Cowboy Up

By Adam Caparell - November 09, 2007

Kansas is 9-0 for the first time since 1908 and has their sights set on not only a BCS bowl, but the national championship game if they win their remaining four games and things break right. But the first step toward the improbable starts Saturday in Stillwater where the Jayhawks take on a dangerous Oklahoma State team. Is this where it comes crashing down for Kansas? Possibly, but most especially if they play defense like they did last week against Nebraska.

The nation's seventh best defense, and the Big 12's best, allowed 484 yards of total offense to the lowly Cornhuskers and an astounding 405 yards through the air. So based on their last showing a prevailing thought is that Kansas could be exploited via the pass by Zac Robinson and the Cowboys, owners of one of the most balanced offenses in the country. Mark Mangino, not surprisingly, doesn't subscribe to that theory.

"There are no concerns. They are all correctable things. We had a few communication breakdowns," Mangino said of last week's season worst defensive performance. "We understand that can happen and how to deal with that. I thought our defensive coaches made excellent adjustments at the half and our kids understood and consequently we forced four turnovers in a row. Every phase of our team can get better. One of the things is that we need to get a better rush with four (linemen) and that's something that we will work on. We can't give the quarterback a whole lot of time to throw the ball."

Robinson has quietly become one of the most efficient passers in the country and just set the Cowboys single game record for total offense in last week's tough loss to Texas. Oklahoma coach Mike Gundy will tell you that Robinson has "a ways to go to develop to be what I'd call a really good quarterback at this level," but he's only a sophomore who figures to put the loss to the Longhorns behind him rather quickly. After all, he is facing the No. 5 team in the nation - No. 4 in the BCS - at home.

"The one thing that will work to our advantage this week is that it's not everyday that you get to play a team ranked (so high) in the BCS," Gundy said. "I would think our team would be excited about playing a team as highly regarded as they are and more importantly than that is we play for a reason, competition and the game."

Weekly Picks

Last Week: 3-2 | Season: 23-27

No. 16 UConn (+6) over Cincinnati
Huskies are big road dogs against a good Cincinnati team that did a number to USF, but I think UConn's magic continues for at least another week. Turnovers will be huge in this one - both defenses are very opportunistic so whoever wins the turnover battle wins this one.

Ohio State (-15) over Illinois
Illinois' offense is not nearly dynamic enough to beat the Buckeyes. They're going to run it plenty, but the only problem is they're going up against one of the best rushing defenses in the country that's allowing a paltry 2.1 yards per carry. The Illinois defense has played well and if they can get to Todd Boeckman and rattle him a little then things could be different. But Ohio State has been playing on a different level compared to Illinois.

No. 10 Georgia (-2) over No. 18 Auburn
Road team has traditionally been the winner in this one - for whatever rhyme or reason in the series' 111 year history. But Georgia is the pick because of how well the offense has been playing the past few weeks. Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno have been great. Turnovers will be key for Auburn. They're +10 in the T.O. margin when they win and -7 when they lose. But Tommy Tuberville is 9-2 against Top 10 opponents. That is cause for concern along with the Tigers having won six of their last seven in Sanford Stadium.

Oklahoma State (+6) over No. 5 Kansas
Kansas' bubble has to burst at some point and this is the game. Why? Look at their home and road splits. They play phenomenal at home yet have beaten their three road opponents by an average of roughly six points. They've lost five straight to the Cowboys and own a defense - that while may be statistically impressive - is ripe for the picking.

No. 12 USC (-4) over No. 24 Cal
Not what we thought it would be before the season began, but just for the hell of it...The Trojans are big winners because they'll shred that suspect Cal defense. Joe McKnight should rack up plenty of yards in this one. Only way Cal is close is if they can get some pressure on John David Booty and so far this season they've pretty much been the worst team in the Pac-10 to do that. Trojans are 21-0 in November under Pete Carroll.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 06:54 PM on November 09, 2007
Comments (3)


Come on Caparell, drink the blue cool-aid! All the crazy kids are doing it!

Jayhawks 36
OK ST 28

Anyone need a nice refreshing drink of blue cool-aid?

Come on! The Jayhawks are fore real!

Anyone need a nice refreshing drink of blue cool-aid?

Come on! The Jayhawks are fore real!

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