Members of the local Pessimist Breakfast Club — they know who they are — between complaints about the texture of the eggs and the weakness of the coffee undoubtedly are grousing about how, if the Kansas University football team can’t defeat reeling Colorado, then it’s curtains for KU on Saturday against Oklahoma.
Here’s what the eternal pessimists are missing: This Kansas offense more closely resembles a typical Sooners offense than this year’s injury-torn Oklahoma unit does.
The Sooners don’t have their usual platoon of healthy, long, fast wideouts burning down the field. Kansas has the NCAA leader in receiving yards (Dezmon Briscoe, 134.2 per game) and the nation’s No. 2 receiver in terms of catches per game (Kerry Meier, nine).
Kansas doesn’t have the huge, dominant offensive line to match that of Oklahoma’s from a year ago, but again, the Sooners don’t have that sort of O-Line either.
Two of the past six Heisman Trophy winners — Sam Bradford (2008) and Jason White (2003) — played quarterback for OU, but if a 2009 Heisman Trophy candidate plays Saturday in Memorial Stadium his name will be Todd Reesing.
Again, if Briscoe had come down with what would have been a spectacular catch on the final play of the game in Boulder, then Reesing has his Heisman moment, which would have been the capper on a 59-second, 75-yard drive, and he vaults to the front of the Heisman pack. Instead Briscoe couldn’t hang onto it and Reesing fades to long-shot status. Fair or not, one play can make that much difference.
Reesing, who tore off his redshirt at halftime of the Colorado game as a freshman, finished his career 3-1 against the Buffaloes. This night belonged to Tyler Hansen, who fired up the Folsom Field crowd with relentless energy KU’s fans need to bring Saturday.
“The quarterback for Colorado was the difference-maker today,” KU coach Mark Mangino said after the game. “It’s unfortunate they picked this week to take his redshirt off, but I think they found their quarterback, that’s for sure.”
Consider it payback for Mangino taking Reesing’s redshirt off against CU. Why, when Hansen clearly is a superior quarterback to Cody Hawkins, did Colorado coach Dan Hawkins not have Hansen, a sophomore, as his starter the moment he stepped on campus? Simple answer: Hansen’s not related to the coach.
Oklahoma’s quarterback change hasn’t been as fruitful. After Bradford re-injured his shoulder, red-shirt freshman Landry Jones struggled to get anything going against the Texas defense Saturday. Barring a shocking recovery by Bradford in time to play Saturday, Kansas will face Jones. The difference between Bradford and Jones is as substantial as the gap between Hawkins and Hansen.
OU certainly has some advantageous matchups — its running backs are far quicker than KU’s linebackers, its defensive linemen much quicker than the Kansas blockers — but the hunch here is the team with the better quarterback wills its way to a victory Saturday. Kansas 28, Oklahoma 24.