Two teams that are seemingly heading in opposite directions meet up in Austin when the Kansas State Wildcats pay a visit to those Texas Longhorns in Big 12 action Saturday afternoon.
Two teams whose last game was against the 17th ranked Oklahoma Sooners with very different results meet in Big 12 play on Saturday when the Kansas State Wildcats (3-3, 3-3 ATS), losers of three straight games following a 3-0 start, pay a visit to the Texas Longhorns (2-4, 2-4 ATS), who are coming off of a bye week, at Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX at 12:00 Noon ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Texas as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -6½ with odds of -116.
Transitive Property at Work
Obviously the transitive property does not always apply to handicapping sporting events, but nonetheless it is very interesting to note the most recent performances of these teams vs. the very same team, the now 17th ranked Sooners of Oklahoma. Texas took on the Sooners on a neutral field at the Cotton Bowl two weeks ago, and the Longhorns posted their biggest win since Charlie Strong took over as coach, pulling the 24-17 upset as 16-point underdogs.
Then, Kansas State took on Oklahoma last week at home in Manhattan, and the Wildcats were the embarrassing 55-0 losing college football picks despite being just 3½-point underdogs. Unbelievably, the Wildcats accumulated a scant 110 total yards in that defeat with quarterback Joe Hubener completing just 4-of-14 passes for 39 yards, while their defense allowed 568 yards to Oklahoma!
Two Weeks to Prepare
Texas has also had two weeks to prepare for this game with a bye week following its upset win, which only improved the Longhorns to 2-4. They did also have some narrow losses vs. nice competition though, losing 45-44 to 20th ranked California in a game that would have gone to overtime if not for a missed extra point after the final Texas score with one minute left, and then there was a 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State on a Cowboys’ field goal with six seconds remaining.
So it was nice for the Longhorns to finally get a win over a quality opponent (their first win was over Rice) and the play of the defense was sensational, holding the Oklahoma offense, the same offense that piled up 568 yards on Kansas State last week, to just 278 total yards.
Meanwhile Texas ran for 313 yards on 5.4 yards per rush offensively, led by 117 rushing yards from D'Onta Foreman and 115 by dual threat quarterback Jerrod Heard, who still leads the team with 433 rushing yards for the season. That formula of great running and great defense will win you a lot of football games, and it is something the Longhorns are very capable of repeating here.
Lost a Lot Since Last Season
Kansas State has been a somewhat underrated program in recent years, but this figured to be a rebuilding year for the Wildcats after losing their starting quarterback, top two receivers including the mercurial Tyler Lockett and much of the defensive front seven including leading tackler Jonathan Truman from last season’s squad. Furthermore the new starting quarterback Hubener had never started a football game at any level at quarterback before this year.
Yet Kansas State still got off to a 3-0 start, but it was Fool’s Gold as the wins were over South Dakota of the FCS, Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech, with the latter Conference USA team taking the Wildcats to overtime. The Cats have not won since while going 0-3 inside the Big 12, and they are dead last in the conference averaging 326.7 yards offensively during league play.
Plus, a Kansas State defense that has usually been stout under ageless head coach Bill Snyder has been anything but this year, ranking 91st in the country in total defense surrendering 424.5 yards per game and 87th in scoring defense yielding 29.8 points per contest.
Success off the Bye
Finally, Texas has a recent history of doing well off of a bye week as the Longhorns are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 occurrences. Meanwhile, Kansas State is 1-4 ATS in its last five road games vs. teams with losing home records.
Look for Texas to build on the biggest win in the Charlie Strong era here, especially with the extra week to prepare, and for Kansas State to continue its freefall since a 3-0 start, so give the points in Austin on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Texas -6½ (-116)