Heisman Favorites Meet As West Virginia Hosts Kansas State
By: Michael Robinson
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Two of the biggest Heisman Trophy favorites, quarterbacks Geno Smith of West Virginia and Collin Klein of Kansas State, meet up in Morgantown for a great encounter on Saturday night.
This is the first meeting between the schools since 1931.
The Don Best Pro Odds have West Virginia down to 3-point home favorites after opening at -4. The total is 71½ in an expected shootout and FOX will have the Big 12 broadcast at 7:00 p.m. (ET) from Mountaineer Field.
Smith is the heavy -250 favorite in the current Heisman odds. Klein and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller are the closest behind (both +600), followed by USC’s Matt Barkley (+700). That means a quarterback will almost assuredly win for the third year in a row and 10th time in the last 12.
The Mountaineers (5-1 straight up, 2-4 against the spread) were one of the most watched teams in college football to start the year with critics wondering how they would fare in their move from the Big East to Big 12.
Coach Dana Holgorsen’s guys started out conference play with wild wins over ranked Baylor (70-63) and Texas (48-45), but imploded last week at Texas Tech, a 49-14 loss as 3-point favorites. The Red Raiders got 499 passing yards and six TDs from their quarterback Seth Doege.
Smith threw for 275 yards, but only completed 52.7 percent of his passes with one touchdown. He still has 25 TDs versus no picks on the season and 2,271 passing yards overall, but he needs to deliver every week for West Virginia to win.
The Mountaineers’ scoring offense still ranks seventh in the nation (45.7 YPG), with the passing attack carrying most of the load. The scoring defense is way down at 109th (37.3 PPG) and almost every team in the Big 12 can score as WVU is painfully starting to find out.
Kansas State (6-0 SU, 4-1-1 ATS) has skyrocketed to No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches after being towards the bottom of the top-25 in the preseason. West Virginia has plummeted to No. 17 in the AP and No. 15 in the Coaches after the Texas Tech defeat.
The Don Best Linemakers Poll has less than two points separating them with 11th-ranked Kansas State (116.1) ahead of 16th-ranked West Virginia (114.5).
The senior Klein has been one of the most underrated players in the country since last year, except to those who have seen him play. He’s a true dual-threat who is second on the team in rushing yards (510), but has also seen his passing accuracy improve (66.9 percent for 1,074 yards).
Kansas State ranks towards the bottom nationally in passing yards, but Klein’s efficiency rating (159.6) is 20th. The rushing offense is 11th overall at 248.5 YPG with diminutive junior John Hubert (606 yards) also extremely dangerous.
The Wildcats proved they were for real with a 24-19 win as 15½-point ‘dogs at Oklahoma on September 22. Their offense isn’t quite as explosive as West Virginia, but the defense is giving up just 16.5 PPG (ranked 19th).
The home and away ATS trends also favor Kansas State. The team is 6-0-1 in its last seven away, while West Virginia is 1-5 ATS in its last six at home.