Top 25 playoff teams: Kansas State

Wildcats return several key players, but a surprise playoff run is unlikely

Updated: June 5, 2014, 12:32 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Jake WatersPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesKansas State QB Jake Waters threw for 2,469 yards and 18 TDs in 2013.

From May 27 to July 3, Insider's college football experts will preview the season for the 25 teams with the best chances to make the inaugural College Football Playoff, based on Brian Fremeau's post-spring projections. This is the entry for Kansas State.

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Fremeau's projection

Projected finish: 8-4 (6-3)
Chance to make playoff: 3 percent
Chance to win Big 12: 9 percent
Toughest games: Sept. 18 versus Auburn (45 percent), Oct. 18 at Oklahoma (22 percent), Dec. 6 at Baylor (43 percent)


Why they'll make the playoff

1. A potential top-10 quarterback

That may sound like hyperbole, but consider this: From November through the end of the 2013 campaign, Jake Waters ranked 15th nationally in ESPN Stats & Information's Adjusted Total QBR metric that gauges a passer's productivity while taking into account schedule strength. His 81.0 mark in that time frame was higher than the Adjusted Total QBR marks posted by Johnny Manziel (79.9), Marcus Mariota (78.8) and Blake Bortles (77.8). Even if he doesn't keep this up for an entire season, if Waters stays close to this level, he has the capability to lead this team to Big 12 title contention.