The Kansas State Wildcats had their College Football Playoff hopes dashed in a blowout loss at TCU last game and they now visit a difficult venue for visitors in West Virginia.
The road team may be the ranked team, but it is in a difficult spot Thursday night when the 12th ranked Kansas State Wildcats (7-2, 2-1 away) pay a visit to the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4, 3-2 home) at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
The posted line at Pinnacle Sports has West Virginia as a home favorite of -2½ for this contest at current odds of -114.
Both Teams Lost Two Weeks Ago
Both of these teams come off of bye weeks and both also come off of losses, but the defeat by Kansas State was more detrimental and more deflating. That is because the Wildcats were basically knocked out of the College Football Playoff picture with their 41-20 loss at TCU two weeks ago in a game where a victory would have put them in a Playoff position, as evidenced by the fact that TCU jumped to the number four spot following that contest.
And not only are the Wildcats potentially deflated, but they are also visiting a difficult environment and facing a Mountaineer team anxious to bounce back after an uncharacteristically weak offensive performance as the 33-16 losing college football pick at Texas when facing a Longhorns’ defense that is quietly becoming one of the best in the country.
Wildcat Trouble Keeping up with Potent Offenses
The Wildcats have one of the best coaches in the country in the ageless Bill Snyder, who always squeezes 100 percent and then some from whatever talent he has at the ready. Thus Kansas State is a team that has done a lot of things well without really excelling in any one particular area, and that manifested itself in a 7-1 start with the only loss being by six points to Auburn of the SEC. However, lack of explosiveness caught up to Kansas State vs. TCU.
The Horned Frogs ran up 553 yards vs. what had been a fairly good Kansas State defense in that game and the Wildcats simply lack the firepower to keep up with those kinds of potent offenses as KSU has turned “winning ugly” into an art form under Snyder. Unfortunately the Cats are going up against a similarly potent offense here and we once again expect them to have difficulty keeping up with the scoring pace.
Only Team to Beat Baylor
Remember that West Virginia is the only team to beat the Baylor Bears this season, doing so right here in Morgantown. That speaks to both how difficult a venue this is for visiting teams, an environment that is even more difficult at night, and also to just how good the West Virginia offense is as the Mountaineers basically out-Baylored Baylor in that 41-27 triumph. The Mounties are 12th in the land in total offense at 502.2 yards per game and average 34.1 points.
However, do not lose site of the fact that West Virginia is also much improved defensively from teams of recent seasons. The Mountaineers are a respectable 57th in the country in total defense allowing only 385.2 yards per game, and they are 34th in passing defense at just 203.7 yards while ranking 21st in yards per pass allowed at just 6.1!
Mountaineers Play Good Teams Tough
Finally, the Mountaineers have usually been at their best vs. the better teams as they are now 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with winning records, and that does not include an opening week cover this season vs. Alabama, who oh by the way catapulted all the way to number one on the most recent College Football Playoff Rankings.
Look for West Virginia to rise up to the challenge again, this time in prime time on national television vs. a potentially demoralized 12th ranked Kansas State team in Morgantown on Thursday.
College Football Pick: West Virginia -2½ (-114)