The Week Ahead: Football season is here

For nearly two years, computer renderings (like the one posted above) have been used to help illustrate what game days will look and feel like at the newly renovated Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

On Friday evening, they will no longer be necessary. That’s right, we are five days away from the start of Kansas State’s football season. If you prefer to count in hours, we are about 100 hours away from the parking lots opening for tailgaters.

It’s an exciting time for K-State fans. They aren’t far away from watching a new team in a renovated stadium.

With that in mind, here is a look at everything you need to know about the week ahead.

The Game
K-State will open the 2013 season against North Dakota State at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Craig Bolerjack will handle play-by-play, Joey Harringotn will be the analyst and Ryan Nece will be the sideline reporter.

The Opponent
North Dakota State isn’t your average team from the Football Championship Subdivision. It has won the past two FCS national championships and won its past three games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents — Kansas, Colorado State and Minnesota. The Bison once again top the FCS rankings. They have a large and confident fan base and an experienced quarterback. There is no reason for anyone to overlook North Dakota State.

Snyder Owns Openers
How good is Snyder in season-openers? Well, he has won 20 straight … So, he is pretty good in season-openers. The Wildcats have not dropped their opening game under Snyder since his first season in 1989. Snyder has had some close calls recently, beating Massachusetts, UCLA and Eastern Kentucky by single digits in his first three years back, but K-State clobbered Missouri State a year ago.

Depth Chart Update
The Wildcats won’t release their depth chart until tomorrow. So we all have to wait a day to learn who won the starting quarterback spot. (Update: Snyder announced Jake Waters will start against North Dakota State on Monday) But K-State’s game notes did indicate one position that was up for grabs might already be locked in. Glenn Gronkowski, the youngest brother from a family of skilled football players, may be the new starting fullback.

From the game notes: Glenn Gronkowski, who redshirted during the Wildcats’ Big 12 Championship run last season, is poised to start at fullback in 2013. Does that mean he has won the starting job? Maybe. Maybe not. But he seemed to be the favorite coming in, and he had a big spring game, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

– Former K-State quarterback Collin Klein talked with about the Wildcats’ current quarterback race. He thinks the competition may extend into the season. “It’s something, as a player, you can’t control and you’ve just got to do your best every day and let the coaches be coaches and make those decisions,” Klein said. “It’s not an easy or fun process at times, but it’s about what’s best for the team, and if that’s what they think is best for the team, that’s what you’ve got to do.”

– A good number of former K-State football players will make it on NFL rosters this season, but several were cut from their teams over the weekend. The list included fullback Braden Wilson with the Chiefs, running back Angelo Pease with the Packers, defensive end Meshak Williams with the Ravens and Nigel Malone with the Steelers. It wasn’t all bad news, though. Tysyn Hartman thrived in his last preseason game, leading the Chiefs with seven tackles and blocking a kick.

– K-State has a good roster coming back, but also lost a great deal. A look at how Snyder and K-State has performed under similar circumstances over the years.

One last look at K-State’s quarterback battle between Jake Waters and Daniel Sams.

– Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard in a while: Billy Cosh. The former K-State quarterback and son of former K-State defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is trying to reboot his career at Houston. He faces long odds, but his story is interesting.