When the season started, this game loomed as a “gotcha” game for Kansas—a rivalry game sandwiched between a big road contest in Lubbock and a home game against the betting favorite in the Big 12 North—Nebraska. Instead, this game will pit the unexpected Big 12 North leader,
The betting line is
Overall Series Record: KU-65, KSU-35, 5 ties.
Offense: Advantage –
I'm giving the Jayhawks the benefit of the doubt on this one. Through the first five games of the season, KU was a national leader in points scored and passing offense, and their rushing attack wasn’t too shabby either, even without Jake Sharp. Since then, the offense has sputtered—too many turnovers, dropped passes and an offensive line which, even in the head coach’s words, has “regressed.” Kansas State, on the other hand, has found a rhythm on offense, featuring the conference’s leading rushing attack with Daniel Thomas (902 yards and 10 TDs this season), and came back last week against a stout Oklahoma defense. (The Wildcats were within five points at one point in the fourth quarter.)
It would be easy to say KSU has the advantage here. But, I like the set jaw I’ve seen on Todd Reesing this week. After witnessing what he’s done the past three seasons, it’s hard to suggest he won’t come back and lead a potent attack this week.
Defense: Advantage – Push.
I’m tempted to go with KU given the improved performances of the past three weeks. The most disturbing thing, though, is how Texas Tech gashed
The Wildcats gave up 458 yards last week at OU and didn’t have a sack or a turnover—something which will be crucial for this unit on Saturday.
Special Teams: Advantage –
Can you say “Brandon Banks?” Where does Bill Snyder find these kids on an all-too-regular basis? I will be amazed if Banks does not run one back against a Kansas kick coverage team which has too often relied upon kicker Jacob Branstetter to make a tackle at midfield on a return.
Coaching: Advantage –
My observation is that Bill Snyder is doing his best coaching job in years—it’s almost as if part of what motivated him to come back was to make up for the final two years on his previous Kansas State career when his teams went 4-7 and 5-6. Mangino, on the other hand, is suffering through three straight losses with a team which had high expectations.
Intangibles: Advantage –
KSU has lost three straight to