Game Preview: Texas Tech vs Kansas State
Texas Tech's offense is very good. Imagine how good they'd be if they did not lose 75 yard per game to penalties. No, all the penalties are not on the offense, but most of them are. Mental mistakes hurt Texas Tech seemingly every week.
Those kind of mistakes are what Bill Snyder has spent his entire career limiting. Snyder teams are synonymous with being mentally sound and efficient. Kliff Kingsbury has, unfortunately, been plagued by mental inefficiency early in his career.
To be fair, the 2016 Wildcat team is not as disciplined as past Kansas State teams; they have almost 50 yards per game of penalties.
But it's not just penalties hurting the Red Raiders. Turnovers have plagued Texas Tech during Kingsbury's tenure. Not only have his teams given the ball away at will, but they don't collect turnovers in return. Granted, this problem has dramatically improved in the past two seasons. However, it's still a problem for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has a zero turnover margin. That means they have given the ball away as many times as they have taken it away. The Wildcats have a +5 turnover margin. That means they have five more takeaways than they have turnovers. That's the best margin in the Big 12.
A popular line in sports prediction and the sports talk business is: "This game will come down to who can limit their mistakes." That sounds great. If you've ever had a coach, you've heard this line.
What it really means is, 'These opponents are equally talented and I don't know who will win. So I'm going to cop out and say whatever happens in the game will cause the win or loss. Then I'll sound right on the post-game show no matter what.'
The problem with saying that with this game is that these two teams are not equals.
The Texas Tech offense is exponentially more talented than the Kansas State offense.
The no. 4 ranked nationally Kansas State defense is better than the Texas Tech defense. Both defenses also affect field position. Kansas State's starting field position is almost 10 yards better than Texas Tech.
The Kansas State special teams is better than Texas Tech's "special" teams.
Kansas State has a better coach. That's not a knock on Kingsbury, but it's Bill Snyder. He tucks his jacket into his pants. He's like Harbaugh's granddad. He's been coaching at Kansas State off and on since Bart Reagor was waving his hands around on the sidelines at Texas Tech.
Kansas State will be at home.
All that being said, Texas Tech's offense is still so much better than Kansas State's that the scale probably tilts in the away team's favor.
It's not surprising, though, to see Kansas State as 7.5-point favorites. That offense that is so bad against everyone else still scored 44 on Texas Tech last season.
Texas Tech gives up over 37 points per game. I don't see that changing this week.
Texas Tech's offense scores almost 60 points per game, while Kansas State is giving up 12. That number will probably meet somewhere in the middle. Around 40, I'd say.
The x-factor in this scenario is obviously if Patrick Mahomes is playing or not. Mahomes provides enormous big-play threats and is one of the best in the nation at what he does. If I were Kingsbury and I was looking at my remaining schedule, I'd think long and hard about playing Mahomes.
With West Virginia, OU, Baylor and Oklahoma State still on the Texas Tech schedule, the team needs Mahomes healthy moving forward.
That said, this offense is built for quarterbacks to succeed and it may not matter who is playing quarterback. The Red Raiders were 7-0 with two true freshmen in Kingsbury's first year at Texas Tech. Nic Shimonek certainly proved his leadership and an ability to play against a Kansas Defense that was giving Mahomes trouble.
Shimonek won't try to press. He won't force. This team has less pressure when Shimonek is on the field.
Do I think Shimonek is a better option at QB in the long run? LOL, no. But there's truth in the sentiment that he provides a better chance to win this game even if Patrick is "healthy enough" to play.
For my score prediction and so much more, be sure to tune into 1340 The Fan Saturday October, 8 at 3 p.m. for Countdown to Kickoff. We'll be around for two hours taking calls and chopping the breeze. Join us on twitter @1340thefan or on the phone: (806) 770-5FAN.