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3-Point Stance

3-Point Stance Insta - Kansas State

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="4129" img_size="large"][vc_column_text]National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with consistent Power Five schools who can’t break through, reasons why Kansas State is the sleeper to watch in the Big 12, and some defensive player comps in the NFL Draft.

— Having a breakthrough season isn’t easy. In fact, it seems downright impossible these days for some pretty good programs. Here are a few that can’t seem to get it done.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes have been a model of consistency under Kirk Ferentz, now the longest-tenured head coach in college football. They have a clear philosophy on offense, recruit a specific type of guy, and don't really use the portal at all (they've signed zero players so far this cycle). They've gotten close a couple of times - most notably in 2015 when they finished the regular season undefeated only to lose to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. But without a transformational quarterback and more team speed, they'll never get over the hump.

Wisconsin

Iowa and Wisconsin are very similar in a lot of ways - both old school Big Ten football teams that prioritize the running game with physical offensive lines and have smart, stout defenses. But they've both had issues finding an elite quarterback. Graham Mertz was supposed to be that guy for the Badgers, but he simply hasn't lived up to his expectations coming out of high school yet. If he can play up to his borderline five-star ranking coming out of high school, the Badgers can absolutely breakthrough, but without that type of quarterback play, they're never going to be on Ohio State's level.

Utah

The Pac 12 has struggled to make it to the playoff in recent years, but some people believe that the Utes are the team that could do it in 2022. I think they're going to be really good, but it's an uphill climb out of that conference. For them to break through, they need to win a big matchup early to get on the radar - and they've got an opportunity for that when they open this season at Florida. They're the closest team on this list to being able to break through.

Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy's Cowboys have been one of the steadiest teams in the nation over the past 20 seasons. They've been to a bowl game every year since 2006, and have not had a losing season since his first year in Stillwater. But at the end of the day, they're still in Oklahoma's shadow. It would take a decade of consistently beating the Sooners and being in the mix for the CFP for Oklahoma State to get there, and I can't foresee that happening.

Texas A&M

The resources are there for Texas A&M to be a power player in football. And in many ways they already are - they landed one of the greatest recruiting classes of this century this season, and Jimbo Fisher has brought a level of consistency to the program that wasn't there under previous administrations. But as long as they share a division with Alabama and LSU, and as long as the Longhorns are playing football, they're always going to be second fiddle.

— Rounding out my look at the sleeper in each Power Five division is Kansas State in the Big 12. Here are five reasons to keep an eye on them.

1. Deuce Vaughn

The most electric player in the country lives in Manhattan, Kansas, and he's back for his junior season. The All-American isn't just flashy, either. He's super productive, finishing last season with the fourth-most yards from scrimmage in the nation.

2. Chris Klieman

The former national championship winner at North Dakota State is already making a mark with the Wildcats, and they've been better than most people have expected. It was always going to be a tough transition from FCS to the Power Five level, but he's been able to keep his tough-nosed brand of football and use that to his advantage. Ask anyone around the program, and they'll tell you that he's just the right fit.

3. Feliz Anudike-Uzomah

Felix Anudike-Uzomah had a huge redshirt freshman season last year, finishing with 11 sacks and 14.5 TFL's while also leading the nation in forced fumbles. He's got a lightning-fast first step and is as disruptive as they come.

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4. Defensive Transfers

The Wildcats lost three starters in their secondary from last season, but they've done a good job grabbing two guys who will play right away in Kobe Savage and Shawn Robinson. Will Honas is a really nice addition at middle linebacker as well.

5. Adrian Martinez

Yes, he was wildly consistent at Nebraska - alternating between making unbelievable plays and bone-headed turnovers. But he has talent and is a great schematic fit for this offense. I believe they should be able to reign in some of the turnovers with him and highlight his talent as a runner.

— And finally, I made some offensive comparisons on Tuesday for the NFL Draft prospects and here are some defensive ones.

DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan — Give me Jared Allen all day long with that motor and power.

DE Travon Walker, Georgia — He’s a physical freak at rush end so why not Jevon Kearse?

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon - He’s a tough one for me but I’m going with Leonard Floyd.

CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati — A tall corner with length he’s Richard Sherman to me.

CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU — I’ll stay in the LSU family and say Patrick Peterson.

LB Devin Lloyd, Utah — All day and every day he’s Darius Leonard.

S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame — Justin Simmons from the Broncos is the comparison here.

DT Jordan Davis, Georgia — Give me Vita Vea all day as a run stuffer.

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