Kansas State the real No. 1?

Why the Wildcats deserve a title berth more than any team in the nation

Updated: October 30, 2012, 4:12 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Collin KleinPeter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesKansas State has proven to be an elite team in all three phases of the game.

As of this week, four teams have separated themselves from the pack in the race to the BCS championship, and each one has a solid chance to run the table the rest of the way. Debates over strength of schedule, style points and signature wins will define the final month of the season. The chase for a coveted championship berth may be as hotly contested as ever.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish overpowered Oklahoma on the road Saturday in their biggest statement game to date. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks have marquee road games this Saturday in which they, too, can make a major statement on the biggest stage.

Meanwhile, the Kansas State Wildcats are perhaps the most overlooked of the four contenders. They are currently ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings, but many experts expect that the Wildcats won't be able to keep that ranking even if they win out, because Kansas State's biggest games are already in the rearview mirror.

On the other hand, Kansas State has been strong in all three phases of the game, consistently exceeding expectations and winning with unmatched efficiency. A statistical evaluation of the Kansas State résumé shouldn't keep them out of the championship conversation. In fact, Kansas State may have the best case to be ranked No. 1 of any team in the country. Here are five reasons why.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com