Bill Snyder is one of the most respected head coaches in college football. What he's done at once-dormant Kansas State has been remarkable. But during his second tenure with the Wildcats, Coach Snyder and his troops haven’t managed to win a bowl game.
The 'Cats are 0-3 both straight up and against the spread the last three seasons.
Kansas State will try to put an end to that streak when they take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
Point spread: Wildcats opened as three-point Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl favorites; the total was 56.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 36.2-33.8 Wildcats
Why the Wolverines can cover the spread
Big Blue started 5-0 this season with wins over Notre Dame and a good Minnesota team. And while they lost five of their last seven games, three of those losses came by a total of 10 points.
Michigan also put on an inspired performance against rival (and then undefeated) Ohio State in the season finale, losing only after failing on a 2-point conversion in the final seconds 42-41.
The Wolverines didn't quite play up to expectations this season, but they showed what they are capable of against the Buckeyes. Also, Michigan has played well in its two bowls under Coach Brady Hoke.
Two years ago, they defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, while last year they lost in the waning moments to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. And they can cover because Kansas State seems unable to do so, as their 1-8 ATS run in bowl action proves.
Why the Wildcats can cover the spread
Kansas State only had 10 starters back from the team that won the Big 12 title last year, and while the 'Cats struggled early in the year, they're back in a bowl for the fourth straight season.
Kansas State started 2-4, as it dealt with a quarterback situation, but has won five of its last six games. The Wildcats have lost five times this season, but gave Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma, all pretty good teams, tough games.
Kansas State has averaged 181 yards on the ground this year, 221 yards through the air, and its defense ranks in the top 40 in several key categories. The Wildcats are only 7-5, but Coach Snyder has done another good job guiding a young team through a tough season and into another bowl.
This game matches two teams who were headed in different directions when the regular season ended. Michigan started well, but faded, while Kansas State started slowly, but got better as the season progressed.
Also, Wolverines QB Devin Gardner is dealing with a foot injury. While he'll probably play in this bowl, his mobility could be limited.
No member of this Wildcats team has won a bowl game, but that should change Dec. 28. Give the points and go with Kansas State.
For totals bettors, the history of Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl betting shows a trend to the OVER, much like Michigan’s recent bowl history.
- OVER is 11-4 past 15 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowls (formerly Insight Bowl)
- OVER is 11-2 past 13 Michigan bowl games
- Kansas State 1-8 ATS past nine bowl games