Kansas University's football team has ridden a no-respect theme to a 6-0 start and No. 7 national ranking.
This week, the Jayhawks had to look long and hard for an underdog angle against Oklahoma.
National rankings? Nope. OU comes in ranked No. 15 in the polls, eight slots below the Jayhawks.
Momentum? Sorry. OU is 1-1-1 in its last three outings, while the Jayhawks are riding a seven-game winning streak, dating back to the last game last season.
Infuriating remarks from the opposition? Nuh-uh. The Sooners and first-year coach Howard Schnellenberger are busy spouting the company line about how honored they are to play a team the caliber of Kansas.
Oddsmakers? Bingo. OU enters as a six-point favorite.
"We're 6-0 and still nobody gives us any respect," KU senior inside linebacker Dick Holt said. "It's hard to understand why we don't get no respect. We're 5 1/2-point underdogs to OU. That's something we'll have to deal with."
That's not all the Jayhawks (6-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Eight) will have to deal with Saturday when they meet the Sooners (4-1-1, 1-1). Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. at Owen Field. The game will be televised live on ESPN, cable channel 18.
To hear Holt tell it, the Jayhawks are out to upend the public perception.
"I think there's more pressure on us," he said. "I think some people think we're living some kind of a dream instead of reality."
There is an air of unreality to it. KU is off to its best start since 1968. Holt said Sunflower State pride is on the line Saturday, when KU and Kansas State take on two of the Big Eight's big three. K-State, also 6-0, will travel to No. 2 Nebraska.
"People say, 'Look at KU and K-State. They're 6-0 but they're not as good as Florida or Florida State,'" Holt said. "That's just because we don't have that kind of tradition. To a certain point, I think some of those teams are living in the past. Their rankings are a reflection of what they've done in the past. Of course, we don't have a past ... except for a long time ago."
It was a long time ago -- 1975, to be exact -- that KU last won in Norman. It's an inhospitable place.
"I don't think it's a more hostile place than Boulder (Colo.)," Holt said. "But I went down one time to see Oklahoma play Nebraska. It was a mad house."
Mad house or not, KU coach Glen Mason claimed to be immune to the Sooners' rowdies.
"I've always liked going down there," Mason said. "It's a great college football atmosphere, a colorful crowd, a knowledgeable crowd. I'm sure they'll be enthusiastic for our game.
"It's funny. I'm one of those guys where it doesn't bother me playing home or away, day or night. It really doesn't bother me. I've got some guys on the staff it bothers. Like Howard (Schnellenberger) said, let's go play in the parking lot. Something happens to their field, let's go down to the park and play."
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