Week 7 - Kansas State at Iowa State

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - Kansas State at Iowa State

Kansas State (5-0) at Iowa State (4-1) Oct. 13, 12:00, FX

Here's The Deal: Is Iowa State any good? The Cyclones are 4-1 after a decisive road victory coming off a loss to Texas Tech, and now it's time to make a big step forward if they plan on making any real noise in the Big 12 pecking order. The defense is terrific, the offense is good enough when it has to be, and the coaching has been outstanding for a team full of good, sound veterans. No, Iowa State isn't going to win the conference title, but with a win over the Wildcats it can suddenly become an interesting team to watch out for with home games against Baylor and Oklahoma coming after a trip to Oklahoma State.

Is Kansas State any good? It's certainly getting the respect in the rankings and blasting away at Oklahoma and bowling over Miami was impressive, but now it's time to sustain the production. Everything is working perfectly with Collin Klein playing at a Heisman level, the special teams fantastic and the defense holding everyone under wraps on the way to easy wins over everyone but the Sooners. With a trip to West Virginia next week, can the Wildcats avoid a letdown? There isn't a game left on the schedule KSU can't win, but if the running game breaks down and the turnovers start to come, the formula won't work against a team that's good at rising up against good teams looking down the road.

KSU and ISU are roughly 350 miles apart and have met 95 times with the Wildcats winning the last four games.

Why Kansas State Might Win: To have a shot at breaking through the Kansas State formula you have to win the turnover battle. The Wildcats almost never, ever screw up with just three turnovers this season – with two of them coming against North Texas, and a ridiculously low nine penalties. Only one other team, Central Michigan with 13, has committed fewer than 20 penalties on the year. Iowa State turned the ball over too often giving up nine fumbles and four picks so far; Kansas State will almost surely capitalize on any turnover because that's what Kansas State does. If the Wildcats get any sort of a decent lead, Iowa State doesn't have the offense built to make a big comeback.

Why Iowa State Might Win: To have a shot at breaking through the Kansas State formula you have to be able to get the defense off the field. Winning third down is a must, and Iowa State can do that ranking 19th in the nation allowing offenses to convert just 31.4% of their third down opportunities. Besides the turnover problem, the Cyclones are good at not shooting themselves in the foot committing just 22 penalties, and outside of problems on kickoff returns, they have the special teams that can do a lot of the same things Kansas State does. The punt return game is fantastic, the punting game is elite, and the kicking game is just good enough to come through when needed.

What To Watch Out For: The Iowa State linebackers and Collin Klein meet again. Cyclone star Jake Knott leads the team in tackles after making 13 stops in the win over TCU, and while he has been a tackling machine over the last two seasons, he had one of his weakest games in last year's loss to Kansas State making just three tackles with a tackle for loss. His running mate, A.J. Klein, also made just three stops in last year's game but came up with ten tackles in the loss two seasons ago. These two have seen and done it all, and this week they need to be dialed in to Klein, who struggled a bit for him in last year's game completing just 7-of-15 passes for 158 yards and a score, but he ran for 86 yards and a touchdown. All three players have been fantastic so far, and all three will be in on play after play this week.

What Will Happen: Iowa State will give Kansas State a big push. The Cyclones are just tough enough at linebacker and just strong enough offensively at home to have a shot at the upset, but the Wildcats are too good and too sound not to come through with a tough win. Iowa State won't have the offense to make up the stagger in the fourth quarter, but the outcome will still be in doubt late.

CFN Prediction: Kansas State 31 … Iowa State 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Kansas State -6 O/U: 49
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 3.5