Pick – Analysis
This is sort of the Big 12 title Game, although TCU would beg to differ. These two teams and TCU all have 7-1 records in the conference, two Games above Oklahoma. It’s still unclear what will happen to the winner of this one. Baylor could move above TCU in the College Football Playoff rankings, while a Kansas State win will likely leave TCU in the top Four.
The reason it took so long for the line to come out is the status of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. He suffered a concussion in last weekend’s 48-46 win over Texas Tech. The Scorewas closer than the Game was, but Baylor’s defense did struggle throughout. Meanwhile, Petty said on Monday that he will play in this Game, although he didn’t pass concussion tests at that time.
Baylor’s only loss on the year was at West Virginia. A win here would give them wins over TCU, Kansas State and at Oklahoma. It’ll be interesting to see if their lack of a non-Conference Schedule will hurt the Bears in the final rankings.
Kansas State still has a shot of playing in one of the big six bowls even with two losses. Both of their losses are respectable, losing at TCU, and a ‘should’ve won’ Game against Auburn, in which KSU’s kicker missed three field goals. Even with Baylor at home, you can never really count out a solid Kansas State team coached by Bill Snyder.
The Bears won last year’s matchup 35-25 on the road, even though the teams were almost even on yards. KSU was a different team last season and not as good, so it’s hard to look at that. Jake Waters only passed for 77 yards in that Game as he split time with Daniel Sams at quarterback.
If Bryce Petty can’t go for Baylor, Seth Russell does have experience this season, so that’s a bonus, although it was early on against extremely weak teams. He finished 8-for-17 against Texas Tech with one touchdown. No matter who’s at quarterback, the Baylor running Game is still a huge threat. Shock Linwood leads the way with 1,135 yards and 15 touchdowns for the season. Petty (25 TDs, 5 INTs) has a number of guys to work with in the passing Game and spreads the ball well to Corey Coleman, KD Cannon and Antwan Goodley.
Kansas State has a good defense, but they have been susceptible to better teams. KSU allowed 41 points in their road Game at TCU about a month ago. Baylor’s defense is kind of the same, although they did not look all that great against Texas Tech. The Bears have allowed 40-plus points in three Big 12 Games this year.
Jake Waters leads KSU as a typical QB you’d come to expect from this team. He’s been solid passing the ball, completing 65% of his passes for 18 TDs and five INTs, but can also move on the ground. He hasn’t been as great of a runner since the Oklahoma Game when he took a big hit. Even though he says he’s fine, Waters has not reached more than 34 yards rushing in five straight Games. In the passing Game, Tyler Lockett (1,193 yards, 8 TDs) and Curry Sexton (940 yards, 5 TDs) are one of the best duos in the country. Charles Jones and DeMarcus Robinson split carries out of the backfield, but neither is a Game breaker.
The Wildcats are 6-1 ATS in their last seven Games following a straight-up win, 21-6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 13-5-1 ATS In their last 19 road Games. The Bears are a solid 23-5 ATS in their last 28 home Games, but haven’t been as great overall this season at 6-4-1 ATS.
With no line currently posted and with the questionable status of Petty, there’s no way we can make a pick on this Game here on Wednesday when this is being written. For now, we can tell you that we could make a case for either side being favored by a field goal, depending on the parameters and number of Games back we decided to look at. The likey number, with Petty in the lineup, would be Baylor by 3.
We lean towards Kansas State to pull the upset in this one.