Wildcats can name their margin Saturday

By Steve Sell
November 26, 2014

That Kansas State will again defeat in-state rival Kansas in the Governor’s Cup on what is expected to be a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon in Manhattan is a foregone conclusion. 

It’s a no-brainer. The Cup is gathering dust in Manhattan. The gulf in talent level differential is practically infinite.

Let’s face it. Whatever Bill Snyder wants the final margin to be, that’s what it’s going to be. The game is in his hands to dictate.

The Wildcats can’t afford to mess around with the Jayhawks, especially with their showdown with Baylor looming ahead. Kansas State figures to come out and score early and often. My guess is something in the 59-7 range.

This is KU interim coach Clint Bowen’s final audition. KU has won one game since he took over, 34-14 over Iowa State, which basically assured it of not finishing last in the Big 12, which is a small victory but a victory nonetheless. It followed that up by scaring the bejeebers out of Final Four candidate TCU, leading much of the way before losing 34-30.

But a 44-7 shellacking from Oklahoma slowed the Bowen-for-head-coach momentum. If Snyder’s team embarrasses the Jayhawks on Saturday, that might cause KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger to reconsider what had been thought to be a slam-dunk just two weeks ago. 

Bowen is only playing with the hand Charlie Weis dealt him, which is loaded with 2-7 offsuits. KU is woefully weak in the offensive and defensive lines, areas Oklahoma exposed with its magnifying glass. All that wonderful spirit KU played with against Iowa State and TCU dissipated in the Norman rainfall as the Jayhawks, quite honestly, looked broken spiritually. It was men vs. boys.

Bowen bleeds crimson and blue and it’s probably going to devastate him Saturday when the Wildcats walk all over his team. I wonder what the over-under is on Jake Waters hitting that pop pass over the middle against the KU defense. The Jayhawks seemingly were clueless against that play last year and I’m imagining that Bowen has had the scout team running that play ad nauseam this week.

I’m also fearful of the KU secondary trying to stop Tyler Lockett. The KU defense gave up the all-time record for individual rushing yards last week, and if Waters and Lockett decide to go for it, don’t be surprised if Lockett approaches 300 receiving yards against a KU secondary that spends much of the time looking at the backs of receivers going by them.

KU beat Kansas State all three times during the Ron Prince era, but can’t solve the Snyder puzzle. In fact, most of games since Snyder has been Wildcat coach have been decidedly lopsided. Snyder at one point won 11 games in a row against KU and is now on a five-game streak. K-State still has a ways to go in the series — KU leads 64-41-5 — but everything changed when Snyder came aboard. And since the Governor’s Cup started in 1969, KSU has a 24-19-1 lead after being down as much as 15-7-1.