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Kansas State Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs Prediction and Preview

Kansas State Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs Prediction and Preview

Kansas State Wildcats vs. TCU Horned Frogs Prediction and Preview

If the Kansas State Wildcats and TCU Horned Frogs didn’t hit rock bottom last weekend, they came close.

TCU traveled to Lawrence and came away with a loss to the lowly Kansas Jayhawks. At the same time, the Oklahoma Sooners were taking Kansas State to the woodshed in a 51-14 blowout.

Both teams will likely finish near the basement of the Big 12 at the end of the season. With the two teams currently sitting at 3-5, the loser can probably cancel any postseason plans.

Look for each to play with an obvious sense of desperation.

Kansas State at TCU

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: TCU -8

Three Things to Watch

1. Is Michael Collins progressing?

Shawn Robinson’s season-ending injury forced Collins into the role of starting quarterback for TCU two weeks ago. Collins is completing 60 percent of his passes since then. His 3:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio is workable, although not ideal.

With 50 attempts in the past two games, Collins should be growing into the role of the first-string QB. He'll get his chance Saturday against a Kansas State pass defense that just gave up 380 yards and three touchdowns (along with a 76 percent completion rate) to Oklahoma last week. Granted, Collins is certainly not on Kyler Murray's level, but the Wildcats have had their issues against the pass this season, including giving up 15 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.

2. Getting Alex Barnes back on track

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The Sooners stoned Barnes, Kansas State's leading rusher and the Big 12's No. 2, last weekend. He managed just 28 yards on 13 carries and barely made an impact on the game.

TCU has a solid rush defense, but opponents have shown they can pound out yards on the Horned Frogs if they show a little dedication to the ground game. The Wildcats typically have more than enough of that. Despite Barnes' struggles against Oklahoma, KSU finished with a total of 137 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries (4.3 ypc) last Saturday.

3. Bouncing back

Both squads suffered deflating losses last week — albeit in a dramatically different fashion. Is it easier to get up off the mat after getting blown out or losing a humiliating heartbreaker?

It almost goes without saying, but the sharper team will win this game.

Final Analysis

It will come as little solace to the Horned Frogs, but their loss to the putrid Jayhawks was incredibly fluky. TCU had 10 more first downs than KU and generated seven yards per offensive snap to the Jayhawks’ 4.6. But for an untimely butt fumble inside KU’s 10-yard line in the fourth quarter, TCU most likely goes home from Kansas with a W.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: TCU

Kansas State was clearly taking on a different level of competition, but the Wildcats never truly threatened the Sooners. Given that TCU managed to make a game of it into the third quarter versus OU the week before, that sounds like a firm indication of which of these teams is stronger.

The Wildcats’ anemic pass rush will allow Horned Frogs QB Michael Collins to get comfortable in the pocket. TCU’s skill players likely represent the biggest edge either team has in this game, and if Collins has time to throw, he will find open targets. Unless TCU’s QB has developed an even stronger affinity for throwing INTs, the Horned Frogs will have enough success through the air to win this game by two scores.

Prediction: TCU 24, Kansas State 13

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.