We're grading each Big 12 team's season right now, and we'll move on to the next team on the list: The Kansas State Wildcats.
OFFENSE: We've been over this before, but even with a terrible outing against Oregon, there's a case to be made for Kansas State as the Big 12's best offense. They don't throw it around the yard. They can't score in 50 seconds like it's nothing. The bottom line: When the Wildcats got the ball, they scored touchdowns more than half the time. That's amazing stuff, and Collin Klein made it all go. Talents like Chris Harper and John Hubert went under respected, and so did the offensive line. Still, the quarterback run game had defenses' heads spinning all year. The offense notably slowed after Klein suffered a head injury against Oklahoma State, but you can't let yourself forget how unstoppable it looked at times this year. The offense also took care of the ball and was a huge reason for the Wildcats' solid turnover margin. Relative to the expectations and perception of this unit, you've got to give this unit a whole lot of respect. GRADE: A+
DEFENSE: Just like offenses, you can grade defenses on any number of criteria. I personally would cast a vote for TCU as the Big 12's best defense, but the Wildcats weren't far behind at all. Arthur Brown won the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year, and Meshak Williams was better than any other defensive lineman in Big 12 play. Safety Ty Zimmerman was a ballhawk, and this defense forced 32 turnovers, tied with TCU for the most in the Big 12. K-State was third in the Big 12 in total defense, but proved an ability to make huge plays in wins over Oklahoma State, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. This unit had high expectations and pretty much hit them. No A+, but not far off. GRADE: A
OVERALL: Like I mentioned before, I was higher on K-State than most, so I don't want to hear all this talk about the "media" picking K-State to finish sixth in the Big 12. I picked K-State to finish second in the league and wrote numerous times about how stupid it was for folks to think K-State would really finish sixth. Even my projection of 10 wins and a second-place finish was too modest for these overachievers, who proved without a doubt throughout the season that they were the Big 12's best team. Losing two of three games to finish the season in ugly fashion hurts a bit, but it won't hurt this grade. GRADE: A+
More Big 12 report cards: