REAL Standings: It's KU's title to lose--and they're trying. .

The REAL Standings seem a bit SUR-real after Wednesday night's effort--or lack thereof--by the Kinda Big Blue. Yes, KU is still leading the pack both in the REAL Standings and the newspaper standings, and yes, the Big 12 conference championship is still KU's to lose. The problem is, they almost look like losing it is no their goal, since doing so will almost be more of a challenge than winning it.

Only two changes of any significance in this edition of the REAL Standings. OU picks up half a game by brining A&M back to reality in College Station. That was an at-risk game for the Sooners, considering how A&M played UT at home.

However, OU, as well as KU, back up half a game by re-characterizing all games in Manhattan as at-risk games for contenders. True, a 20 point victory over Mizzou doesn't mean what it used to, but KU's four victories combined have been by only 7 more points than k-state's margin in that game. Not to mention that k-state took NU to double OT at Lincoln. Pretty impressive compared to the KBB's dodge of a Big Red bullet at home in the form of a wide open game winning three-pointer--the kind of shot k-state and NU traded like baseball cards 11 days earlier when the game was on the line. Fortunately, NU couldn't pull one of those shots out of the hat Wednesday night at the buzzer with the mystique of Allen Fieldhouse thrown into the equation.

In other words, only Baylor and CU are now considered automatic road wins for contenders.

The only other early week game had no effect on the REAL Standings, as Texas downed OSU in Austin as projected.

A monster game, however, is on tap this Saturday as UT takes on OU in Norman. As are all home games--particularly against other contenders--this is a Must Win game for the Sooners.

The midweek REAL Standings on 1/20/05 are:

1. 13-3

KU: Projected losses: at OU At risk games Games: at NU, Mizzou, Tech, k-state Key past games (W at ISU)

2. 12-4

OU: Projected losses: at OSU, UT At risk games: at ISU, MU, Tech, k-state Key past games (W at A&M)

OSU: Projected losses at KU, OU At risk games: at NU, A&M Key past games (W at Tech, L at Texas)

4. 11.5-4.5

Texas: Projected losses: at KU, OSU, OU At risk games: at Tech Key past games (L at A&M, W at NU)

Saturday's Big 12 games, rated on a scale of 1-5 stars (5 being cancel everything, but watch this game, and 1 being keep the game on in the background as an insomnia cure):

***NU at MU (12:30p.m.) (If NU had anything to do with making Wednesday's game a nailbiter in Lawrence, they should be able to take out Mizzou in Columbia. Note: My money's on Mizzou)

**Baylor at Okie State (12:30p.m.) (Yes, Baylor is improved, but not enough to give an angry OSU team a run for its money in Stillwater. The second star is the interest factor in seeing exactly what OSU can do this year to an out-manned team when it's mad)

*****Texas at OU (2:45p.m.) (It's not at the Cotton Bowl, but it's still Texas/Oklahoma--and Texas even has a chance in a Barnes/Sampson Battle of Wits, seeing as how both coaches in this sport have wits)

***k-state at A&M (3:00p.m.) (Report Card time for both programs--which one is a fraud and which is for REAL. Or are both frauds--or for REAL?)

*CU at ISU (7:00p.m.) (Good night for a movie. Might I suggest Hotel Rwanda?)

--Mark

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