(9) Kansas State Wildcats at (6) Baylor Bears (-8, 66.5 o/u)
In order to qualify for the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Baylor Bears need to leapfrog two teams in the final week of the season. One of the teams ahead of Baylor in the rankings is No. 4 TCU. If the Bears beat a strong Kansas State team on Saturday, they will have good argument that they should move past TCU: Baylor will be the Big 12 champion and will own a win over that same TCU team.
But, in order for that conversation to be relevant, Baylor still needs to take care of business against the Wildcats this Saturday at McLane Stadium (7:45 p.m. Eastern) in the last regular season game in the Big 12.
The Bears may not be at full strength when K-State comes to town. Their Heisman hopeful QB Bryce Petty remains questionable for the game due to concussion-related symptoms.
“He was here [Sunday] and was feeling pretty good. He actually felt pretty good at the end of the game the other day,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “Of course he took a hard shot, clean shot. But I just saw him 10 minutes ago and he’s fine. Smile on his face and determination in his heart.”
Kansas State is 9-2 on the season and 7-1 inside the Big 12. The Wildcats have won two straight, including a narrow 26-20 win over a dangerous West Virginia team in Morgantown, where they covered as 2.5-point road dogs.
Kansas State’s one loss was a 41-20 beat down by the Horned Frogs. Arguably, Baylor needs to lay the same kind of licking on the Wildcats in order to impress the Selection Committee. That will be no easy feat – whether Petty plays or not – as Kansas State surrenders just over 20 points per game and has kept good offenses at bay all season (excepting TCU). The Wildcats held Auburn and West Virginia’s high-powered attacks to 20 points apiece.
TCU was able to run up the score on K-State with the ground game, rushing for 334 yards and averaging seven yards per carry. The Bears, however, have a more pass-oriented offense and average just 4.7 yards per carry.
Nonetheless, Baylor is an eight-point home favorite for tonight’s game and the over/under is at 66.5. Baylor is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games against Kansas State.
(Photo credit: The US Army (flickr) “Wildcat Willie” [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo may appear cropped.)