All Kansas had to do last week to set up a ranked vs ranked Sunflower Showdown was beat Texas Tech.
They couldn’t even do that, but still managed to cling to the #25 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, making this the biggest Sunflower Showdown since 1995.
But now, in a game which means a lot more to K-State than it does to Kansas thanks to the conference race, the Jayhawks have a starting quarterback who’s out, a backup quarterback who’s questionable, and a third-string quarterback who went 9-20 after taking over during last week’s loss.
As we’ll discuss in a bit, Vegas has no confidence K-State’s winning streak against the Jayhawks is in danger.
The Kansas State Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Big 12, 21 CFP) visit the Kansas Jayhawks (7-3, 4-3 Big 12, 25 CFP).
Yeah, yeah, Kansas leads the all-time series 64-51-5, and 37-22-2 in Lawrence.
K-State has also won 14 straight and 26 of the last 30. My mom is 76 years old, and K-State has a winning record over Kansas in her lifetime. Whatever.
Chris Klieman is 4-0 against Kansas; Lance Leipold, who is still a hell of a coach anyway, is 0-2 against the Cats and 15-20 at KU. But he’s 161-59 in his career.
The biggest threat K-State faces is the one their best-equipped to handle: running back Devin Neal, who only needs 35 yards to crack the 1000 yard mark. As with K-State, he has a solid partner in the back field in Daniel Hishaw Jr., who has 552 yards on the ground himself. On the season, K-State has only run for 31 more yards than the Jayhawks, so this could be a real grinder. If Jason Bean, who suffered a head injury last week, is not able to play, Kansas is going to have to depend on those running backs as third-string quarterback Cole Ballard just wasn’t very good at all against Texas Tech. He was 9-20 for 124 yards and an interception, and was sacked three times.
Saturday, November 18, 6:00pm CT at Memorial Stadium (47,233) in Lawrence, Kansas.
Ton of tickets out there, to the surprise of nobody. You can help turn Memorial into a sea of purple, but it will cost you; the cheapest seats on the secondary market are going for $75, topping out at $365 with the median at around $130.
The tailgate weather’s going to be fantastic. Temperatures in Lawrence will top out at 66° around 3pm before dipping to about 55° at kickoff. By game’s end, it’ll be creeping into the low 40s, so take something warm. There’s no rain expected, though, and winds are projected to be light, around 4mph from the southeast throughout the game.
K-State only opened as a 3-point favorite, but the uncertainty at quarterback for Kansas as well as Vegas’s well-known tendency to stick with the hot hand has pushed that all the way out to -10 for the Cats at DraftKings. The over is at 57.5, which projects out to a 34-24 Wildcat victory. The money line is +295 for Texas, -360 for K-State. Oddsshark’s computer still projects a K-State win, but a nerve-inducing one at 34-30.
FS1 with Alex Faust and our pal Petros Papadakis.
As always, Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, and Matt Walters will be on hand on the K-State Sports Network as well as via satellite on SiriusXM 132 or 200, 954 on the app.
The game will stream on the FOX Sports app, but a cable or eligible streaming package subscription will be required since it’s being aired on the main network. Audio available via kstatesports.com. Live stats provided by StatsBroadcast.
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