What they’re saying: Analysts weigh in on No. 11 K-State and No. 14 UCLA


“The Wildcats don’t want their regular-season-ending loss to Baylor in the pseudo-Big 12 title game to linger by dropping the Alamo Bowl, thus heading into the offseason with two straight defeats. More importantly, K-State will want to send Lockett, Waters, productive defensive end Ryan Mueller and the rest of the senior class out with a win. And the Wildcats can defend the Big 12’s reputation with a win over the Pac-12’s Bruins, adding to the intrigue and motivation for Bill Snyder’s team.”

– ESPN Big 12 reporter Jake Trotter on K-State’s motivation heading into the top-15 matchup

“The Wildcats demolished traditional power Michigan in last year’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but this is a matchup of top 15 teams and Kansas State is 0-3 in games against opponents in the final top 25 with two double-digit losses. Senior UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley finished 10th nationally in passer rating, but K-State receiver Tyler Lockett will be looking to end his career in style after being snubbed by the Biletnikoff Award. There’s not a better route runner in college football.”

– FOX Sports writer and analyst David Ubben on his evaluation of the matchup

“This was not the destination the Bruins desired. But their long-shot hopes of being the Pac-12’s representative in the four-team college football playoff evaporated in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28. So the Bruins will make their last stand – for the 2014 season – in San Antonio.”

– Chris Foster, UCLA beat writer for the Los Angeles Times

“With its pick of a handful of Pac-12 South teams, the Alamo chose UCLA, perhaps on the strength of its victories over both USC and Arizona State. There’s little doubt the Bruins are more talented, but this is just the sort of team that might give them trouble — sound, disciplined and having committed only 51 penalties to UCLA’s 89. The Wildcats also turned it over only 11 times in 2014. The K-State run game isn’t much, so the offense leans on quarterback Jake Waters’ 66 percent completion rate and Tyler Lockett’s 1,351 yards in receptions.”

– Bud Withers, columnist for the Seattle Times

“Bill Snyder is all Wildcat. He is completing his 23rd season as the head coach of Kansas State and does not look to be slowing down. Despite an ever evolving Big 12 conference, he has always had his team grounded and ready for any challenge ahead of him.”

– Mike W.R., Go Joe Bruin

“In Kansas State, however, UCLA will face a much taller task to reach that 10-win threshold than it did in El Paso last season, when it stomped Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl, 42-12. Before their loss to Baylor on Saturday, the Wildcats had lost to only TCU and Auburn and were still in the running for the Big 12 title – with a small shot of sneaking into the playoff. With one of the Big 12’s top defenses and an offense led by senior Jake Waters, one of the conference’s best quarterbacks, the Wildcats still made a legitimate case to be selected for one of the New Year’s Six bowls, keeping it close with Baylor. But the committee opted for Arizona to fill the final spot – a choice that cemented both UCLA and Kansas State’s trip to San Antonio.”

– Ryan Kartje, UCLA beat writer for the Orange County Register