Archive for Tuesday, October 17, 1995

WINS OVER NU, OU COULD ADD LUSTER TO KU-K-STATE SHOWDOWN

October 17, 1995

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All this talk of sunflower power could come to an abrupt halt this weekend.

No. 7 Kansas and No. 8 Kansas State, off to concurrent 6-0 football starts for the first time ever, take on two of the Big Eight's big three on Saturday. KU will travel to No. 15 Oklahoma, while K-State will play at No. 2 Nebraska.

Both Kansas schools are considered underdogs. OU is a six-point favorite, while NU is a 26-point favorite.

And their games will be televised for all the world -- or at least the region -- to see. KU-OU will air on ESPN, while KSU-NU will be shown on ABC regional TV. It's the first time ever that both schools have been televised on the same day in a non-KU-KSU matchup.

"These are two really big games coming up this Saturday," KU senior outside linebacker Keith Rodgers understated Monday as the student-athlete representative on the Big Eight coaches' teleconference. "Depending on the outcome of the Saturday coming up, I think the bowl picture can start to become clearer."

The bowl picture for the Sunflower State is rosy but muddled. Both schools already have the requisite wins to qualify for a postseason bowl, but their destinations are unknown. For now, at least, both are on course to land a berth to the Fiesta Bowl, this year's national championship game.

And if the underdogs win Saturday, KU-K-State looms large. The Jayhawks will play in Manhattan a week from Saturday.

ABC reportedly is awaiting the outcome of this weekend's games to announce its schedule for Oct. 28. If Colorado beats Iowa State and NU beats the Wildcats, ABC almost certainly will televise NU-CU. But if KU and K-State win Saturday, the Sunflower Showdown of two unbeatens likely will make the tube. ESPN's plans are unknown.

"There's a lot of pressure on these two Kansas teams," Rodgers said. "People don't believe these two programs are for real. I think some people think it's a fluke."

Both programs have a shot at legitimacy this weekend. Both played cupcake nonconference schedules. KU's nonconference opponents are a combined 8-16, while K-State's are 8-18.

Both are 2-0 in the Big Eight, but K-State's wins came over Oklahoma State and Missouri (a combined 3-9), while the Jayhawks beat Iowa State (2-4) and No. 9 Colorado (5-1), the only victory over a ranked team between them.

Kickoff for K-State-Nebraska is 2:30 p.m. KU and OU will kick off at 6:30.

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