MANHATTAN, Kan. — What everyone thought would be a breakthrough season for Kansas State is threatening to turn into a nightmare.

The Wildcats, losers in three of their last four games, have plunged from No. 3 all the way out of the national rankings. There have been player suspensions, player defections and embarrassing player statements from a squad picked by league coaches to win the Big 12 Conference.

Coach Frank Martin, who signed a seven-figure contract extension after guiding the Wildcats to a team-record 29 wins last year, is placing all the blame on himself. He promises to do a better job and get Kansas State back on the same track that produced 72 wins his first three seasons.