Year Five of the Chris Klieman era in Manhattan is off to a hot start, long before any footballs have been kicked off.
Kansas State finds itself squarely inside the Associated Press preseason top 25 for the first time since 2017, checking in at No. 16. That will likely be good news for sports betting in Kansas.
Overall, this year represents the 12th time Kansas State will enter the season ranked, which led BetKansas.com to look at every season the Wildcats began ranked and how they ultimately finished.
Kansas State Preseason Ranking History
Kansas sportsbook promos are available to bet on Kansas State football this season. The Wildcats are +700 to win the Big 12, third behind Texas (+100) and Oklahoma (+350).
Preseason Poll Not Always a Barometer
In the previous 11 times K-State entered the year ranked, the Wildcats finished the year unranked on four occasions (including that 2017 season).
Conversely, the Wildcats have climbed as high as the No. 6 spot in the final AP poll (in 1999) and finished the season inside the top 10 nationally on four occasions (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000).
Kansas State’s best season, win-loss wise, in a year where they started inside the AP’s preseason top 25 was 1997, when the program went 11-1 and within an eyelash of playing for a national championship.
The Wildcats also finished the year with 11 wins five times, doing so in 1998 (11-2), 1999 (11-1), 2000 (11-3), 2003 (11-4) and 2012 (11-2).
How This Year’s Team Stacks Up
The Wildcats enter the 2023 season in the upper end of the BetMGM Kansas Big 12 odds board.
As far as win totals are concerned, BetMGM has the Wildcats at 9.5, which represents a three-win jump over last year’s preseason figure.
Kansas State’s 9.5 over/under is the team’s highest preseason total since the Wildcats’ were pegged at 8.5 wins in 2013 and 2014.
On the field, the Wildcats will lean on senior quarterback Will Howard, who threw for a team-high 1,633 yards and 15 touchdowns (to four interceptions) in 2022.
If Howard can pick up where he left off in Kansas State’s Big 12 championship campaign last fall, the school should be in good shape to make it back to AT&T Stadium in 2023 and draw plenty of attention from fans at Kansas sports betting apps.
The biggest question mark offensively is who will shoulder the load out of the backfield now that dynamic back Deuce Vaughn and his 1,558 rushing yards and nine touchdowns are off to the NFL.
Expect Klieman and his staff to tinker with the team’s schemes early, with the season opener coming against Southeast Missouri on Sept. 2.