Is this a bigger game for Kansas or for Kansas State? Each year of late, it seems this football rivalry might mean more for one team versus the other. Last year, KSU's win in Manhattan provided momentum for Bill Snyder's effort to return the Wildcat program to prominence. This year, it's Kansas who appears to need this game more--to convince a doubting fan base that Turner Gill CAN turn around a reeling program and to convince in-state recruits that Lawrence should be their destination.
Pluses for Kansas:
- The Jayhawk defense has been far better against the run than the pass.
- Conversely, KSU has struggled against the run which could mean a big game for James Sims and Kansas' other running backs.
- Kansas has won the last four home games against the Wildcats.
- The Jayhawks have had 10 days to prep for this game.
- The last time Snyder walked the sidelines at Memorial Stadium, Kansas won 31-28--a night game which ended KSU's 11-game winning streak against KU.
Pluses for Kansas State:
- Snyder is 14-4 against Kansas.
- There has far less "talk" coming out of Manhattan this week versus some of the bulletin board material uttered by Gill and the Jayhawks.
- Frank Thomas has had back-to-back sub-par, for him, games. Look for him to be focused and motivated tonight.
Is Kansas State's confidence shaken by last Thursday's beat-down by Nebraska? Which Kansas team will show up tonight--the one which beat top 15 opponent Georgia Tech, or the one who lost by 48 on the road at Baylor?
This game is hard to predict given the above questions. My heart is telling me that Kansas will show up, play hard, and do a reasonable job of containing Thomas. My head is telling me "don't pick the Jayhawks."
Final score: Kansas - 24, Kansas State - 20.