The Kansas State Wildcats come off of a big road win at Oklahoma and are now ranked 11th in the country, but they will probably have no cakewalk vs. Texas on Saturday.
The 11th ranked team in the country could be overvalued as a double-digit favorite vs. an excellent defense on Saturday when that staunch stop unit of the Texas Longhorns (3-4, 4-3 ATS) pay a visit to those 11th ranked Kansas State Wildcats (5-1, 4-2 ATS) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, KS at 12:00 Noon ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.
The posted line at Bet365 is Texas +10 for this contest at current odds of -110.
Undefeated in Big 12
Kansas State now leads the Big 12 at 3-0 as the only team without a conference loss, which rather remarkable at this fairly early stage, following its impressive 31-30 road win at Norman vs. the Oklahoma Sooners thanks to a missed Sooner extra point following the last score of the game. The Wildcats’ only loss this season was here at home vs. Auburn of the SEC.
Texas may be just 3-4 as college football picks, but its defense is greatly improved compared to last year in its first season under new defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, who came over from Louisville along with new head coach Charlie Strong. Then again there was probably only one direction to go after the Longhorns allowed 407.2 total yards per game last year.
Improved Defense Gives Texas a Chance
This season the Horns have cut that down to 346.9 total yards, ranking then a very good 36th in the country in total defense. And although Texas has a disappointing record, that defense held the likes of Baylor to 389 total yards and Oklahoma to an amazingly low 232 yards in a covering 31-26 defeat two weeks ago.
The good news for the Longhorns now is that the offense looked better last week, albeit vs. a mediocre defense in Iowa State, as Texas piled up 512 total yards with quarterback Tyrone Swoopes utilizing all of his assets, completing 24-of-36 passes for 321 yards and adding a team high 95 rushing yards on 14 scampers.
Swoopes has now improved his completion percentage to 61.0 percent for the year, and as long as he can maintain that, the dual threat will be difficult to defend with defenses forced to play honestly vs. a balances offensive attack.
Can Waters Do it Again?
Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters comes off of a typically efficient game in the upset at Oklahoma as he completed 15 of his 23 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns without an interception, and he also added 51 yards on 10 rushes. Waters is often referred to as more of a game manager than a top-tier quarterback despite his great winning percentage at Manhattan, and indeed, the Wildcats rank a rather ordinary 50th in the country in passing offense.
So while Waters is efficient in protecting the ball while always completing a high percentage of his passes, he rarely piles up huge yardage totals and he may not even be as efficient as usual here while facing great pressure from the excellent Texas pass defense that is ranked fifth in the entire country in pass defense allowing a mere 163.9 yards per game through the air on just 5.6 yards per pass attempt.
And that defense all starts up front with the Texas defensive line leading the Big 12 with its 24 sacks thus far, which should make Waters’ life quite uncomfortable in this game. And remember that Waters also leads the Cats with his mediocre 371 rushing yards, so the Kansas State running backs may not strike enough fear into that Texas frontline to slow down the pass rush.
Texas Snapped Series Losing Streak in 2013
Finally, the Longhorns got by the Wildcats 31-21 back home in Austin last season, beating Kansas State for the first time since 2003 and snapping a five-game Wildcats’ winning streak in the head-to-head series. Waters was a rather ordinary 19-for-30 for 275 yards in that contest vs. a much weaker Texas defense than he will be facing here.
We feel that Texas is nicely undervalued getting this many points in this spot, especially if Kansas State has any hangover whatsoever after the win in Norman, so take the big points in Manhattan, KS where even a major outright upset would be come as a shock to us on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Texas +10 (-110)