WILLIAMS: Why Farmogeddon’s the perfect rivalry game & weekly Big 12 picks

Nov 30, 2019; Manhattan, KS, USA; Iowa State Cyclones tight end Charlie Kolar (88) reacts after a touchdown by running back Breece Hall (28) in the third quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I have always thoroughly enjoyed the Iowa State / Kansas State football rivalry. After what went down this summer (Big 12 Missile Crisis 3.0), I have come to appreciate it even more. 

Tim Fitzgerald, the longtime publisher of, was on my radio show earlier this week when he made a great point. In the “new” Big 12, this annual game might be a staple of a league that is trying to find its identity. I had never thought about that, but love the perspective. 

Unofficially tabbed “Farmageddon” by the fans years ago, Iowa State vs. Kansas State is a series between like-minded land-grant institutions that understand each other’s cultures. This bond goes beyond the gridiron, specifically highlighting the agricultural background in both Ames and Manhattan alike. 

The fifth-longest running rivalry in all of college football, Iowa State and Kansas State have battled it out for 105 years in a row. The series dates back to a fateful Saturday in 1917 when the Cyclones topped the Wildcats via a 10-7 shootout in Ames. 

Amazingly, over the course of over a century, the series is nearly dead even. Iowa State holds the all-time series lead 51-49-4, although K-State has controlled it for most of my adult life. 

When these blue-collar programs tango on Saturday evening (6:30 on ESPN2) in Manhattan, there will be nothing friendly about this rivalry. But leading up to kickoff and as soon as the final gun sounds, you’ll see respect from fans, players and coaches on each side, which is exactly the way things are supposed to be. 

Cheers to you, K-State.

Weekly Big 12 Picks Against the Spread … 

Oklahoma State at Texas (-4) — A fascinating football game for a handful of reasons. How does Texas respond following its Red River choke job? Oklahoma State is the least respected undefeated left in the country. Are they being undervalued or are Mike Gundy’s Cowboys simply a grind-it-out type of program these days? I can’t wait to find out. THE PICK: Oklahoma State 27, Texas 24 

BYU at Baylor (-5.5) — The Jeff Grimes Bowl. Baylor’s offensive coordinator was at BYU just a year ago. Who holds the advantage here? Grimes knows BYU’s personnel and system quite well. However, BYU knows Grimes too. Two solid football teams here. Give me the home team to win a close one. THE PICK: Baylor 27, BYU 24

Texas Tech (-17.5) at Kansas —The one Big 12 game Kansas probably circled as a possible win before the season. That’s as far as I will go. THE PICK: Texas Tech 41, Kansas 17

TCU at Oklahoma (-13.5) — It’s been a wild week in Norman, following last Saturday’s comeback win in the Red River Shootout. Damn that student reporter. The Sooners have made limping past opponents a consistent theme so far in 2021. Will this offense finally break out or is another single-digit victory in hand? THE PICK: Oklahoma 34, TCU 24

Iowa State (-6.5) at Kansas State — Matt Campbell will check another box off during his Iowa State tenure – that being a win in Manhattan. THE PICK: Iowa State 31, Kansas State 21