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Open Game Thread: Kansas State vs Arkansas, Liberty Bowl

Your benevolent despot is suddenly starting to feel good about this game. An omen?

Keep Hunter Henry in check, allow the line to shut down Arkansas' run game, pick apart their secondary... profit.
Keep Hunter Henry in check, allow the line to shut down Arkansas' run game, pick apart their secondary... profit.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Liberty Bowl
Sat, Jan 2, 2016
2:20 PM CT
Kansas State
6-6, 3-6 B12
vs. (rv) Arkansas
7-5, 5-3 SEC

Where: Memphis, TN | Liberty Bowl (61,008)

Media: 1350 KMAN | ESPN

Liberty Bowl Storystream

Are you nervous? Resigned? Angry? Or are you hopeful? Optimistic? Confident? Our commentariat has expressed feelings across that entire range over the last month, but now it's time to get down to brass tacks. Today, the Wildcats once again take on their neighbors to the southeast in a bowl game. Arkansas becomes only the second team to meet the Wildcats in the post-season more than once, but remain a game behind Syracuse as our Most Hated Enemy.

The advanced stats don't look good for our heroes today. But there are some intangibles which point toward some reason for optimism. Arkansas lacks the sort of speed demon deep threats upon which the Big 12 teams which demolished the Wildcats' depleted secondary feasted. Arkansas relies on a tight end for most of their aerial attack, and K-State has done well against that setup.

The Hogs are horrible at defending the pass; at first glance, one might respond that K-State's horrible at passing so it doesn't matter, but part of the reason why the Wildcats have been so bad at passing is that the secondaries they've faced are actually much better than that fielded by Arkansas. To be blunt, as bad as K-State is passing the ball, Arkansas is even worse at defending against it; their pass defense ranked 126th in FBS at opponent success rate. We may see more open receivers than we've seen all season, is what we're getting at here. If whichever Wildcat quarterback has time to throw, this game could be a massive surprise.

There's your hopeful premise. Is Arkansas better than Baylor? Pre-devastation TCU? Oklahoma State? What may happen today largely depends on the answer to that question, as K-State very nearly won all three of those games.

Let's go, Purple Faithful. Vengeance is nigh, and 2016 needs to get off to a proper start. EMAW!