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Sports Editorial

KSAL Staff - August 24, 2015 8:00 am

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

MAC STEVENSON LIVES IN SALINA, AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR OVER TEN NEWSPAPERS IN KANSAS

Winning teams in college football—almost without exception—have a quarterback that is a highly effective passer. It’s an asset to have a QB that has run-pass ability, but the pass is by far the most important.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder hasn’t named his starting QB, but all indications are that Jesse Ertz (6-3, 211, SO) is going to be “the man.” Ertz was highly recruited from Burlington, Iowa and his primary skill is throwing the football. That’s what K-State needs.

Four QBs have been battling for the starting position: Ertz, Jonathan Banks (6-2, 205, SO), Joe Hubener (6-5, 211, JR), and Alex Delton (6-0, 201, FR). Banks is a JUCO newcomer who doesn’t know Snyder’s system and Delton is a true freshman and will likely redshirt. Hubener played some as a sophomore, but his passing accuracy may put him behind Ertz.

What’s vital for this Kansas State team is to have the starting QB grab the reins and hold on tight. The Wildcats have three nonconference games they should win (South Dakota, UTSA, and Louisiana Tech) and a bye week before Big 12 play begins. That’s four weeks to sand down the rough edges.

The last thing Coach Snyder needs is a QB controversy two or three games into the season; the first three games in Big 12 play are as tough as it gets. K-State opens league play on the road against highly regarded Oklahoma State on Oct. 3. Then the Wildcats play their next two at home against TCU on Oct. 10 and Oklahoma on Oct. 17. TCU is loaded and O-State and OU have enough talent to be Big 12 contenders; all three could challenge for a place in the national playoffs.

Kansas State is going to have another quality football team. Those first three games in the Big 12 will determine just how competitive the Wildcats will be in conference play and on the national level. If Jesse Ertz is moving the offense and hitting his passes, K-State could, once again, be one of the surprise teams in the nation.

Kansas University’s 2015 football team is made up of mostly unknown players and predicted to be one of the worst teams in college football. Coach David Beaty inherited a mess. But drastic problems require drastic solutions and Beaty has employed that strategy.

Beaty has about 50 freshmen recruits and walk-ons in camp; he’ll need plenty of help from these young kids to put a competitive team on the field. KU’s players and coaches have worked hard during the offseason, but so have all the other teams. Nevertheless, superb coaching and exceptional effort by the players can make up for some of the shortcomings.

Kansas will start slow, but they might improve significantly as they go along. It’s all new and the young Jayhawks are facing an intimidating schedule. If they win two or three games, it will be a solid start to a better football program.

The Kansas City Royals have made a shambles out of baseball’s American League Central race. After the August 22 games, KC had a 12.5 game lead over second place Minnesota. KC’s going to win their division; all that remains in the regular season is to maintain their best-of-the American League position, insuring home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

GM Dayton Moore has improved the Royals considerably with his late-season moves. Moore acquired starting pitcher Johnny Cueto and utility player Ben Zobrist, who is really a starting player at numerous positions. And now manager Ned Yost has made a move that solidifies the starting pitching.

Yost moved Kris Medlen into the starting rotation, replacing Jeremy Guthrie who has been cuffed around frequently. Medlen is a former starting pitcher for Atlanta who is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He’s been very effective coming out of the Royal’s bullpen.

The guess here is that Medlen will be an outstanding starter for KC and a member of the Royals’ four-man rotation during the playoffs. Cueto and Edinson Volquez are sure to make the playoff rotation and Yordano Ventura is coming on. Medlen will be the fourth starter with Danny Duffy being held in reserve.

Left fielder Alex Gordon is in Omaha going through a few rehab games before he rejoins Kansas City. When Gordon returns, Yost can use Zobrist at second base or right field; either move will strengthen the ball club.

If KC stays healthy, they have their best team since 1985. The Royals are ready to compete for another trip to the World Series. The addition of Cueto, Zobrist, and Medlen solidifies any potential soft spots in the lineup. With football and Royals’ baseball, what great months September and October promise to be.

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