Week 14 - Texas at Kansas State

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Week 14 Fearless Prediction - Texas at Kansas State

Texas (8-3) at Kansas State (10-1) Dec. 1, 8:00, ABC

Here's The Deal: Kansas State will know exactly what it needs to do by the time the ball is kicked off at 8:00 EST. If Oklahoma beats TCU, then the Wildcats will have to beat Texas or else they'll end up having to roll the dice and hope to get an at-large BCS Bowl bid. However, if TCU beats the Sooners, then this game won't matter and K-State will have won the Big 12 title and will be off to the Fiesta Bowl.

It seems like three months since Kansas State clunked in a brutal loss to Baylor to end the national title dream and ruin Collin Klein's Heisman hopes. It was as bad as it gets, losing to a team that came into the game with the nation's worst defense and getting obliterated 52-24. Was that a blip and an aberration or did it expose the team as merely average?

Meanwhile, Texas is trying to right the ship after a horrible performance against TCU to end a resurgent run that looked like would lead to a showdown with the Wildcats for a piece of the Big 12 title on the line. Instead, the flaky team has continued to underachieve considering it has as much talent as anyone in the conference.

First the defense couldn't stop anyone, and now the offense can't seem to find itself with shaky quarterback play and not enough points flowing. The O is getting worse instead of better, but with one win over Kansas State, the Longhorns will be 9-3 with a ten-win season still in play.

Why Texas Might Win: In a lot of ways, Texas does what Kansas State needs to do, only better. The key to the KSU success is mistakes – the team doesn't make them. Texas, for all its faults, doesn't usually make the big errors. The four turnovers against TCU last week were hardly typical with just seven of the 12 turnovers on the season coming in just two games. The Longhorns don't commit penalties – getting flagged more than five times just twice all year – and they're great in terms of time of possession and third down conversions.

UT's biggest positive is the talent gap. The team might not always play up to the level it should, and it's been extremely underwhelming at times, but in terms of NFL skills, speed and athleticism, Texas has the ability and the potential to rise up and rock the Wildcats. Baylor might have explosion and the right scheme, but Texas has the talent and the ability to put up points in bunches if the Wildcats aren't sharp. However …

Why Kansas State Might Win: What has Texas done so far this year to suggest that it can rise to the occasion? It came up with a strong performance against Iowa State, and it was terrific offensively against Ole Miss and Oklahoma State, but there hasn't been a solid total team effort against a strong team so far this year. The talent is undeniable and the speed and athleticism are breathtaking, but the Longhorns haven't been able to prove they can come together like Kansas State has.

Arguably UT's biggest issues has been the run defense, which is getting rumbled on by anyone trying to pound away. It wasn't hard to slow down Wyoming or Texas Tech, but TCU rumbled for 217 yards and two scores last week to keep control of the game, making it four games in the last six the Longhorn defense has allowed 200 yards or more. The defensive tackles aren't holding up well, and while getting into the backfield isn't a problem, there have been major problems dealing with power. Kansas State is going to pound away.

What To Watch Out For: Is it possible for Klein to make one final push for the Heisman? It seems like it's a foregone conclusion Johnny Manziel is going to take the Heisman and Manti Te'o will finish second, but Klein is the one who gets the last say. If Oklahoma can beat TCU, then enough of a spotlight will be on this game to see what CK can do to add to the impressive stats. The K-State sports info department has done a nice job of pumping up the talking points: Klein is the only BCS conference quarterback to run for 20 scores and throw for ten touchdowns in multiple seasons, and against ranked teams he's 5-0 throwing 15 touchdown passes with no picks. However, he was shut down in last year's win over Longhorns finishing with just four rushing yards and throwing for just 83 yards and a score.

What Will Happen: Case McCoy isn't going to shine as a starter and David Ash will play a big role – it won't matter. Kansas State will come back roaring from its poor performance against Baylor with an air-tight game from Klein and an inspired day from the defense.

CFN Prediction: Kansas State 34 … Texas 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Kansas State -11.5 O/U: 63.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Crossfire Hurricane, 1 – Comic Book Men): 4.5 if Oklahoma beats TCU, 3 if TCU wins