What a tough week to make a call...
I don't think the team can play much worse than they did in the Army game, that's the good news. Further, I think the Army game might have done a good job motivating the defense to perform better against Kansas State, in addition to their propensity to play to their level of competition.
I think Bell will be a bit more motivated by the competition in practice, with Blake Szymanski receiving some snaps with the first team in practice. Those games in which he feels he has to prove himself, like Missouri in 2005 and A&M in 2004, he really comes up big. That might be the biggest boon to having Blake in the game a couple series a half, just to give Bell something to push him.
I think Kansas State is a lot like TCU. They have a good running game, they have a weak (in my opinion) quarterback and they have a tough defense. They are going to try to pound our defense over and over again. They are going to sit back and wait for us to tire so they can rip off 20+ yard runs in the fourth quarter. On defense, they are going to try to blast us and our finesse offense off the field. They have one very good defensive end and a solid linebacking corps. Their cornerbacks aren't anything to worry about, but that's not stopped any defenses from slowing our offense, yet.
It's amazing the similarities to TCU.
The good news is that we really, really ought to have beaten TCU. We held TCU to 2.9 yards per rush. We held them to 11 yards of offense in the first quarter and something like 129 yards in the first half.
We just have to hope that Freeman, their true freshman QB, doesn't come in and start throwing to running backs out of the backfield for 84-yard touchdowns.
This is a game that we can and should win. Our offense, as pathetic as it's been, has improved each game in scoring. Or at least our team has. 7 to 15 to 20 points. I say we take another step forward and manage to grab 24 points of scoring against KSU. The flip side is that we are due a step back offensively, like the defensive one we got against Army, in which case we could be looking at a 7-13 point effort.
Our defense got embarassed and I hope they don't come out with their Baylor faces already on.
Kansas State doesn't have the offensive firepower to blow us out, but we could be embarassed with a 20-7 effort against them.
The offense takes a step back and the defense gives up at the half AGAIN (Why should I think anything else? They've done it every game.)
Baylor - 13
Kansas State - 23
Bell is motivated by the pressure of the 2nd string QB, and manages at least one more scoring drive, and few three and outs. The defense stays to play for another quarter, not giving up the third quarter score as is their M.O.
Baylor - 24
Kansas State - 16
Just basically flipping the coin, I know.
I'm going with my heart on this one, because this is a must-win game, and I think the team has responded well to situations when they were embarassed. The key to that is that it didn't always necessarily mean a win: Texas Tech in 2005.
BAY - 24
KSU - 16