July 9, 2007

Wanting more

Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, Kansas State saw immediate returns from Ron Prince, as he guided the Wildcats to as many wins as any Big 12 first-year coach in the previous seven seasons and took them to their first bowl in three years. When Bill Snyder retired, the legendary coach said the "cupboard is not bare." Prince plans to keep the cupboard stocked - and keep the stock in his program rising this fall.

Prince led K-State to as many Big 12 wins (four) as it had in the previous two seasons combined. For the North division last season, that was good enough for a second-place tie with Missouri in the standings. While the Wildcats' 45-42 upset of No. 4 Texas was the signature win, consecutive losses to Kansas (the 39-20 defeat was K-State's worst loss to the Jayhawks in Lawrence in 14 years) and Rutgers (37-10) tempered some enthusiasm from the otherwise successful 7-6 campaign heading into the offseason.

For loyal followers, this has become rehashed more than the final episode of The Sopranos, but let the record show once again K-State wasn't supposed to be good in 2006. A poll of media covering the Big 12 last July predicted the Wildcats to finish sixth in the North. And K-State's 40 total votes overall were six fewer than Baylor. Indeed, most believed the Wildcats would be the worst team in the league.

They weren't. And behind 14 returning starters on offense (six) and defense (eight), the Wildcats, who will be going places in the fall (six road games), remain focused on only going up in the North, no matter the magnitude of the task given the strength of Nebraska and Missouri (see team previews May 23 and May 25 on GoPowercat.com).

"We're right on the verge," sophomore quarterback Josh Freeman said June 13. "I'm looking for big things out of this team this year."

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