Week 11 is upon us. While all eyes have turned to basketball at schools with lesser football programs like k-state, Mizzou, and Nebraska, football remains king at KU, home of the two game winning streak overall, and one game winning streak versus the Cornhuskers. This week's games-too bad last week's game can't linger just a little longer-are as follows, with IQ (i.e., Interest Quotient: *=Mizzou vs. Baylor; *****=a Mack Brown vs. Vince Young whine-off):
1. KU +34.5 @ Texas****
The first time in history in which the previous year's winner is seeking revenge. Vince Young says Mangino disrespected him and his coaches by pointing out that UT was outplayed and out-coached last year. (News flash: the next time Mack Brown out-coaches anyone will be the first time. And a 20+ point favorite having to rely on a dishonest call to defeat a 4-7 team? If that's not being outplayed, what is?) Young says the Longhorns intend to dominate the game to teach Mangino a lesson.
The good news is that Young's whining means either that UT (a) is not taking KU seriously and grasping at straws for artificial motivation that will disappear after the first few plays; or (b) is seriously focused on Mangino-which is a distraction-rather than focusing on playing football.
Either way, KU has the psychological advantage.
KU also has the defensive advantage-though not a great one.
And, although I have at times been critical of Mangino's game management skills, he has the advantage in this category over Brown.
Unfortunately, that's where the advantages end. UT has a huge recruiting advantage, a huge offensive advantage, a substantial depth advantage (which will play a factor late in the game in the 80 degree heat), a slight special teams advantage, and the home field advantage.
KU could win this game if (a) UT agreed to trade QB's, or (b) it were played in Lawrence.
Unfortunately, neither will happen.
UT should win this game by 14-17 points.
They are giving 34.5. That's about 17 too many against the conference's best defense (and No. 5 D in the country). To cover, UT will need serious help from KU's offense in the form of 2-3 gift-wrapped TD's. Could happen-Swanson does make some ill-advised throws. But that's not the way to bet.
2. Texas A&M +13 @ Oklahoma**
A&M lost by 77 the last time it journeyed to Norman. Of course, that OU team was far superior to this one. And as bad as A&M is, it is hard to see how they are much worse than Franchione's first team. Still, they aren't 64 points closer to OU.
3. Baylor +8 @ Mizzou*
Two teams both headed in the wrong direction-notwithstanding the fact that it is their normal direction. Baylor will not quit. In fact, they play better on the road than at home. Mizzou will be at home for the first time in three weeks and relishing it.
4. k-state +6 @ Nebraska*1/2
How the mighty have fallen. Another game involving two teams on a downward spiral. For the lack of a better reason, I will go with the home team to be lifted up by its fans.
5. Colorado -2.5 @ Iowa St****
Iowa St is clicking on all cylinders-if you put much stock in pounding A&M and k-state in consecutive weeks. Colorado has not been impressive on the road. Yes, you can excuse lopsided losses to Miami and Texas, but they needed a fluke to avoid OT in Manhattan.
6. Texas Tech -23 @ Okie St**
Okie St has shown that it can score a little. Can they score 33? That's what they will need to stay within the spread vs. Tech's spread offense.
7. Northwestern +18 @ Ohio St***1/2
Ohio St's D is comparable to KU's. Northwestern's offense is good enough to score 17 against anyone. Can its D hold Ohio St under 35? Close call.
8. Michigan St +5.5 @ Minnesota*** The underachiever game of the week. Earlier in the season, both looked like legitimate BCS threats (although it was always just a matter of time until Masonota folded). Looks like an even game to me. The Gophers have the home field, but the Spartans get the points.
9. Iowa +1.5 @ Wisconsin***
The Badgers are licking their wounds after the beating Penn St put on them last week. A word of warning: Don't cross a wounded badger. Especially one protecting its home turf.
10. Navy +23.5 @ Notre Dame**1/2
It is now safe to root for Navy to end its 41 game losing streak to Notre Dame. Unfortunately, this N team is a little better than the one from Lincoln.
11. Auburn +3 @ Georgia****
Georgia is senior laden and at home.
12. Southern Cal -19 @ Cal****1/2
Cal is the last team to beat USC. That was two years ago. Last year, they were inches away from repeating that feat. USC will be crazy if they are not ready for this game. The Trojans will score early and often. So will Cal. Northern Cal won't win, but it will be an entertaining game.
13. Arizona St +3.5 @ UCLA****
How is UCLA's psyche after getting run out of Arizona by supposedly the weaker of the two Arizona PAC 10ers? Too bad for ASU this game wasn't scheduled for last week. They might have been the first team to take out UCLA. They won't be the second.
14. LSU -3 @ Alabama*****
It doesn't get much better than this. An SEC matchup in which the No. 3 team in the nation, undefeated and playing at home, is the underdog. Don't think that the Crimson Tide and its fans won't be rabid. It is LSU that will be seeing red.
15. Florida -4 @ South Carolina****
Steve Spurrier at home against his alma mater. Urban Meyer vs. his predecessor (albeit one time removed). There will be no punches pulled. There will be more tricks than David Copperfield could ever imagine. The Old Ball Coach pulls one out of the hat.
The streak is dead. Long live the streak.