Kickoff for theKansas-Kansas State game is at 12:10 p.m. today.
The Sunflower Showdown's drawn 60, maybe 100 people to lunch at Johnny's Tavern in recent years.
Not this time.
"Normally, people would stay at home and watch it on TV," said Rick Renfro, a partner in the North Lawrence bar. "Now everybody's making plans. We've got luncheon tables reserved at noon.
"I mean, we're ranked sixth in the nation. We're ready to pack 245 people in here."
The Big Blue Club -- a dozen of Renfro's regulars -- already has reserved prime seats in front of Johnny's 9-foot projection TV screen, and the club isn't alone.
Planning ahead is the name of the game today in Lawrence, with residents, businesses and law-enforcement agencies all bracing for the clash of football powers using a common gameplan: preparation.
Take Bob Weigel. Since his Dillons store on Sixth Street opened in 1986, he's seen increased crowds of football fans rush into the store each weekend.
Now he orders extras of the essentials: beer, pop, hot dogs, hamburger, buns, chips and Kansas University souvenirs.
"We're prepared," said Weigel, the store manager who'll be sporting a KU T-shirt and necktie at work during the game. "We're ready. We're pumped. KU's gonna take 'em by 10 points."
Over at Patterson Liquor, 846 Ill., clerk Jerry Decker reports a 25 percent increase in keg reservations. The store boosted orders to make up for the blitz, which kicks off this morning.
"We're counting on a lot of pregame parties," he said.
KU police also are ready. A crew of officers will travel to Manhattan to provide additional security at KSU Stadium, plus assist other departments in Aggieville.
Police don't anticipate any problems here in Lawrence but will keep an eye out for trouble, Sgt. Rose Rozmiarek said. And that includes making sure the goal posts at Memorial Stadium remain in place.
The big event should come about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., when the football team is expected to return to campus for an informal rally outside Parrot Athletic Center.
"It's similar to the NCAAs," she said, referring to KU's basketball travels. "We plan for these things in advance."