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Kansas State Preview

It’s time for my least favorite tradition in college football: The Sunflower Beatdown. Or, two years ago, the Sunflower Screwjob. But regardless of what you want to call it, it hasn’t been much fun for KU fans over the past three decades or so.

Kansas has now dropped 51-straight conference road games and 54-straight games away from Memorial Stadium, a streak which doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy on Saturday morning.

Yup – I am still sad.

PREGAME

KU has not defeated K-State since 2008, a 52-21 beat down known around these parts as the Jake Sharp game. That means K-State has tied its own record for consecutive wins in this series with 11 in a row.

Kansas records the series history as 66-46-5, while KSU records 64-48-5. One game in question is 1980; KU won on the field, but the Big 12 ruled KU’s Kerwin Bell ineligible and ordered KU to forfeit. However, NCAA policy states that schools must acknowledge forfeits imposed by the NCAA and does not specify conference-imposed penalties, so KU’s number is the official NCAA number.

But that’s a two-game difference in each school’s respective recordbook; what gives? That was brought up last year, and the answer is, I don’t know.

Although KU leads the overall series, K-State has had a clear edge over the last 30 years; since 1991, KU is just 5-24 against their purple foe. Four of those wins came in the Mark Mangino era.

That means that KU is 62-23-5 against K-State coaches not named Bill Snyder, a 68.9% win percentage.

K-State has scored on 53-consecutive trips into the red zone.

This is K-State’s Homecoming game for 2020.

FIRST DOWN

I understand the quarterback carousel has been driven by injury, but Kansas just hasn’t been able to get anything going offensively all year long. Kansas has now had two consecutive games with less than 200 yards of total offense; the Jayhawks will need to, at minimum, double that output if they want to have any kind of a chance in this one.

SECOND DOWN

Speaking of quarterbacks, Les Miles has been non-committal on who will play Saturday, even saying that, “The opportunity to play more than one quarterback may present itself.” Miles did note that all three quarterbacks were back to throwing in practice. The last time Miles made such comments, Jalon Daniels started and played the entire next game. Here’s guessing that, barring further injury, we’ll see either Jalon Daniels or Thomas MacVittie back in action – and based on precedent, my money is on Jalon Daniels.

THIRD DOWN

KU’s defense finally got its first turnovers of the season last year, but the universe still owes Kansas a bit – over its last 16 games, the Jayhawks are minus-16 in turnover margin. That, or its just more of our pennance for the Gill/Weis/Beaty era.

FOURTH DOWN

I know this is your favorite part of every preview…

S&P+ projects a 19-point Kansas loss, giving the Jayhawks a 14% chance at victory – exactly the same as last week against West Virginia, in case you were wondering. K-State checks in at #67 in the updated S&P+ rankings, while Kansas slipped another spot down to #120 (out of 127 teams).

ESPN’s FPI Matchup Predictor starts the ‘Cats off with a 94.9% chance at a victory.

Interestingly enough, Sagarin gives K-State an 81% chance of victory.

The Vegas spread is (as of 2 PM Friday) KSU -20, with an over/under of 48.

PREDICTION

I hate this game almost as much as I hate the Missouri game. I hate the atmosphere, I hate the fans, I hate the hate, and I really hate “wait until basketball.” We get it, guys, we suck at football. You suck at everything else. There, everyone feel better?

The series obviously has not been kind for Jayhawk fans lately. There were high hopes last year, and even a point-spread in single digits! And K-State went on to win by 28 in a game that wasn’t even that close.

I don’t expect KU’s struggling offense to find its stride in Manhattan; no one should. But these games aren’t played on paper, right? RIGHT??

Look for lots of holding calls against Kansas if the game is close, but I’m expecting something more along the lines of what we’ve seen over the last two games (and 10 years): K-State 37, Kansas 10.

EXTRA POINT

With 110 consecutive annual meetings, this is currently the fourth-longest uninterrupted series in the FBS, trailing Minnesota-Wisconsin, Clemson-South Carolina, and NC State-Wake Forest. Clemson and South Carolina are not scheduled to play this season; if that holds true, this will become the third-longest uninterrupted series.

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