College Football Pick
This is Kansas State's first game since losing the No. 1 spot two weeks ago at Baylor. They've had plenty of time to mull over the loss and should be ready to take on a Texas squad coming off a disappointing home loss to TCU. The Longhorns scored only 13 points and benched starting QB David Ash in the process. The Wildcats are scoring an average of 50 points per game at home this season, so something will have to change if Texas wants to stay in this game. KSU is -11 at 5 Dimes Sportsbook with an over/under at 63.5.
Kansas State has won the last four games against Texas, and they were underdogs in every one of those games. Last year was surprisingly a defensive battle with the Wildcats coming away victorious 17-13. The Longhorns actually outgained the Wildcats yardage wise by 189 yards, but were unable to capitalize. The amazing thing was that Collin Klein only finished with 87 total yards, 83 through the air and four on the ground. That's right, only four yards on 26 carries, his lowest rushing output ever as a starter. Texas was still having QB issues last year as Case McCoy replaced Ash in the second half of that game and neither could really do anything. Texas could actually move the ball on the ground with 191 rushing yards, but turnovers did them in, in the end.
McCoy has already been named starter for this weekend and will hope to give the Longhorns a boost on offense. He hasn't really had a true chance to do that yet this season as this will be his first start all year. It'll be likely that they ease him in and continue with a run-focused attack, much like last season's game. Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron will be the main benefactors as the two have combined for 1,216 yards this year. Bergeron is more of the short yardage back and leads the team with 16 TDs. Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley are the top receivers by far as the two have 1,472 yards and two TDs on the year.
The Longhorns have actually picked it up defensively in recent weeks, holding TCU to 20 points, Iowa State to seven and Texas Tech to 22. This is after giving up more than 48 points in three straight games, so it's a definite improvement. Whether they can stop Klein for a second straight season is another question.
Klein has been dealing with a minor injury the past couple weeks, but should be back to full strength in this one. He's struggled in the last two games, granted they were both on the road. He still threw three interceptions against Baylor, one of the worst pass defenses in the country. Even so, Klein has 34 total TDs this year compared to just six INTs. Klein's struggles fall right in line with John Hubert's as well, the starting running back. In the last two games, Hubert has not scored and only has 66 rushing yards. After moving the ball with such ease early in the season, things were a tad different just before the bye week.
Texas is 4-1 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record, but just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall. Kansas State is 6-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 17-5-1 ATS in their last 23 games overall. In this meeting, the road team is 5-2 ATS and underdog 7-0 ATS in their last seven games. Most of those being Wildcat wins as underdogs. The under has hit four straight times for the Longhorns, but the over has hit in eight straight home games for the Wildcats.
Handicapping games like this one can be tricky. On paper, this one belongs to Kansas State. They are the much better team and have proved it over and over again, all season long. But you have to also try to get into the heads of these teams. Texas has lost 4 straight in this series and the Seniors leaving this year would love nothing more than to beat Kansas State, something they have never done. Revenge times 4. You also have to wonder what impact losing to Baylor had on Kansas State, which knocked them from the National title picture. Can they get up for this one? Will they take their frustrations out on the Longhorns?
Those Variables are what will ultimately keep us off this game in the real world. Remove those variables, and this one would still be tough to play. Our model likes Kansas State by 15 to 17 points so that's the way we'll go with this one. But be careful. Kansas State -11