Let's get this out of the way at the start. Let's all say it simultaneously. Ready?
Alright, now that that's out of the way, let's not think about national title games or Big 12 championship games or the Border War to End All Border Wars. Let's talk about the game the Tigers have to win to make all those unmentionables mentionable.
Mizzou QB vs K-State Defense
Last year in Columbia, K-State owned Chase Daniel for one play--the first. From the second play on, Chase figured them out. Oh, and Joe Ganz figured them out pretty well last week. Edge: Mizzou.
Mizzou RBs vs K-State LBs
KSU's LBs are pretty solid overall. Their 61.7% success rate is a decent amount better than that of MU's LB...but honestly I can't get two things out of my head: a) how well Tony Temple ran last week, and b) how well Mizzou's TEs have torched KSUs LBs over the last two seasons. (I realize it's RBs vs LBs here, but LBs' pass coverage skills have to come into account somewhere.) Plus, Ron Prince has juggled the LB lineup a bunch this year. Would he be doing that if the unit were sturdy and reliable? Brandon Archer isn't walking through that door! Josh Buhl isn't walking through that door! Edge: Mizzou.
Click 'Full Story' for the rest.
Mizzou WR/TEs vs K-State DBs
Last time Mizzou played in Manhattan, Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker combined for 15 catches and 200 yards. Last time Mizzou played K-State, period, Chase Daniel produced the highest one-game QB rating of his career, a solid 191.0. Oh, and Joe Ganz threw for 1,200 yards against K-State last week. Edge: Mizzou.
Mizzou OL vs K-State DL
Ian Campbell's obviously a stud, though I resent the fact that he plays both DE and OLB (that totally screws with some of my BTBS numbers...thanks a lot). For the purposes of this preview, he's a DE, and he's one of the keys to the game for KSU. If KSU's DEs can get to Chase Daniel, KSU will have a chance. If Chase is allowed to pick the defense apart, it's over fast. For now, I say Edge: Push.
K-State QB vs Mizzou Defense
I realize Josh Freeman is 6'6 and looks like an NFL QB when he's wearing a football uniform. But I also realize that Mizzou forced him into one of his most frustrating collegiate games last year. Freeman's got a couple solid RBs and Jordy Nelson at his disposal, but Mizzou should be just good enough at stopping the run that Freeman's forced into some passing downs...and he pretty much sucks in passing downs. Edge: Mizzou.
K-State RBs vs Mizzou LBs
This one really depends on how well-utilized KSU's RBs (James Johnson, Leon Patton) are, I guess. They torched the Mizzou defense last year, but a) I think Mizzou's current LB corps is slightly faster and more aggressive than last year's, and b) listening to KSU fans, you get the impression that Johnson and Patton have been far from well-utilized. However, the memory of last year's game lingers in my head a bit. Edge: Push.
K-State WR/TEs vs Mizzou DBs
Here's how much I respect Jordy Nelson. Edge: KSU.
K-State OL vs Mizzou DL
Here's how much I currently respect the Sulak-Williams-Hood-Chavis superfecta. Edge: Mizzou.
As I said yesterday, this really is an area where K-State can make up ground in a hurry. Sometimes Adam Crossett's a great punter, sometimes he's not. Sometimes Mizzou is great at covering kicks, sometimes they're not. Sometimes Jeremy Maclin looks like he's a step away from breaking a huge return, sometimes he doesn't. Meanwhile, K-State returns a kick/punt for a TD about every other game, they have one of the best punters in the country, and they have an extremely reliable place-kicker. Edge: KSU.
a) Gary Pinkel coached circles around Ron Prince last year in the rain, and b) I really don't like Ron Prince. Edge: Mizzou.
Hmm. I'm really torn here. The optimist in me says Mizzou has too much to play for to lay an egg at this point in the season. The emotionally-beaten-to-a-bloody-pulp-on-too-many-occasions sports fan in me says now's about the time where my team would break my heart. Screw that guy. Edge: Mizzou.
That's 7-2-2 Mizzou. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different. Mizzou 38, Kansas State 21. Actually...Mizzou 42, Kansas State 17. Yeah, that's the ticket. This team is different. This team is different. This team is different.
And because I haven't mentioned it anywhere else this week, here are this week's EqPts Rankings and Predictions. (I made a down-dependent alteration to the EqPts formula...at some point I'll go into detail about it. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say 'EqPts', go here and here. And here.)
Oklahoma State (140.4)
Texas Tech (129.1)
Kansas State (95.8)
Texas A&M (86.5)
Iowa State (58.5)
(Yeah, the fact that Nebraska is above Oklahoma shows there are still some kinks in the formula.)
Texas (131.6) (???)
Texas A&M (110.5)
Texas Tech (103.0)
Iowa State (99.4)
Oklahoma State (90.7)
Kansas State (83.9)
Texas (239.6) (uhh...)
Texas Tech (232.2)
Oklahoma State (231.1)
Texas A&M (197.1)
Kansas State (179.7)
Iowa State (157.9)
Mizzou 38, Kansas State 21
Texas Tech 31, Oklahoma 27 (uhh...)
Kansas 33, Iowa State 10
Oklahoma State 44, Baylor 21