It is the last bowl game of the slate, after all the big New Year’s Day games and the College Football Playoff semifinals. This is the Texas Bowl.
The only game after this is the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Indianapolis on Monday, January 10.
Kansas State and LSU try to build momentum heading into 2022. Which team is the best option for college football picks?
- Game: Kansas State (7-5) vs. LSU (6-6)
- Location: NRG Stadium (Houston)
- Day/Time: Tuesday, January 4 – 9:00 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Kansas State Wildcats vs. LSU Tigers
Will Wildcats Offensive Line Hold Up?
The Wildcats played great defense all season. including their most recent outing. They allowed just 22 points to Texas (a team that had scored over 50 points earlier in the season against Kansas and over 45 points against Oklahoma).
Yet, their offense bogged down in a 22-17 defeat. Kansas State was vulnerable against teams with strong defensive lines. The Cats had lost a week before the Texas game to Baylor by a 20-10 score.
Without an offensive line that could dominate at the point of attack, Kansas State lacked the high-end skill-position talent to change the equation against Texas. Kansas State has a reputation as a good-defense, little-offense team.
The Wildcats know where they need to evolve in 2022. This game will try to point them in the right direction.
Kansas State has a clean injury report. Crucially, none of the Kansas State seniors on the roster are opting out of this game.
They will all play in the Texas Bowl before any of them try to enter the NFL draft and pursue a pro career.
Tigers Rallied to Make Bowl Season
LSU rallied late to beat Texas A&M and former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. This was the last game for Ed Orgeron as LSU’s head coach. Orgeron won the national championship at LSU in 2019 but then quickly lost hold of the program.
Orgeron savored an emotional win in his last game at Tiger Stadium. A defense that had been shredded in the first two months of the season rallied in November to become a legitimately strong unit.
That LSU defense made key plays to prevent Texas A&M from pulling away, giving the Tigers an opening late in regulation, which they promptly pounced on.
Bowl games are often occasions in which the injury report is less of a concern than who has opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.
Defensive tackle Neil Farrell and star linebacker Damone Clark won’t play for LSU due to opt-out decisions. The other big question is if freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier will be allowed to play. LSU asked for a waiver so that Nussmeier could play this game without burning his redshirt for the 2021 season.
There has been no decision as of yet, which would seem to indicate that Nussmeier’s appeal will not be granted. It’s not guaranteed, but that’s how one would likely evaluate this situation at this point.
Betting on the Game
These teams met only one time, in September of 1980. LSU won, 21-0. LSU made a head coaching change after the 1979 season, replacing Charlie McClendon with Bo Rein.
In January of 1980, returning from a recruiting trip, Rein died in a plane accident. Jerry Stovall took over for LSU and guided the Tigers to a win over Kansas State.
With LSU’s quarterback situation unresolved and with Nussmeier unlikely to play, the Tigers will have to go with a walk-on quarterback. It is hard to deny how damaging that will be for LSU and their NCAA odds.
Take Kansas State on the moneyline in the sportsbook and go for the under as well if you bet online. If Nussmeier plays or if you think there’s still a chance he will be allowed to play, wait for a firm and final report before making a play here.