Kansas State Wildcats (4-1 | 1-1) AT Kansas Jayhawks (2-3 | 0-1)
Dillons Sunflower Showdown
Memorial Stadium — Lawrence, Kan.
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 — 6:40 PM CST
I wish I could conjure up some kind of stirring prose to inspire us all on the eve of battle with hated poultry, but after last week's effort, I'm plumb out of inspiration.
Luckily, it's KU week, which means there isn't much to say.
KU sucks. Beat the Hawks. Go State.
Carson Coffman (60 of 98, 730 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT)
Aubrey Quarles (15 catches, 221 yards, 2 TD)
Daniel Thomas (127 carries, 691 yards, 6 TD)
David Garrett (30 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR)
Brandon Harold (27 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF, 1 FR)
Alex Hrebec (49 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 PBU)
William Powell (15 carries, 144 yards, 2 TD)
Terrance Sweeney (20 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 6 PBU, 1 FF)
Jordan Webb (73 of 121, 796 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT)
Daymond Patterson (28 catches, 259 yards, 2 TD)
James Sims (67 carries, 329 yards, 3 TD)
D.J. Beshears (27 carries, 115 yards, 2 TD, 33.4 yards per kick return, 1 TD)
Steven Johnson (44 tackles, 3.5 TFL)
Justin Springer (38 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU)
Johnathan Wilson (19 catches, 208 yards, 1 TD)
KSU (26 | -4) > KU (74)
KU (84) > KSU (107 | -4)
KSU (69 | -4) > KU (89)
KSU (67 | -17) > KU (100)
KU (95) > KSU (116 | -14)
Pass Efficiency Defense
KSU (14 | -9) > KU (101)
KU (75) > KSU (82 | -25)
KSU (66 | -27) > KU (72)
KSU (32 | -6) > KU (104)
KSU (87 | +7) > KU (107)
KSU (4 | +7) > KU (27)
KSU (48 | -14) > KU (106)
KSU (8 | +5) > KU (41)
KSU (44 | -16) > KU (75)
I know some people are on edge about tonight's match-up — me included — but when you look at the numbers, it really ain't that close. Numbers don't lie, and these numbers tell me that KU is bad.
The Jayhawks are sub-100 in scoring offense, pass efficiency defense, net punting, punt returns and turnover margin. So in other words: They can't score, they can't stop the pass, they can't win field position through punting or returning punts and they don't take care of the ball. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.
Yet the Jayhawks are 2-3. How so? Well, although I will give them some of the credit, it must be pointed out that New Mexico State easily is one of the five worst programs in the country right now, while Georgia Tech is underachieving massively this year.
Still, KU beat GT when no one thought they would, so that certainly counts for something. But that game gave rise to a myth that the Jayhawks are good at stopping the run. Well, not really — they're ranked 95th. Granted, that's marginally better than K-State's absolutely putrid 116th, but KU didn't play Taylor Martinez, either.
It's more accurate to say KU is good at stymieing, if not shutting down, one-dimensional offenses that throw ineffectively. Unfortunately, that describes the Wildcats pretty well. Daniel Thomas will have more success than he did either of the last two weeks, but probably not as much as he did in the first three weeks.
Unfortunately, James Sims likely will have a lot of success against us, too. I'm mildly thankful Kale Pick is out for this one, since he's a better runner than Jordan Webb and probably would eat us alive on the zone read. But Webb is a better passer, and I fear him finding Daymond Patterson open behind our safeties due to our poor pass rush.
Ultimately, though, K-State's chief worries in this game are intrinsic and intangible, not numeric. How will the team handle it's first bona-fide ass kicking of the season? How will it handle its first road game? How will it handle an in-state rival that, although not very talented or well-coached, will treat this game like its Super Bowl?
I think the Cats will come through with flying colors. Moreover, I think the loss of Brodrick Smith will open the door for a new talent to step through and become the next purple superstar. Ladies and gentlemen, I think this will be Chris Harper's breakout game. What better time than the battle for supremacy in his home state?
Prediction: Kansas State 35, Kansas 24
BracketCat's Projected Starters
QB: Carson Coffman
FB: Braden Wilson
RB: Daniel Thomas
KR: William Powell
PR: Tramaine Thompson
Elsewhere in the Big 12...
Saturday sees all four ranked Big 12 teams in action against unranked opponents, as well as the game to decide who will
be the Pac-10's 16th team not be the worst team in the Big 12 not named KU.
I've heard people picking Texas A&M over Missouri and I would like to ask them: Why? Besides the fact that Mizzou's defense appears legit and Texas A&M's appears questionable, there's that nagging little detail about turnover margin. The Tigers are 10th in the nation and the Aggies are 115th. aTm will cough it up four times and Mizzou'll roll.
I think we all know that Nebraska will take Texas apart at the seams, although I don't expect it to get as out of hand as NU fans might like because Texas at least has the athletes to match up with Nebraska better than K-State or Washington did. The Longhorns won't stop Taylor Martinez, but they'll at least make him have to pass, I suspect.
I jumped on the Baylor bandwagon last week and the Bears let me down once again. Meanwhile, Colorado at least has looked decent at home, if not dominant. I think the Buffs will have success running the ball against a relatively soft Baylor defense and that should be enough for a crucial win toward bowl eligibility.
Poor Iowa State. This week is the filling in their "Oreo of death" — a three-game stretch against teams that are or have been ranked in the top 10 this year, two of those on the road. This is gonna be ugly...
Finally, there's Oklahoma State, which hasn't won in Lubbock since Big 12 play began. That ignominious streak should end Saturday because Texas Tech just isn't a very well coached team, but due to the residue of explosive offense left behind by Mike Leach and OSU's shoddy defense, it will be a close shootout. Here's Bullets!
#21 Missouri at Texas A&M (FSN)
Tigers 20, Aggies 15
Texas at #5 Nebraska (ABC)
Cornhuskers 24, Longhorns 9
Baylor at Colorado (FCS)
, Bears 20
Iowa State at #6 Oklahoma (FSN)
Sooners 27, Cyclones 10
#20 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Cowboys 23, Red Raiders 21
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out — it's pretty cool.