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Kansas State

vs.

West Virginia

Big 12 Football Pick

10/20/12

Not many expected such a good start to the season for Kansas State. They are blowing out teams at home and winning important games on the road. This past weekend the Wildcats fought off Iowa State to go 6-0. They beat Oklahoma a few weeks back in Norman as 14-point underdogs. West Virginia was in the same class until their most recent game in which they were blown out in. Texas Tech had a nice welcome to the Big 12 message for the Mountaineers in a 49-14 win.

No one thought it was possible, but the Red Raiders held Geno Smith and company in check for most of the game. Coming into the game, Smith was completing over 80 percent of his passes and averaged five touchdowns per game. Against Texas Tech he completed just 52.7% of his passes and had only one TD. Kansas State has faced numerous tasks defensively this season with the toughest one being Landry Jones and the Sooners. While Jones threw for 298 yards in that game, the Wildcats played tough run defense and held them to key field goals early in the game. It looks like Texas Tech figured out how to stop West Virginia, but keeping them down for two straight games might be a little harder.

Andrew Buie still ran for 71 yards against the Red Raiders but had over 200 the week before. With a deadly passing game, Buie has run well with 504 rushing yards and 231 receiving yards to go with five touchdowns this year. The Wildcats have a great defensive line and will likely use more DBs to stop Smith. Not surprisingly against Texas Tech, wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin had their worst games of the season. The two have combined for 22 of Smith's 25 touchdowns this year. To stop them, K State will try to keep the WRs in front of them, especially with Austin who gets a lot of screens.

West Virginia's defense has looked bad this year and could be one of the worst in the Big 12 (along the lines of Kansas and Baylor). In Big 12 play, the Mountaineers have given up at least 48 points in every game. They gave up 499 passing yards to Seth Doege last week, his previous season high was 331.

Luckily for them, Collin Klein's strong suit is his running. The quarterback already has 98 carries for 510 yards and 10 TDs. His arm has improved this year though, completing close to 67% of his passes for 1,074 yards, seven TDs and only two interceptions. With defensive eyes on Klein, running back John Hubert has amassed 606 yards and eight TDs as well. West Virginia hasn't faced a balanced attack quite like this which may mean trouble for them once again.

Like with most Mountaineers games, expect plenty of points in this one, but that still doesn't mean the over is a lock as we saw last week when they only managed 14 points. WVU is a disappointing 2-4 ATS this year while Kansas State is 4-1-1 ATS. The Wildcats are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight road games while the Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. This is the first meeting between the two schools.

Any time a "good" football team is blown out and humiliated, you expect them to bounce back in a big way the following week. We think West Virginia is "good". How good, we simply don't know yet, based on who they have played. On the flip side, Kansas State has beaten Oklahoma, Miami and a very good Iowa State team. While both of these teams have been impressive offensively, only one of them has been equally impressive defensively, and that's Kansas State. Their 20.7 yards per point number on defense is good for 11th in the nation while West Virginia's 13.2 places them 102nd. Oh, and by the way, Kansas State's 10.4 on offense is good for 5th in the nation.

We expect a much better effort from West Virginia, plus the home field advantage. However, we think Kansas State is the better team and ends up on top and still undefeated when the dust clears. We'll take what we feel is the better team, getting points here as our model predicts a comfortable win. Kansas State +3

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