s 2022 Record Game-by-Game
College football is less than four weeks away, which means it is time for my 2022 game-by-game Kansas State Wildcats schedule analysis and season prediction. As I have been perusing social media lately, I have noticed that expectations for the Wildcats are high (in my opinion, too high) among the fan base, most of whom hope that the Wildcats will contend for the Big 12 championship this year. In stark contrast, neither the media nor Las Vegas oddsmakers seem to think that is likely, other than the random “K-State could be a sleeper” prediction I have seen. Big 12 media members picked K-State to finish 5th in their 2022 preseason poll, and oddsmaker BetOnline set the Wildcats’ “total wins” over/under at 6.5.
Before the 2021 football season, I predicted K-State to finish 7-5. They finished 7-5, 8-5 if you include the victory over LSU in their bowl game. K-State should be right in that ballpark again this year. Is the 6.5 win total over/under too low or just about right? Let’s go through the schedule game-by-game and I will try to predict what will happen.
South Dakota (Sept. 3)
At this point in Chris Klieman’s tenure, you would think he has a team capable of beating any FCS team without much trouble. South Dakota finished 7-5 last season and made the FCS playoffs but lost in the first round. They also played Kansas in the first game of the 2021 season and lost 17-14. In 2022, the Coyotes are picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Missouri Valley conference. K-State should win this game, but it might not be easy.
Prediction: Win. 1-0.
Missouri (Sept. 10)
It is not overstating it to say that this game will help shape how the season will go, good or bad. Win against the Tigers and the Wildcats will have a lot of confidence and momentum, and it could propel them to great things. Lose to the Tigers, and the players and fanbase may question if they have what it takes to make the Big 12 title game. This game will tell us a lot. Wildcat fans seem overconfident about beating Missouri. It is my opinion that this will be a highly competitive game. Missouri is talented. They had the 27th-ranked recruiting class in the country last year and have consistently out-recruited K-State recently. The Tigers have questions at quarterback and running back, but there may be enough talent at other positions to overcome that against the Wildcats. K-State has some talent, too, but I believe anyone chalking this game up as a victory is a mistake. It will be a tough game. With that said, I think K-State should get the victory, but it will likely be close.
Prediction: Win. 2-0.
Tulane (Sept. 17)
Tulane is a member of the American Athletic Conference, home of future Big 12 conference foes Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston. The Green Wave’s 2-10 record last season was disappointing, but their starting quarterback returns, so they should be an improved team. They also played Oklahoma pretty tough in the opening game last year, losing 40-35 in Norman, so they have shown an ability to play competitively against top-level talent. Tulane shouldn’t be looked at as a pushover to be overlooked, but I believe the Wildcats should take care of business in this one and get the victory.
Prediction: Win. 3-0.
at Oklahoma (Sept. 24)
I believe Oklahoma is going to have some problems this season. The Sooners have a new coaching staff coming in and feeling its way through the Big 12. That will be challenging enough. Add the Cale Gundy controversy on top of it, and that might be a cause of dissension that divides the roster. Or we may find out that might not matter at all. After all, Oklahoma is the most talented team in the league sans Texas, and they might win 10 games regardless of any drama going on behind the scenes. I am betting that Oklahoma will struggle a bit in the early going of the season. I predict that K-State will go into Norman and win a close game against Brent Venables in his first Big 12 conference game as a head coach.
Prediction: Win. 4-0.
Texas Tech (Oct. 1)
2022 is a rebuilding year for Tech and new head coach Joey McGuire. Questions remain about who will play quarterback for the Red Raiders, and since this will be their second Big 12 game, I think whoever is playing quarterback will struggle to lead them to a victory against K-State in Manhattan. The Wildcats should win this one pretty easily, although I am glad it’s early because the Red Raiders will probably get better as the season progresses.
Prediction: Win. 5-0
at Iowa State (Oct. 8)
Much of the success of the Cyclones will depend on whether or not they can replace quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall with viable replacements. Matt Campbell has some talented depth in that program, but will the Cyclones simply reload and play at the same level they have been? That remains to be seen. To me, K-State has enough talent this year to give the Wildcats the edge over the Cyclones.
Prediction: Win. 6-0.
at TCU (Oct. 22)
The front end of the schedule sets up nicely for Chris Klieman to a large extent because he faces first-year head coaches in three of his first four conference games. It remains to be seen what Sonny Dykes will be able to put together in his first year at TCU, but I am not expecting much out of the Horned Frogs. I am going with K-State in this one.
Prediction: Win. 7-0.
Oklahoma State (Oct. 29)
As Wildcat head coach, Chris Klieman is 0-3 against Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State returns quarterback Spencer Sanders under center, and the Cowboys are looking for Sanders to lead them back to the Big 12 championship game. K-State has the home-field advantage, but until Klieman shows he can beat Gundy, I’m not going to predict it. I think this will be K-State’s first loss.
Prediction: Loss. 7-1.
Texas (Nov. 5)
Texas is another program that Chris Klieman has yet to beat in his three years as K-State’s head coach. The Longhorns have a new coach in Steve Sarkisian, which may work to K-State’s advantage, but they hold a clear talent advantage over K-State. K-State has home-field advantage and the revenge factor for what Sarkisian did to K-State in the 1997 Cotton Bowl. Ok, maybe not the revenge factor. These players were not even alive in 1997. As you can probably tell, I am still a bit bitter about that Cotton Bowl loss. I will never forgive Sarkisian for my crappy drive home from Dallas. I guess it’s partly our fault for deciding to head north and drive straight through to Kansas City right after the game, but I digress. I am picking Texas in this one, but it will be a close game. It will also be a blast watching Deuce Vaughn and Texas running back Bijan Robinson on the field that day.
Prediction: Loss. 7-2.
at Baylor (Nov. 12)
Baylor is the prohibitive favorite to repeat as league champions, and this is probably the most challenging game on K-State’s schedule. And it’s in Waco. Sure, anything can happen, but as of right now I do not see the Wildcats winning this one.
Prediction: Loss. 7-3.
at West Virginia (Nov. 19)
K-State beat West Virginia by 17 last season in Manhattan, but Neal Brown got the better of Chris Klieman and the Wildcats in their previous two meetings. This is a scary game since it is coming after a stretch of playing Oklahoma State, Texas, and Baylor in a row. Losing streaks are hard to break late in the season, and the Wildcats could be on one by the time they travel to Morgantown. I am picking K-State to win a close game, but this one could go either way.
Prediction: Win. 8-3
Kansas (Nov. 26)
Kansas should be an improved team this season, but I do not think they will have enough to compete with the Wildcats this year, especially in Manhattan. Bet the mortgage on K-State.
Prediction: Win. 9-3.
Best Case Scenario
I predict K-State at 9-3 and can see them beating Texas and Oklahoma State if everything goes right. That would put them at 11-1 and in the Big 12 title game.
Worst Case Scenario
The main question mark about K-State for me is the quarterback position. How well is Adrian Martinez going to play? Can he protect the ball and keep from turning it over? Can he stay healthy? Can he get the ball to the receivers if the running game is getting shut down? If the answer to these questions is yes, then an 11-1 record is on the table. If the answer is no, then the Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and West Virginia games all come into question. If you take those four wins out of the win column and put them in the loss column, this team finishes 5-7.
Most Likely Scenario
Assuming they have a mostly healthy roster all season, this team should win between seven and nine games. Anything more than nine wins is gravy. I will bet the over, but I may be sweating that pick as the season progresses.