The Little Apple keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Kansas State is positioned to compete for a BCS title game appearance, thanks in no small part to its quarterback, the aptly-named Optimus Klein, transforming the Wildcats' offense into a runaway train in recent weeks.
Collin Klein, who has emerged as one of the premier players in the country after accounting for 14 touchdowns and zero turnovers in the past three games, once again led Bill Snyder to victory -- this time against previous national darling West Virginia. Klein excelled through the air (19-for-21 passing, 323 yards). As usual, he was steady on the ground. And with his seven total touchdowns against the once-upon-a-time-top-10 Mountaineers, Klein’s squad jumped up to No. 3 in this week's BCS standings – trailing only two SEC schools, Alabama and Florida.
As unlikely as it still may seem, the Wildcats have a legitimate opportunity to win out and put themselves in position to square off against what looks to be the SEC Championship game's winner. Two more ranked teams remain on the schedule (TCU, Texas), while their other two opponents (Oklahoma State, Baylor) will not be overlooked by the human polls or the computers.
K-State's closest competitor in the BCS standings right now is Oregon, which has impressed but still faces the bulk of its schedule – ranked opponents USC, Stanford and Oregon State loom large. Add in the possibility of playing another solid opponent in the Pac-12 title game, and the Ducks’ success will depend on what they do from here on out.
Oregon was always expected to be here in this conversation; no one is surprised. However, the play of Klein and the Wildcats has Manhattan, Kan., dreaming big. There's a lot of football left to play, but the days of underestimating Kansas State are over.
VIEW FROM THE TOP
With one more week in the books, 11 undefeated teams remain in college football and all of them, with the exception of bowl-ineligible Ohio State, now find their names in the BCS standings' top-25. Joining surprise Kansas State, equally unlikely Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio, Rutgers and Oregon State fill out the ranks of the untouched.
The conspicuous presence of these schools has not only muddied the waters of the national Coach of the Year race – Mike Riley, Brian Kelly, Will Muschamp, Frank Solich and Kyle Flood all deserve mention – but it has given life to a title race no longer diluted by the usual suspects.
Sure, Alabama and Oregon keep rolling, but consider this: LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State have combined for seven more losses than the collection of Louisville, Ohio, Rutgers and Oregon State. That isn't a minor anomaly; it's a seismic shift in college football's power rankings.
The likes of the second-best program in the state of Ohio (in 2012, at least) building off this run to contend for national prominence year after year is slim to none, but that doesn't mean the Bobcats and the new kids on top of the food chain can't enjoy the ride while it lasts.