March 29, 2023

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Luke’s Locker: Okay-State top-10 rating undersells crew’s functionality

The highest 10 school soccer groups within the nation for the week of Nov. 28. (Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

Within the weekly rating from the Faculty Soccer Playoff Committee, the Kansas State Wildcats had been ranked at No. 10 within the nation, inserting Okay-State as the very best three-loss crew within the nation. Even so, the concept of there being 9 groups higher than the Wildcats is up for judgment.

Now, shedding three video games and having zero wins over present top-25 groups does give the committee the suitable to carry it towards Okay-State when evaluating it to one of the best groups within the nation. Nonetheless, there should not 9 groups higher than the Wildcats for the time being.

All three losses for Okay-State have come towards groups ranked inside the highest 25: No. 3 TCU, No. 18 Tulane and No. 20 Texas. In all three matchups, Okay-State had the chance to win however fell brief ultimately. The Wildcats even had TCU down 18 factors as quarterback Will Howard was pushed into motion resulting from quarterback Adrian Martinez’s harm. 

Howard’s efficiency in his 5 appearances, beginning with the TCU recreation, have been the catalyst to the climb within the rankings. Howard now has full management of the offense because the starter, averaging over 47 factors per recreation in his three begins. The Wildcats have received these three video games by a mean of 28.3 factors per recreation. With a balanced offensive assault and a protection that continues to point out promise regardless of a number of season-ending accidents, Okay-State has the flexibility to match up with practically any crew and any fashion of play regardless of their losses.

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Forward of the Wildcats are the two-loss Clemson Tigers ranked at No. 9. Clemson began off the season with a 8-0 document earlier than struggling two losses of their subsequent 4 video games. The primary got here to the then-unranked Notre Dame Preventing Irish in a 35-14 blowout. Clemson then fell to South Carolina 31-30 to complete their common season. The Wildcats current high quality of play exhibits that, in any case, the Wildcats ought to have been positioned forward of the Tigers.

The No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers, nonetheless, have earned their rating. Tennessee as soon as had hopes for the playoff, however that chance is gone. They fell to a South Carolina crew 63-38, who was simply blown out by unranked Florida, they usually misplaced potential Heisman winner quarterback Hendon Hooker. Okay-State doesn’t have the resume wins of LSU and Alabama that Tennessee has, however in a matchup as we speak, the Wildcats would have the benefit, because the addition of Howard would go favorably towards the lack of Hooker. 

Subsequent comes No. 5 Ohio State and No. 6 Alabama, two historic applications. Every crew has landed their rankings largely resulting from identify worth. Ohio State began the season wanting like one of the best offense within the nation. Now, because the climate has develop into extra frigid, the high-flying offense has proven struggles, scoring solely 21 factors towards a one-win Northwestern crew and falling to No. 2 Michigan by 22 factors. In a recreation with freezing temperatures, the Wildcats’ physicality provides them the sting towards the Buckeyes.

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The historic Alabama Crimson Tide, the presumed Sugar Bowl matchup for Okay-State by practically all main sports activities retailers, is just not the identical because it was in previous years. Alabama has been carried by quarterback Bryce Younger together with his game-saving performances, overcoming lackluster large receiver and offensive line play. A Sugar Bowl victory could be a tricky process for Okay-State, however the alternative might be there to take down the legend that’s head coach Nick Saban.

Each crew exterior the present prime 4 of Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC has proven main flaws this season. Whereas not one of the groups ranked forward of Okay-State have misplaced 3 times, few have confirmed themselves to be worthy of a better tier than the Wildcats. In a matchup as we speak, Okay-State has the flexibility to take down any certainly one of these 5 groups. A Huge 12 Championship would solely additional present proof in the direction of the Wildcats being one of many prime groups within the nation and beg the query for what number of groups are actually higher than the Okay-State Wildcats.