Year Four of the Chris Klieman era in Manhattan is around the corner, with Kansas State looking to finish the season with double-digit wins for the first time in a decade.
The Wildcats went 8-5 a year ago, finishing fifth in the Big 12, and must replace quarterback Skylar Thompson.
The good news for Klieman is running back Deuce Vaughn, who ran for more than 1,400 yards as a sophomore in 2021, is back and ready to shoulder much of the load for the Wildcats.
Kansas State also gets its leading receiver, Phillip Brooks, back in 2022, a year after the Lee’s Summit native wracked up 543 yards on 43 catches and two touchdowns.
The Wildcats will be a part of Big 12 Media Days in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday. They kick off the season in the Little Apple on Sept. 3, when they host South Dakota at 6 p.m. Central time on ESPN+.
Kansas State’s first real test of the year comes a week later, when former Big 12 rival Missouri makes a noon local time appearance in Manhattan on Sept. 10. By then Kansas betting apps could be up and running.
After legalizing sports betting this legislative session, state officials are hopeful mobile wagering will be live by the start of the NFL season.
Here’s a look at where the Wildcats stand on a pair of Kansas sportsbooks entering the 2022 season.
2022 Big 12 Championship Odds
Kansas State in the Middle of the Pack in Big 12
Oddsmakers at BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook Kansas are on the fence about KSU’s chances in the year ahead.
The folks at the Kansas BetMGM Sportsbook have the Wildcats ranked sixth in the Big 12 in terms of conference title odds at +1500.
As far as win totals are concerned, BetMGM has KSU pegged at 6.5 victories, with the over listed at -155 and the under at +130.
At Caesars Sportsbook, KSU is fifth on the Big 12 odds board. The Wildcats rank behind Texas (+200), Oklahoma (+220), Oklahoma State (+400) and Baylor (+600).
For those looking to place a win total wager at Caesars, the Wildcats are -145 for over 7 wins and +115 for the under.
Who to Watch on KSU’s Roster in 2022?
Two names to keep an eye on in Manhattan this fall are Vaughn and Brooks, in addition to whoever wins the QB competition between Will Howard and Jaren Lewis.
Vaughn finished 2021 with more than 1,900 yards of offense and 22 touchdowns, including 468 yards and four receiving touchdowns for the Wildcats.
The junior finished second on the squad, behind Brooks, in receiving yards last season, with Brooks hauling in 75 more yards than the Round Rock, Texas native.
As for who replaces Thompson under center, Howard enters 2022 with more experience — having thrown for 332 yards and a touchdown in limited reps last fall.
The former three-star recruit out of Downingtown, Penn., will compete against the sophomore from Columbia for the starting job.
Whoever gets the nod will look to replicate the production Thompson gave KSU a year ago, when the senior finished with 2,113 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.