Commentary

K-State can knock off Oklahoma

Evaluating upset odds and picking winners for the week's biggest games

Updated: October 27, 2011, 9:49 AM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
Collin Klein/Landry JonesUS PresswireCollin Klein (left) and Landry Jones face off in Manhattan, Kan., as OU tries to avoid a second loss.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will conspire with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games -- and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

Week 8 finally brought some movement near the top of the rankings, as Oklahoma and Wisconsin went down. West Virginia and Illinois were the other ranked teams to lose as favorites, while then-No. 20 Georgia Tech fell as a road underdog.

Upset Picks liked the Badgers, Jackets and a few more ill-fated outfits, going 2-6 to fall to 33-29 against the number on the year. This week we'll lean on a trio of live underdogs, and apply lessons learned in Miami and East Lansing.

Oklahoma Sooners at Kansas State Wildcats

Oklahoma is favored by 13.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for Kansas State: 36 percent

It's called smoke and mirrors only when it's not sustainable. Kansas State's get-outgained-but-win act is here to stay. Excellence at game-turning performance indicators like third down and red zone efficiency, turnover margin and big-play special teams are consistent hallmarks of Bill Snyder teams past, present and future.

Another constant is stellar performance as a home underdog. Two touchdowns would have been ample even before Oklahoma's season came crashing down last week. Now the visitor can scarcely call itself the favorite. The Sooners had three big questions entering a season that was supposed to produce a national title run, and all three came home to roost in last week's home loss to Texas Tech, the lowest moment of the Bob Stoops era.

Brent Venables' defense has been sliding for three years now, while Landry Jones has played well 90 percent of the time but has never quite looked like a quarterback that could make it through a season without a costly performance. And the Oklahoma special teams -- particularly the placekicking -- have long been mediocre for a top team.


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