We tend to get along with most other Big 12 SB Nation blogs, and one of the blogs at the top of that list is Bring On The Cats. Maybe it's the common color scheme. Or perhaps it's that we see a lot of similarities in our football teams most seasons. For whatever reason, I always have fun partnering up with BOTC on stuff, and this was no exception. Jon Morse, Managing Editor of Bring On The Cats answered some questions for us as we prepare to square off against the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday night.
I also answered some questions for him, and you can read those words on BOTC when that post goes live.
1) Kansas State has already been embroiled in controversy a few times in 2015. Give us your thoughts on the band "scandal" and the resulting repercussions.
It was absolutely [expletive] ridiculous, is what it was. But what really sticks in the craw isn't that K-State was penalized for some nebulous lack of sportsmanship because the band took a good-natured potshot at a rival. No, the problem is everything that's happened since which the conference doesn't seem concerned about. Eric Striker's double-fingered salute in Knoxville. Texas Tech fans pelting the field with bottles. Those things aren't worth a public reprimand and a fine from the Big 12, but making a Jayhawk on the field during a band performance is?
And let's not forget, that's what K-State was penalized for. Not the perceived genitalia.
It's stupid, and we're still mad and we're going to stay mad until the conference starts punishing actual bad behavior rather than innocuous jests.
2) To the second scandal, or rather, affirmation of the level Big 12 referee ineptitude, how are K-State fans handling the loss to Oklahoma State?
Pretty well, really. There are two things here: first, as far as officiating mistakes go, most K-State fans are actually more worried about the hit on Joe Hubener not being flagged. But then when you have Kody Cook come in and play lights out for two quarters and put the team in front by 15 points, well, that's really no big deal other than as a player safety concern. (And let's not forget that K-State scored on that drive, so the lack of a penalty didn't cost the Wildcats anything.)
So this isn't a deal where folks think the chain gang error cost the ballgame. We all understand that anything could have happened on the fourth down play, good or ill.
Second, though, is that we're actually pretty content with the result based on what it meant: K-State lost by two points, on the road, to a top-25 team... with their fifth-string quarterback playing three quarters. How can we be upset with the team for that? (Well, okay, we're sort of mad at the pass defense, but you know how it goes.)
3) Kansas State was projected to be a middle of the road Big 12 team this season, but key injuries may make that a best-case scenario. With three wins in the bag already, do you see three more on the schedule that would allow the Wildcats to reach bowl-eligibility? What do you think the Wildcats' final record is?
We're still absolutely convinced Kansas is a win, just like every other team in this conference is. Iowa State is probably a win. Texas is such a tire fire that it's hard to imagine losing to them. Tech showed their holes against Baylor, so maybe that one can be stolen. And so far K-State has had success against West Virginia. So there's still optimism that the Wildcats can manage an 8-4 year, although 6-6 is more reasonable.
4) The biggest question mark for Kansas State, from an outsider's perspective, is how are they going to navigate the MASH unit that is their quarterback depth chart. Who starts for Kansas State against TCU, and just how much has the inconsistency of a singular presence at QB affected the offense?
Hubener should start, as he's passed all of K-State's midweek concussion protocols. (Frankly, we're not even sure he really took a forceful blow to the head even though that still should have been a personal foul; he may have just had the wind knocked out of him.)
And really, K-State's had consistency except for Hubener being knocked out last week. Up until that play, he'd either been behind center or lined up wide in Wildcat for all but two relevant offensive snaps this season. The biggest issue hasn't been quarterback play, but offensive playcalling and receivers catching the football.
5) Kansas State's defense has allowed 69 points in the past two games. How do they hold up against TCU's potent offense?
Your phrasing contains a rash assumption, and that's that they'll hold up. I don't see a situation where TCU fails to put 45 on the board; K-State's pass defense is just too porous. On the other hand, Aaron Green may be spewing expletives on the sidelines, as the run defense is still pretty darned good.
Fat lot of good that did against Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State, though, right?
6) The Wildcats have taken very good care of the ball so far this season, and TCU's defense hasn't forced many turnovers early on. If KSU plays a clean game, what chance to you give them of pulling off the upset?
Not optimistic, even with a clean game. Now, if K-State can FORCE some turnovers, it's a different story altogether. But the Wildcats have, uncharacteristically, not been very good at that this year either.
7) For Frog fans traveling to the Little Apple, where are some places they should go to get the full Manhattan experience?
Aggieville is an obvious must, especially post-game. Our Manhattan 101 guide is a bit out of date, and a few places listed have closed, but it's still a good starting point.
8) Lastly, give us a prediction on how you think this game plays out.
With me drinking heavily, charting D-II and D-III scores, and tears. Unfathomable, unending tears.
With TCU's own defensive issues, I think K-State might score a bit. But the Wildcats could put up 40 and still lose by two touchdowns.