Kansas not fretting big matchup

Monday, September 8, 2008 | 8:37 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A season after his team was criticized for playing a soft schedule en route to a victory in the Orange Bowl, Kansas coach Mark Mangino says this week's matchup with South Florida isn't as important as it might seem.

"I think this is a good measuring stick to some degree," Mangino said during Monday's Big 12 Conference coaches teleconference. "But I don't think that it's a game where, if we win, we feel like we're going to win all the rest, and if we lose, we're going to have a bad season."

The Bulls, who reached as high as No. 2 in the polls last season, enter the game at No. 18, five spots below the Jayhawks, and feature one of the nation's best dual-threat quarterbacks in Matt Grothe. Coaching in the Big 12's marquee game on Saturday, Mangino says it's too early for a game to hold as much weight as the media might suggest it does.

"Unless it's the end of the year and you're playing for all the marbles, I don't think that any one game can really make or break a season," he said.


Texas hosts Arkansas on Saturday in a game that coach Mack Brown said should give Big 12 fans a nice history lesson. Up until the early '90s, the Razorbacks and Longhorns were conference rivals in the now-defunct Southwest Conference, and most notably played as the No. 1 and 2 teams in the "Game of the Century" in 1969, one attended by then-President Richard Nixon and won by the No. 1 Longhorns.

"(This game) gets a lot of things written about those old players and old teams that wouldn't be written if we weren't playing this game," Brown said.


On Saturday, after scoring a touchdown that brought Washington to within a point of No. 15 BYU, Huskies quarterback Jack Locker tossed the ball over his head and jumped into the arms of a teammate in celebration. Because of the new celebration rules enacted over the summer, Locker's display was flagged, and Washington was forced to kick the extra point after being penalized 15 yards. The kick was blocked, and BYU held on for the 28-27 win. The new celebration rules have been a point of contention among coaches, and several were asked for their thoughts on Monday.

Texas' Brown said he would like to see the rule changed a little bit.

"As long as you're not doing something to embarrass the other team or bring attention to yourself, I'd like to see where there's a little bit more judgment of the official involved," he said.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose team plays Washington this week, was the victim of a controversial call on an onside kick against another Pac-10 team, Oregon, in 2006. Stoops said he saw Saturday's play, but said he didn't feel it would be appropriate to comment.


For the first time in the 12-year existence of the conference, Big 12 teams went 12-0 on the weekend. Texas A&M was the only team to win by less than seven points, and did so without their starting quarterback, Stephen McGee, who was injured in the first quarter of the Aggies' 28-22 win over New Mexico.


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