Kansas State (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) is in Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) in a key matchup for both teams. The Wildcats will try to end their current skid, while the Red Raiders desperately need a win today to have any shot at a bowl berth.
TB kicked the tires, and after getting last week’s prediction wrong, he is understandably leery about picking the Wildcats. S&P+ suggests a close game between teams that are both capable of giving up big plays.
Skylar Thompson took a big hit in the fourth quarter of last week’s game, one that he admits left him shaken for several minutes (and may have had an impact on the rest of that drive). It left the coaching staff concerned too, but it looks like Thompson did not sustain a concussion.
In this matchup of first year head coaches, Chris Klieman might have a slight advantage. He’s never had to coach against Matt Wells, but defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton is familar with Wells’ up-tempo offensive game plan from their time in the Mountain West conference, where Wells was the head coach at Utah State and Hazelton the DC at Wyoming. Of course, as Hazelton notes, that familiarity could help Texas Tech too.
Meanwhile, from the Texas Tech perspective, this is a must-win game. The Red Raiders have failed to close out games this season, and while that should be a familiar feeling to most of us, the level of despair in Lubbock is seemingly much, much higher. I’ll just let our brethren at Viva the Matadors speak for themselves:
When I think of this season as a whole to this point, it’s more than a program running on empty. It’s almost as if this season is a boat with a cannon ball sized hole in the side of it, stranded alone somewhere in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. As fans, we are afforded a bird’s eye view to this tragedy, watching from afar as this coaching staff and players run around trying to figure out how to fill this hole as the ship is sinking rapidly.
The only problem is they cannot fix it. They cannot call for help. And they cannot get a new boat.
The only thing they can do is bail water out faster than it’s coming in.
Then again, hope springs eternal, both in Lubbock and in Manhattan.
Let’s do this! Pound the dang stone, Cats!
As always, the Slate is your early game open thread.