Kansas State Wildcats Bowl Preview: Top 25 Showdown Awaits in Orlando

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Kansas State is slated to make its first bowl game appearance in the state of Florida later this month on the heels of an 8-4 season in Manhattan.

The Wildcats will play in the 2023 Pop-Tarts Bowl in Orlando, squaring off against 9-3 North Carolina State from the ACC inside Camping World Stadium on Dec. 28.

The 2023 bowl game comes on the heels of K-State’s other recent postseason forays, including the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans last year, Houston’s TaxAct Texas Bowl in 2021 and the Liberty Bowl in Memphis in 2019.

Prior to that, the Wildcats played in eight straight bowl games under legendary coach Bill Snyder between 2010 and 2017. This year, K-State looks to add another postseason victory in the school’s first Florida bowl game. Kansas sports betting sites list the Wildcats as 3.5-point favorites.

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When is the Pop-Tarts Bowl?

Date/Time/Stadium Matchup Betting Line
Dec. 28, 4:45 p.m. (ESPN), Camping World Stadium, OrlandoNo. 18 N.C. State vs. No. 25 Kansas StateKSU -3.5; O/U 47.5; ML: KSU -165, NCST +140
Odds provided by ESPN BET Kansas.

Kansas State Thrived in 2023

While the Wildcats fell short of reaching the program’s second straight Big 12 championship game, it’s hard to say 2023 was anything but a rousing success. K-State still managed to go 8-4, with wins over in-state rival Kansas and blowout victories over Baylor, Houston, TCU, Texas Tech and UCF.

Above that, the Wildcats saw increasing returns from second-year starting quarterback Will Howard, who threw for a career high 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns. Throw in 1,075 rushing yards and nine touchdowns from sophomore running back DJ Giddens of Junction City.

With Giddens slated to return in 2024 and tight end Ben Sinnott being a junior, there’s no reason to expect that K-State will fall back to earth. The Wildcats have one final opportunity to build momentum this year, going toe-to-toe with an NC State team that’s won its last five games.

NC State’s offense hasn’t been pretty, ranking 102nd nationally in passing yards per game (196.4) and 77th in rushing yards per game (149.9). That might be why Kansas sports betting apps have the over-under for the bowl game at 47.5 total points. But Dave Doeren’s team has thrived nonetheless. This year marks the fourth year in a row the Wolfpack have won eight or more games.


Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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