If you haven’t heard me bragging about the bold predictions to-date, I’ll save you the blathering but encourage you to revisit last week’s discussion here. Point is, I’m 3/3 this year (Baylor score, Daniel Sams production against West Virginia, and Ryan Mueller being named the defensive player of the week in the Big 12) on my bold predictions. This week’s discussion is a little more macro. I’m not focusing on the expectations of one player or unit, I’m saying straight up: K-State won’t just beat Texas Tech; the Wildcats will dominate the Red Raiders to earn their first win over a ranked team and climb above .500 on the year.
It’s widely accepted that no one wants to play Kansas State right now – Texas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor are considered lucky to have already gotten the Wildcats out of the way when they did. Yet Texas Tech is still a three-point favorite, and for good reason: the game is in Lubbock; K-State’s conference victories – West Virginia and Iowa State – have come against teams with a combined 2-9 record in Big 12 play (hardly inspiring); and Texas Tech is averaging over 39 points per game using a couple redshirt freshman who should continue improving over time.
Doesn’t matter. K-State won’t merely cover the spread, and the Wildcats won’t eek out a victory. This game will be over at the end of the third quarter, just like it was against Iowa State. Against #10 Oklahoma and #14 Oklahoma State the past two weeks, Texas Tech scored 30 and 34 points, respectively. That total will be lower on Saturday. Texas Tech is a little gimmicky, and there’s finally enough tape out there to figure out how to stop it. And if anyone is capable of spotting how to exploit the weaknesses of a walk-on freshman quarterback, it’s a man named Bill Snyder. Weakness #1: the two-quarterback rotation Texas Tech has seen has thrown 14 interceptions so far this year.
K-State’s defense has been solid recently, and should continue to triumph. On the other side, K-State is ready to exploit Texas Tech’s defense. Tech gave up 526 yards to Oklahoma and 492 yards to Oklahoma State. It’s a team struggling with injuries, while K-State is the healthiest it’s been all year (although there’s no word on backup Robert Rose’s ankle and his outlook may not be promising). Jake Waters is finally playing with confidence for the first time this year, which means his throws are being made with an assertive quality necessary to make big plays. Yet Tech’s real weakness is on the ground – the Red Raiders are 105th in the nation in rushing yards allowed.
K-State will continue running a deliberate, plodding offense that occasionally takes shots downfield and gets Tyler Lockett into the end zone, but mostly runs the two quarterback and John Hubert while controlling the clock. If Texas Tech tries to overcompensate by forcing the tempo, expect more mistakes (be looking for another Ty Zimmerman interception Saturday). I’m looking for a three-score win on Saturday. Bold? Sure, but the way this team has been playing, no one should be surprised by an 18-point triumph.