Are you ready for a little Thursday night Big 12 football? We've got a bigtime matchup in Morgantown that highlights a pretty full slate of games this week in the conference:
#12 Kansas State @ West Virginia
Milan Puskar Stadium (Morgantown, WV)
6:00 PM CT (Thu.), FS1
Line: West Virginia (-2.5)
Need proof that Morgantown is a tough place to win? Unranked West Virginia is actually a favorite against 12th ranked K-State in a nationally televised Thursday night affair. This is a critical game for both teams in the bowl pecking order and it's especially important for Kansas State to remain a part of the Big 12 title discussion. The forecast in Morgantown has the kickoff temperature in the mid-20s so this game will likely favor the team that can control the line of scrimmage in the running game. This would seem to play right into the Wildcats' hands, especially against a West Virginia defense that has had more success defending spread offenses than teams that will just run right at you the way K-State will look to. If the Wildcats can be successful in controlling the game on the ground, it will open up shots downfield for Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. If WVU can force K-State into 3rd and long situations consistently, they'll have opportunities to be aggressive and come after Jake Waters. As for the Mountaineer offense, a unit that was once a Top 5 passing offense nationally has fallen on some tough times. The turnover bug has been a problem all season for WVU but especially in the last 2 weeks in losses to TCU and Texas. A good sign for Dana Holgorsen though was the reemergence of Kevin White in the game in Austin. White had 16 catches for 132 yards (oddly that was his third game in six weeks with exactly 132 receiving yards) and should have favorable matchups against the K-State secondary. In a big spotlight game in less than favorable weather conditions, I like the team that tends to execute on a more regular basis. To me, that is the Snydercats so we'll take K-State on the road in a back and forth affair. If you missed my fan guide yesterday (I know...shamless self promotion), I told you why this would be a good outcome for Baylor fans. Really though, I just picked K-State as an excuse to bring this GIF back because Bill Snyder is pretty great.
Prediction: Kansas State 31 West Virginia 27
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Kansas @ #21 Oklahoma
Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, OK)
11:00 AM CT, FS1
Line: Oklahoma (-25)
Oklahoma returns to the scene of the crime that was the 48-14 Baylor beatdown as it takes on an improving Kansas squad. The Sooners last week found the most effective medicine known to cure their offensive issues without Trevor Knight: Texas Tech's run defense. Backup QB Cody Thomas got off to an extremely rough start but once OU established dominance on the ground, the Sooners only threw the ball three times in the second half as the running game chewed up over 300 yards in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Both Thomas and super freshman Samaje Perine went over 100 yards on the ground to pace the Sooners, and I would expect a very similar gameplan this weekend against the Jayhawks. As you are probably well aware, Kansas came up 4 points short of pulling off the biggest upset of the season in college football as they took TCU right down to the wire. It's clear that interim coach Clint Bowen has really lit a fire under this KU team and I would honestly be surprised if he doesn't have the interim tag removed once the season is over. The offense has been a lot more crisp since Bowen made a midseason QB change to make Michael Cummings the starter and Ben Heeney has been the lynchpin to a very underrated Jayhawk defense. The matchup that should separate these two teams is the Oklahoma defensive front against Kansas' leaky offensive line. Charles Tapper, Geneo Grissom and crew should have a big day up front for the Sooners. I do think that this game has the potential to get away from Kansas on the road, especially coming off of the emotional loss last week, but I think they hang around long enough to make it respectable. The outcome is never in doubt for the Sooners but I've got Kansas taking the points.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35 Kansas 13
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Texas Tech @ Iowa State
Jack Trice Stadium (Ames, IA)
2:30 PM CT, FSN
Line: Iowa State (-1.5)
These are possibly the two worst teams in the conference and neither team is headed to a bowl game. Rather than bore you with this analysis, you should watch the Baylor Athletics hype video instead and get some #turnt in your system. For what it's worth, I think Tech wins a close, high-scoring game in a battle of two defenses that are NSFW.
Prediction: Texas Tech 38 Iowa State 36