OK, let's let the numbers do the talking four games into this 2010 football year.
Question: At this point in the season, is this 2010 Kansas State football team better than the one of 2009?
The 4-0 record compared to last year's 2-2 mark indicates … yes. And, the collection of teams this year – UCLA, Missouri State, Iowa State and Central Florida – would be considered by most as a tougher slate than last year – UMass, Louisiana, UCLA and Tennessee Tech So, right off the bat, this 2010 team seems to be the better of the two.
Advantage: 2010 - Let's continue.
The 2010 offense is averaging 30.8 points with its 378 yards per game; the 2009 offense averaged 23.5 points and 375 yards. Advantage: 2010
Through four 2009 starts, Carson Coffman had completed 58 percent of his passes with two TDs and four interceptions; in 2010, Coffman has been true on 61 percent of his passes with five scores and two interceptions. Coffman's quarterback rating of 159.8 ranks second high in the Big 12. Advantage: 2010
The 2010 defense has allowed 19.8 points on 349 yards per game; in 2009, K-State allowed just 16.0 points on 241 yards per game. Advantage: 2009
In 2010, K-State has forced seven turnovers – four interceptions and three fumble recoveries; last year the ‘Cats forced nine take-aways – four picks and five recoveries. Advantage: 2009
In 2009, Daniel Thomas was averaging 108 yards per game with four TDs; in 2010 his numbers are 157 yards (4th high in the nation) with six scores. Last year Thomas was averaging 4.8 yards per carry, compared to this year's 6.0. Advantage: 2010
Keithen Valentine averaged 7.7 yards per carry for 42 yards per game as Thomas' backup in 2009; this year William Powell is only averaging 33 yards per game, but on 11.2 yards per carry. Advantage: Tossup
In 2010, K-State has averaged 13.5 yards per reception with five scores; last year it was 12.1 yards per catch with three six-pointers. Advantage: 2010
Ryan Doerr is averaging 42.5 yards this year to last year's average of 40.1 yards. Advantage: 2010
Josh Cherry was 1-of-6 at this stage in 2009 compared to 3-of-3 in 2010. Advantage: 2010
K-State has been flagged 19 times for 167 yards this year, to last year's 30 for 281 yards. Advantage: 2010
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS:
This year it's 42 percent; last year it was 33 percent. Defensively, this year K-State is allowing conversions 38 percent of the time compared to last year's 32 percent. Advantage: Tossup
Brandon Banks averaged 39.4 yards last year with two scores; William Powell's average this season is 31.9 yards. Advantage: 2009
Plus, there is this factor over last year.
In 2010, Daniel Thomas has played himself into first-round NFL Draft status and Heisman Trophy conversation; Brandon has played himself into a conversation of "best d-ends" in the Big 12; and, Josh Cherry, including the closing month of last year, has established himself as one of the league's premier kickers.
Oh, and then there's the Bill Snyder factor. From year-one to year-two in 1989 and 1990, K-State went from one victory to five wins.
Upon his return to the Wildcat sideline last year, Snyder coached K-State to six wins and now is seemingly on track for a significant improvement in 2010. At least that's what the numbers are telling us four games into the season.