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5 Questions with Bring on the Cats

This is the first time the Jayhawks have faced a team with a blog on SB Nation, thanks to the soft schedule we had in the non-conference. So, we will begin what will become a frequent series here on Rock Chalk Talk, trading questions with fellow bloggers.

This week, TB from Bring on the Cats was gracious enough to answer some of my questions. My answers will be over there later tonight...

1) What are your thoughts on Ron Prince? Is he the right man for the job? How long are people around town giving him before they want someone new?

I like Ron Prince personally and am generally satisfied with him as a head coach.  We have seen some occasional head-scratching calls, such as the fake punt against Texas last year, but overall I like his philosophy.

At this point, it's still too early to make a definitive statement, but Prince is currently 10-7, with two wins over top 10 teams.  That's a good enough start to get people in his corner, especially after the disasters that were the 2004 and 2005 seasons.  As I said earlier this week, we need to see more consistency from this team, but that's about all that I see as lacking right now.

Barring a major collapse and some sort of scandal--like knocking up a cheerleader or endorsing Hillary Clinton at a Western Kansas Catbacker function--there's no timetable on people wanting someone new.  Certainly a win this weekend would go a long way toward solidifying Prince's place in Manhattan, as K-State fans would not be happy to surrender the long winning streak in Manhattan.  I think the talk right now trends more toward "extension and raise" rather than "when do we get someone else."

2) What makes Jordy Nelson so good? Is he the best receiver in the Big 12? How will he fare against Aqib Talib on Saturday?

Jordy Nelson is good because he shows up and works hard every minute of every practice, and gives maximum effort on every play of every game.  It doesn't hurt that he's 6'3", 215 pounds and was a sprint champion in high school.  He's not the fastest guy on the field, but he's too fast for a linebacker and too big for most safeties and cornerbacks, so he creates mismatches or forces teams to adjust their defensive alignment.

Nelson may be the best possession receiver in the Big 12.  He's not a playmaker, stretch-the-field type like Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree or Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly, but if we need five yards on a third down to keep a crucial drive going, everyone knows who the first option is going to be.

3) Will the Wildcats win the North this year? If so, why? If not, why?

They certainly have an advantage right now, having already won a road game against an elite South team.  I won't rule out other North teams (Nebraska, Mizzou, KU) going down to Texas, Oklahoma or Texas A&M and coming out with a win, but K-State doesn't have to worry about it anymore.

That said, the Cats still have a lot of business to take care of.  They get KU, Colorado and Mizzou at home, and travel to Nebraska.  That's a pretty favorable schedule, and if they go 3-1 in those games they will certainly have the inside track to the North title.  I'm not guaranteeing anything, but I suddenly am a lot more optimistic than I was this time last week.  That all could change should this weekend's result not be what K-Staters everywhere want to see, but the Cats have a chance to solidify their position right now.

4) What is the key matchup in Saturday's game that will impact the game most? Position-against-position or player against-player.

The biggest matchup has to be the K-State front seven against the KU pass protection.  The Wildcat defense is built on getting pressure on the quarterback, rattling him, tipping passes, forcing bad decisions under pressure.  Last year the Cats knocked Colt McCoy silly, then barely laid a hand on KU's quarterbacks.  Our secondary is not bad, and will be better if we have Marcus Watts back, but any good quarterback who has all day to throw will eventually find someone open.  Rob Jackson, Ian Campbell, Justin Roland and company need to let Todd Reesing know early and often that he's not going to have a pleasant day trying to throw the ball.

5) Score Prediction. Who ya got and by how much?

I had a dream last night that the Cats came out on top 32-13.  I don't think it will be that lopsided, but I'm going with the Cats on this one.
K-State 34, KU 24

"Thursday" Night Preview coming up later tonight, along with the keys to the game.