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Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 1997

ALLEN STUMPS FOR BOWL BID

November 12, 1997

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If Kansas' football team beats Texas on Saturday, the Jayhawks still could stay home for the holidays.

If they do win and don't go bowling, first-year KU coach Terry Allen said, it would be a darned shame.

"I think anybody who goes through this league and becomes bowl-eligible should go to a bowl," Allen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "The difficulty week in and week out to line up with the competition we do puts us in the top group in the country."

The bottom line on the Big 12 bowl scenario is this: KU and Colorado are battling for the league's one remaining bowl berth. Nebraska, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M already have qualified for five of the Big 12's guaranteed six spots.

Both KU and CU have five wins and need six to become bowl-eligible. Kansas has one final shot to win its sixth -- on Saturday at Texas.

Colorado has two to play -- on Saturday at Kansas State and on Nov. 28 at home against Nebraska.

If both CU and KU get their sixth, one would get the Big 12-aligned berth (most likely the Insight.com Bowl, formerly the Copper), and the other would have to hope to be picked for an at-large bid to one of the independent bowls.

"If Kansas and Colorado are bowl-eligible," Allen said, "we'll have to wait and see. But our approach is, let's get our sixth win first."

The Jayhawks are receptive, Allen indicated.

"I think they're genuinely excited about it," Allen said. "They obviously know the importance of this game. They came into this season with a lot of questions, a new coach, whether they can do this or do that. But this is the light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. They were in good spirits (Sunday), talking about how important this game is. To be right here with this group, you have to be excited.

"I can't say I'm happy about where we're at, but I think I feel good about having an 11th game in which these players have something to play for."

Expect the Jayhawks to pull out all the stops to stop the struggling Longhorns.

"It's very safe to say that," Allen said. "We're at that juncture."

Against Kansas State last Saturday, Allen ran one offensive play with four defenders. Defensive backs Tony Blevins and Jason Harris lined up as wide receivers, and linebackers Ron Warner and Hanson Caston were blocking backs in a full-house backfield.

"We just want to get the best use of the personnel we have," Allen said. "We just want to put the best people on the field."

Kickoff for KU-Texas will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns, losers of four straight, are eight-point favorites.

"It's the last home game for our seniors, so it should be special week for us," embattled UT coach John Mackovic said. "We know a win will give (the Jayhawks) six victories and will give them a chance to be in a bowl game. They definitely have a lot to play for."

-- Andrew Hartsock's phone message number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is hartsock@ljworld.com.

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