The Kansas State Wildcats take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Check out our college football odds series for our Kansas State Oklahoma prediction and pick.
This game is personal for Brent Venables. The Oklahoma Sooners' head coach was an understudy of Kansas State program icon Bill Snyder, who led Kansas State from complete ineptitude and irrelevance to top-tier college football prominence in the 1990s. Kansas State was a laughingstock and a basketball school when Snyder took over. He turned the program into a top-10-level school. KSU very nearly reached the BCS National Championship Game in the 1998 college football season. The Wildcats would have made the game if they had beaten Texas A&M in overtime in the 1998 Big 12 Championship Game. Venables learned a lot about college football under Snyder. Now, in his first season as a college head coach, he goes against the Wildcats.
Brent Venables learned about football not just under Bill Snyder, but also under Bob Stoops. Snyder was an assistant coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes under legendary head coach Hayden Fry at the same time Stoops played for Fry in the early 1980s. Venables, Stoops, Snyder, and Fry are part of an interconnected community of coaches which is part of the same coaching tree. This is a very special and meaningful game for Venables, who could have become the head coach at Kansas State if he wanted the job, but who instead waited for the Oklahoma job and got what he wanted when Lincoln Riley left for USC.
Kansas State is coming off a stunning 17-10 home-field loss to Tulane. KSU was a 14-point favorite entering that game. Oklahoma just pounded Nebraska, 49-14, on the road, a much better performance than a sluggish win over Kent State one week earlier. Was Kansas State looking past Tulane, or are the Wildcats simply not that good a team? That question might get answered in this game against Oklahoma.
One of the key plot points of this game is Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez. He transferred from Nebraska this past offseason. Last year, Martinez and Nebraska played Oklahoma, scoring only 16 points in a loss. Martinez has at least seen this Oklahoma defense, but the complication is that he saw a Lincoln Riley defense (coached by Alex Grinch, the Sooners' defensive coordinator in 2021). This is a Brent Venables defense, which poses a much bigger challenge, given how great Venables was as Dabo Swinney's defensive coordinator at Clemson over the past decade.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Kansas State-Oklahoma College Football odds.
College Football Odds: Kansas State-Oklahoma Odds
Kansas State Wildcats: +13 (-108)
Oklahoma Sooners: -13 (-112)
Over: 53.5 (-108)
Under: 53.5 (-112)
Why Kansas State Could Cover the Spread
Kansas State, win or lose, is usually a thorn in Oklahoma's side. Kansas State has the deliberate pace of play and the slow, controlled style which tries to keep the ball away from Oklahoma's high-powered offense. The Wildcats don't need to play a great game to keep it close. They just need to convert a lot of third downs and keep the ball away from OU, even if they don't score a lot. Playing decent, competent defense in tandem with a ball-control offense can frustrate Oklahoma and keep the game close enough for the Wildcats to cover.
Why Oklahoma Could Cover the Spread
After the beatdown of Nebraska, Oklahoma players should be able to see that the Brent Venables blueprint is successful. It works. Players inheriting a new coaching staff need to see proof of concept. Sooner players definitely got that against Nebraska. That effort should flow into this game.
Final Kansas State-Oklahoma Prediction & Pick
Adrian Martinez is not a good quarterback. Oklahoma should get a few takeaways from him and ultimately pull away.
Final Kansas State-Oklahoma Prediction & Pick: Oklahoma -13