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Kicking the Tires: KU

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This week, two struggling teams get together in Lawrence to decide Sunflower State supremacy.  Both our K-State Wildcats and KU have lost two straight games coming into this weekend, so somehow or other a streak is going to be broken.  Here is a very quick and dirty preview of the game.

K-State

Players to Watch

Passing: Josh Freeman, 160/251, 2,224 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs, 278 yards/game

Rushing: Logan Dold, 66 carries, 295 yards, 3 TDs, 4.5 yards/carry

Receiving: Brandon Banks, 39 receptions, 813 yards, 7 TDs, 101.6 yards/game

KU

Players to Watch

Passing: Todd Reesing, 211/306, 2,476 yards, 19 TDs, 8 INTs, 309.5 yards/game

Rushing: Jake Sharp, 101 carries, 466 yards, 5 TDs, 4.6 yards/carry

Receiving: Kerry Meier, 63 receptions, 702 yards, 4 TDs, 87.8 yards per game

Team Statistics (courtesy NCAAFootball.com)

Rushing Offense

K-State: 69th (134.25 yards/game)

KU: 75th (129.88 yards/game)

Passing Offense

K-State: 13th (291.9 yards/game)

KU: 8th (312.8 yards/game)

Scoring Offense

K-State: 13th (38.5 points/game)

KU: 32nd (32.25 points/game)

Total Offense

K-State: 27th (426.13 yards/game)

KU: 17th (442.63 yards/game)

Rushing Defense

K-State: 105th (200.9 yards/game)

KU: 31st (113.3 yards/game)

Passing Defense

K-State: 93rd (240.75 yards/game)

KU: 111th (271.8 yards/game)

Scoring Defense

K-State: 98th (31.4 points/game)

KU: 76th (27.0 points/game)

Total Defense

K-State: 109th (441.63 yards/game)

KU: 88th (384.63 yards/game)

Stop me if you've heard this before: two Big 12 schools with good passing offense, mediocre (OK, really bad) rushing offenses, and really bad defenses going at it?

Inasmuch as we've now played as many conference games as non-conference games, I want to stop at this point in the season to make note of a disturbing statistical regression.  Here are the numbers from the "Kicking the Tires" post I did in advance of the Texas Tech game (note: I'm substituting the "Passing Efficiency Defense" statistic because that's what I used before the Tech game).

Rushing Offense before Tech: 74th nationally, 142.5 yards/game (currently 69th, 134.25 yards/game)

Passing Offense before Tech: 12th nationally, 298.8 yards/game (currently 13th, 291.9 yards/game)

Scoring Offense before Tech: 8th nationally, 47 points/game (currently 13th, 38.5 points/game)

Total Offense before Tech: 23rd nationally, 441.25 yards/game (currently 27th, 426.13 yards/game)

Rushing Defense before Tech: 104th nationally, 206.5 yards/game (currently 105th, 200.9 yards/game)

Passing Efficiency Defense before/after Tech: 43rd nationally, 109.95 rating / 86th nationally, 133.10 rating

Scoring Defense before Tech: 57th nationally, 22.8 points/game (currently 98th, 31.4 points/game)

Total Defense before Tech: 77th nationally, 370.5 yards/game (currently 109th, 441.63 yards/game)

My God, look at those "Scoring Defense" and "Total Defense" numbers.  Also note we've lost nearly nine points off our scoring average in only four games, and that includes a 44-point game at Texas A&M and a 35-point game against OU.

Anyway, let's get back to this game.  If this game isn't a shootout, I'll be certifiably surprised.  We pit the 13th and 8th ranked passing offenses against the 111th and 93rd ranked passing defenses.  Strange as this may sound, I think those numbers make it imperative for both sides to establish something resembling a running game early, unless their QBs are just having wild, Colt McCoy - like success throwing the ball.  It might be wise of each team to keep the other squad's offense off the field as much as possible, because it doesn't really look like either defense is going to stop anyone.

Suffice it to say, a lot of points should be scored in this one.  Let's move on and take a look at the rest of the Big 12 (click on the jump).  We'll skip the YouTube and/or picture funnies because we've already had plenty of that this week.

Colorado @ Texas A&M (1:00 p.m.): An interesting matchup at the bottom of the conference between a team that can't score and a team that is finding its stride.  Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson has looked a lot better the last few weeks, culminating in his performance last week as A&M notched its first conference win against (wait for it)...Iowa State.  I think they get No. 2 this weekend as Colorado sinks into full-blown despondency.

Sherman's March 34, Fuffaloes 17

Missouri @ Baylor (2:00 p.m.): Mizzou got back on track in a big way with last week's 58-0 win over Colorado, while Baylor just missed on a chance to take down Nebraska in Lincoln.  This week, Robert Griffin will again give BU's opponent more trouble than it would like, but the Bears defense is going to be overwhelmed by the Daniel/Coffman/Maclin Express.

Tony Truman the Tiger 52, Baptists 21

Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (2:30 p.m., ABC): The fact that this game was selected by ABC for telecast shows how incredibly awful this week's Big 12 matchups are (the same could probably be said for K-State/KU).  Okie State has to be smarting from a heartbreaking loss to Texas last week, and it will be interesting to see how the Pokes regroup.  If Gundy rallies his young men toward a late-season run, it will be over before it begins.  I think the Pokes will have a bit of a hangover, but will wake up and roll through ISU for about 300 yards rushing en route to, well, a rout.

Gundy's Men 42, Trojan Wannabes 10

Texas @ Texas Tech (7:00 p.m., ABC): Ahh, yes, finally.  The big one.  College GameDay, Built by Buddy Holly, in Lubbock, Texas (as long as Chris, Lee and Kirk don't get lost on the way).  Someone like me would never overestimate the value of a sporting, but I have to believe Mike Leach is on trial Saturday night at Jones AT&T Stadium.  In eight seasons at Tech, his teams have put up record numbers of yards, points, and just about everything else, but they have never even won the Big 12 South.  While winning Saturday night doesn't mean they will win the South with contests against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma looming, it would be a huge step for this program.  It would also mean the inevitable end of Lubbock as we know it, as I have no doubt a victory would spark a riot among what is sure to be a group of well-oiled Tech fans.  Alas, Texas seems to be on a mission this season.

Mack Attack 38, Pirates 31