The Big 12 remains a mystery as it’s unknown which teams are actually good and these two may be the biggest unknowns. Texas gave up 51 points in its opener, yet has looked like a much different team since then. With the Schedule about to pick up for the Longhorns, they were -3.5 point favorites against Kansas State as seen on Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
After this Game, Texas gets a Schedule of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, so this one is close to a must-win or a 2-5 record could be on the horizon. The Longhorns almost took down USC a couple weeks ago and then just handled Iowa State in a tough spot, limiting a solid Cyclones offense to seven points. Kansas State has similarly been unpredictable, but that’s mainly due to Schedule. The Wildcats fell against a Vandy team that’s gotten blown up by the SEC and then they slowly scraped past Baylor last week.
This Game should answer a few questions about each team, but it also may not answer anything. It was a defensive battle the last time these teams met and that could be the case again. The Wildcats had a better rushing attack and outgained the Longhorns 234 to 122 on the ground and that led to a 24-21 win. Jesse Ertz remains a bigger factor on the ground, while Shane Buechele was competent in the passing Game completing 17-of-24 passes for 222 yards and a couple touchdowns.
The big thing will be to see just how different the Texas defense is. If they clamp down on this K State offense, it would be yet another impressive showing. That should be possible because this KSU offense still lacks explosiveness. Ertz is mediocre at best passing the ball (52.4 completion rate), while he leads the team in rushing with 332 yards. Along with running back Alex Barnes, the only time these guys have been stopped was at Vandy. If Texas can do the same, that should equal a win. But if the Wildcats can run as well as they did last year, that should at least keep the Game close.
Then again, the Longhorns don’t have the greatest offense and Bill Snyder’s defenses are always one of the better groups in the conference. OUtside of a 74-yard run Baylor had last week, the Bears managed just 10 rushing yards against the Wildcats. If K State can stop the Texas ground Game, that’d be a starting point to getting a road upset.
As seen last week, this Texas offense has plenty of questions. The Longhorns couldn’t do much against an average Iowa State defense as they ran for just 2.7 yards per carry and Buechele couldn’t get much going through the air. Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter will see the ball a ton, but neither one has done much in the two Texas losses. If KSU’s defense stops Texas from finding open holes, it’ll be tough for the Longhorns to move the ball, similar to last week against ISU. The Wildcats don’t have many relevant trends, while the Longhorns are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record (that includes covers in the last two weeks).
Our Pick – Kansas State +6.5