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Round table: Lion's den?

The 'Cats are going to win in Stillwater? Who said that?


This week, someone dipped their cup in that West Virginia moonshine as there's a split among the board with regard to K-State's shot at winning in Stillwater.

We begin ...

A simple one to start: Thanks to Oklahoma State's DERP in Morgantown, this week just became a "lion's den" for Kansas State. Right?

Derek: I've never bought into the whole "THEY LOST LAST WEEK! THEY GON' BE ANGRY!" argument. We thought the same thing about West Virginia last year. OSU will probably be more focused than they were last week, but they're still the same team they were two weeks ago. K-State should be preparing for the best OSU can bring either way.

Jon: Not really. Had this been a case of West Virginia exposing a glaring but correctable flaw in the Cowboy offense or defense, maybe... but J.W. Walsh's arm isn't correctable, so that's not an issue.

Ahearn Alley: I'm going to disagree with my respected colleagues a bit here. The Cowboys are much better than they showed last week, and that loss should definitely have an effect on their intensity Saturday. The fact that the game is at Stillwater is really the more scary part to me. They seem to be much better there.

TB: Jon and I are on the same page here. I'll just add that if it takes a loss like that to help you focus, you have more fundamental issues.

Kitchen: Anger is the third step to dealing with grief. If a team is stuck on Step 3, six days after, it has problems. I do think it is a time to refocus, and I do believe Oklahoma State is much closer to being a Top 15 team than what we saw last Saturday. So, yeah, there's a lion in there. I just think it'll play with its prey to the point of death -- just because it can -- more than go straight for ferociously biting the head off.

Did the Mountaineers actually expose the Cowboys in some fashion? Did you see or hear anything afterward that would make you think K-State could take advantage of some of the same things WVU did?

Derek: WVU stopped the run and pressured Walsh. If K-State can do that and force some turnovers, there might be some hope. That's a big "if" though.

Jon: Oh, how interesting you bring this up. Yes, West Virginia exposed Walsh's noodle arm. Get Oklahoma State into a position where they're going to have to pass consistently, the Cats will gain a double-edged advantage -- they'll get OSU off the run, which is K-State's defensive weakness, and into OSU's offensive Achilles.

AA: I didn't get to watch much of that game, but I like what Jon has to say here. Then again, I have very little confidence in this defense's ability to stop the run, so let's not get too optimistic yet. Plus, the way some of K-State's corners play D (*cough* Dorrian Roberts *cough*) Walsh won't have any problems making short throws and picking up yards.

TB: So OSU's weakness is that its quarterback doesn't have any arm strength? Sounds a lot like Case McCoy. Texas didn't exactly dumptruck K-State in the second half, but the Longhorns got more than they should've thanks to passive defensive alignments. If we're not going to take away the short, easy stuff, Oklahoma State likely wins a bit of a grinder.

Kitchen: I like Oklahoma State too much for my own good, I guess. I don't think it matters if Walsh throws worse than Lamar Latrell (when not aided by an aerodynamically altered javelin), K-State's cushion on the outside -- which is necessary because this corner group makes Nigel Malone look like Usain Bolt -- ruins just about every other defensive scheme short of a dominant bull rush.

If you hoped K-State addressed, and fixed, one thing above all others during its bye-week, that would be?

Derek: Oh boy. Oh man. Ah geez. Snyder II has been all about not beating themselves with turnovers and penalties. If they go into Stillwater without any turnovers and minimal penalties, I'll feel a little better going forward.

Jon: The question of if, when, and how to use what quarterback. You know, at least to the coaching staff's own satisfaction. (They'll never satisfy the fans unless Sams is QB1, so that's a lost cause.)

AA: It has to be the quarterback thing, right? I don't even care if it's Waters in all the time and only running on designed plays very rarely or Sams in and actually, you know, trying to pass. Just do something that might have a chance of working instead of this predictable nonsense.

TB: Y'all already mentioned the obvious, so I'll go with the defensive game plan. If Walsh is OSU's quarterback, then take away the short, easy reads and make him make more difficult throws deep.

Kitchen: I hope they got the DeLorean up and running again. I want to flip the dials to 8/30/2013 and hit about 6:30 p.m. The sun was out. I had just finished chatting with an attractive young lady bartender in Aggieville about mixing purple shots about 30 minutes before and was ready to watch K-State take down a spirited North Dakota St. in "awwww, that's cute" fashion.

Oh, and yes to all of your points, plus how about resembling something like K-State football for the first time this season? Minimal mental mistakes, a little quiet confidence and a loud effort within a full teamwork infrastructure. That's all.

What about the Big 12 now? It looked like a three or four team race, but did that top seal crack open for others to join the mix?

Derek: It's Baylor's to lose. I know, I know. "THEY HAVEN'T PLAYED ANYONE." Buffalo gave tOSU something of a game and spanked a UConn team that almost beat Michigan. Baylor boat raced them out of Floyd-Casey. I'll gladly eat crow if I'm wrong.

Jon: It's narrowed, not opened. Both Baylor and Oklahoma are going to have to shoot themselves in the foot to allow anyone else back into the fight at this point.

AA: I believe in Baylor. I'd be kind of shocked if they run the table and OU still has a good shot, but the Thursday night game in Waco gives BU the edge. That doesn't necessarily mean I think their defense is great and wouldn't get significantly gashed by an elite offense, but the good news for them is that might not exist in the Big 12 this year. As long as the Bears don't have to play themselves, of course. Those guys are scary.

TB: For a while, I'd just conceded that Baylor was the team to beat. But with Oklahoma's resurgence the last few weeks, I think the Sooners will have something to say about the race.

Kitchen: Still a Top 3 for me. OU is the incumbent. Baylor is the monster. OSU is too good not to be a part of the conversation by the end - even if that means they simply spoil it for one of those other two. The moment gets too big somewhere in this race for Texas Tech. The rest of the conference doesn't have a place in this conversation.

We haven't done this in the Round Table yet this year, but why not ... your score prediction:

Derek: I voted for K-State winning by seven or less in the poll, so... 35-28 'Cats. I hate predicting scores.

Jon: 38-20 Pokes. I, of course, will gladly eat crow on this one.

AA: Do I have to? Alright, let's go 27-24 OSU.

TB: Oklahoma State 34, K-State 24

Kitchen: OSU is a 14-point favorite at home. As a road dog against a team like that, you have to dominate time-of-possession and put points on the board. Nationally, K-State is 64th in TOP (29:22) and 60th in scoring offense (31.8). OSU 41, K-State 23.