Trevor’s Early Predictions for 2016

at Stanford: Kansas State begins the season with a tough road matchup on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend. Stanford loses record-breaking quarterback Kevin Hogan, tight end Austin Hooper, and wide receiver Devon Cajuste as well as losing Barry Sanders, Jr. to transfer. The Cardinal, however, return All-American running back and returner Christian McCaffrey who finished second in the 2015 Heisman voting (and who many argue should have won).

Prediction: LOSS

FAU: The Owls come into 2016 after a 3-9 2015 campaign. Although the 2015 FAU season was not successful, the Owls nearly beat Florida in Gainesville. FAU does return running back Greg Howell, a sophomore that ran for 598 yards in 2015, freshman linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (who had 72 tackles in 2015), and freshman safety Jalen Young (who had 55.5).

Prediction: WIN

Missouri State: The Bears finished winless in the FCS Missouri Valley Conference in 2015 with an 0-8 conference record and a 1-10 record overall, with their only victory coming against Division II Chadron State. The Bears were outscored 535-108 in 2015 and lost to FBS opponents Memphis and Arkansas State by 63-7 and 70-7, respectively.

Prediction: WIN

at West Virginia: The Mountaineers lose Big 12 rushing champ Wendell Smallwood and punter Nick O’Toole, although West Virginia returns most starters on offense and defense. Quarterback Skylar Howard will return to the Mountaineers and looks to use his Cactus Bowl performance to improve on his inconsistent performances. Howard will return young receivers Jovon Durante and Shelton Gibson. However, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorson will be hard pressed to show the Mountaineers can compete in the Big 12.

Prediction: WIN

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders lose star running back Deandre Washington, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, and most of their offensive and defensive lines. Texas Tech also must improve on 2015’s defensive and penalty statistics (Texas Tech ranked 127th in run defense and 99th in penalties).  However, Texas Tech should still have a powerful offense behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 4653 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Prediction: WIN

at Oklahoma: The Sooners will have some holes to fill in 2016, having to replace linebackers Eric Striker and Dominique Alexander, defensive end Charles Tapper, cornerback Zach Sanchez, and wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Despite these losses, the Sooners are prime to win another Big 12 title and make the College Football Playoff. The Sooners will return star quarterback Baker Mayfield and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.

Prediction: LOSS

Texas: The Longhorns are at a pivotal point in their program history. Charlie Strong enters his third season with a 12-14 record as head coach and the Longhorns must have a strong season for Strong to keep his job. Texas replaces offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline for Sterlin Gilbert. Texas will need to get offensive production in 2016 to make a bowl game and save Charlie Strong’s job.

Prediction: WIN

at Iowa State: Iowa State enters 2016 with a new head coach in Matt Campbell from Toledo. The Cyclones should have the offensive weapons to keep pace in the Big 12 next year with quarterback Joel Lanning, running back Mike Warren, and wide receiver Allen Lazard. However, the Cyclones must improve on defense and  in turnover margin in order to make a bowl game for the first time since 2012.

Prediction: WIN

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys return quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington in 2016, which should help Oklahoma State to have another lethal passing attack. The Cowboys should be able to compete for a Big 12 championship, but need to establish a running game (running backs Chris Carson and Raymond Taylor only provided 517 and 297 yards in 2015, respectively) and to perform better on defense (with the loss of defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah) in order to bring a championship to Stillwater. Rumors are floating that Barry Sanders, Jr. could transfer to Oklahoma State to finish his career at his father’s alma mater.

Prediction: LOSS

at Baylor: Although Baylor loses Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, and four starters off of the offensive line, the Bears should compete for a conference championship and a shot at making the College Football Playoff. Baylor returns offensive weapons in quarterback Seth Russell, running backs Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson, and wide receiver KD Cannon, although the latter needs to be more disciplined.

Prediction: LOSS

Kansas: David Beaty will look to win his first game as the Jayhawks head coach in 2016. While the Jayhawks should improve from an 0-12 season, especially as quarterback Ryan Willis further develops, KU is an eternity  from competing in the Big 12. Running back Ke’aun Kinner and safety Fish Smithson are some of the few other bright spots for KU in 2016.

Prediction: WIN

at TCU: TCU enters 2016 with momentum after an amazing Alamo Bowl comeback victory over Oregon. While TCU will lose its offensive weapons in quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson, the Horned Frogs have developed defensive experience due to last year’s rash of defensive injuries and have an emerging weapon in KaVontae Turpin. Former Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill is projected to replace Boykin, and Hill has the potential to be an impact player for TCU.

Prediction: LOSS

Bowl Prediction: Texas Bowl vs. Ole Miss (Houston): The Rebels lose many key players from their 2016 Sugar Bowl winning team, such as offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Ole Miss does return quarterback Chad Kelly and young talent on both sides of the football. The Rebels have a potential to compete for an SEC Championship, although face tough competition in the SEC West.

Prediction: LOSS

Summary 

Based on the above predictions, Kansas State would go 7-6 with a 5-4 record in the Big 12. Seven victories would give Bill Snyder 200 career wins, a milestone in his already phenomenal career. 200 career wins could provide a cap to Snyder’s tenure as head coach, leading to a potential retirement at the end of 2016. Snyder, however, shows no signs of slowing, and K-State fans would love to have him coach for as long as possible.

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Trevor Elwell-Cuddy

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