The Kansas Jayhawks are still looking for their first conference win of the season as they visit the Texas Tech Raiders this week. Game time is set for 3:30 EST on Saturday, October 20, at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. The game can be seen on FS1.
The Red Raiders began the week as 17.5-point favorites. However, Texas Tech has received a majority of the betting action, pushing the line to -20.5. Click here to get the latest college football odds for this week’s action.
After losing their season opener to FCS program Nicholls State, the Jayhawks looked to be heading toward another nightmare of a season. However, that nightmare became merely a bad dream after Kansas scored back-to-back wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers.
Alas, it’s been the same old story for the Jayhawks since the start of Big 12 play. Kansas has lost three games in a row to Baylor, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia, with all three losses coming by double figures. Kansas is still searching for their first Big 12 win since November 2016. In search of answers, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham was fired during last week’s bye, leaving head coach David Beaty to do the play calling.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech sits at 4-2 after last week’s 17-14 road win over TCU. The Red Raiders have also scored wins this year over the likes of Houston and Oklahoma State, so they should feel good about where they sit midway through the season. Texas Tech needs just two more wins to secure a bowl birth, which could be a prerequisite for head coach Cliff Kingsbury keeping his job.
The caveat for the Red Raiders is that freshman quarterback Alan Bowman is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a partially collapsed lung during the team’s loss to West Virginia earlier this month. If he’s not ready to play against Kansas, Jett Duffey is likely the option after leading the team to a win against TCU. McLane Carter, who began the season as the starter, could factor into the equation, although he didn’t look fully recovered from an ankle injury during his cameo appearance last week.
Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Red Raiders will be going for their 12th straight win against the Jayhawks. During Kinsbury’s five years in Lubbock, Texas Tech has beaten Kansas by an average of 29 points, including last year’s 65-19 win in Lawrence.
Call me crazy, but I’m going to take a shot with Kansas covering the spread this week. The Jayhawks have actually lost all three Big 12 games this year by 20 points or less, so they haven’t been getting hammered by 35-50 points per game like in past seasons. They’ve also had an extra week to prepare for this game, so I’ll take my chances with Kansas finding a way to keep this game respectable.
More than anything, what worries me about this game is Texas Tech’s quarterback situation. It sounds like there’s a chance Bowman will be able to play. But let’s be honest, the Red Raiders would be a little foolish to risk playing him against Kansas, knowing they can probably beat the Jayhawks without him and not risk his health for the stretch run.
If Duffey is the starting quarterback, the Texas Tech offense changes considerably. He’s not the prototypical gunslinger we’ve seen with the Red Raiders in the past. He’s been a little spotty throwing the ball while filling in for Bowman the past two weeks but is much more dangerous with his legs. Duffey’s legs to add another dimension to the Texas Tech offense. However, if he can’t connect with his receivers on long pass plays, it’ll be harder for the Red Raiders to run up the score and cover.
Duffey has completed less than 60% of his passes each of the past two weeks. He’s also been held under 200 yards in each game. Obviously, the Kansas defense is several levels below the TCU defense that Duffey faced last week. But I’m still not sure it’s a lock that Duffey will be able to throw the ball all over the field against the Jayhawks.
The Kansas offense may deserve just an ounce of respect as well. The Jayhawks are going back with Peyton Bender at quarterback after he briefly lost the job to Carter Stanley. Bender took most of the snaps during the team’s wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers and put in a decent showing against West Virginia in their last game. If nothing else, Bender has six touchdowns and just one interception on the season. Also, keep in mind that the Texas Tech defense has had some ups and downs this year, so it’s tough to gauge if they’ll have a good showing or not.
In the end, I just have too many questions about Texas Tech to be confident in them winning by three touchdowns. With no assurance of who will play quarterback, this spread is too big for my liking, especially with the Jayhawks being slightly more respectable this season. I’ll lean toward Kansas to beat the spread, even if a road win is unlikely.