No. 2 Oklahoma is challenging for a national championship.
Kansas is competing to earn a bowl berth.
Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino served as an assistant for Sooners coach Bob Stoops before moving to KU, but when the teams meet Saturday, the friendship will be set aside for the demands of coaching, they said during the Big 12 Conference coaches’ teleconference Monday.
Stoops said despite coaching alongside Mangino from 1991-95 as assistants at Kansas State, the friendship leaves his mind on the field.
“We have a long relationship and except for playing my brother Mike (coach at Arizona) … there’s a long personal relationship there, a friendship, our families are friends,” Stoops said. “But once I’m on the field, I never look at that. It’s program versus program. I’m real business-like on the field.”
Mangino said Stoops’ Oklahoma program is the blueprint he is following with the Jayhawks. He wants to show the same kind of spirit and attitude within the Kansas team that Stoops does in Oklahoma.
“Bob has remarkable spirit and attitude,” Mangino said. “He doesn’t let things get him down and when bad things happen, he looks for the silver lining and I try to incorporate that.”
Stoops said he figures Mangino uses things he learned while at Oklahoma but it wasn’t a subject the two addressed when Mangino became the Kansas coach.
“It’s more he had a great feel (for how to run a program),” Stoops said. “He had a lot of input here and he didn’t have to ask, he already knew.”
Aspects that Mangino said he took with him to Lawrence, Kan., from Norman, Okla., are to continuously work with players, especially through difficult and troubling times and to build a family atmosphere around the program.
“We have a family atmosphere, we want our coaches to get home at decent times,” Mangino said.
Mangino, though, said the most important thing he learned from Stoops was leadership and accountability.
“When you take on anything, you want to be surrounded by good people,” he said.
Mangino said if his assistants want to try a new play and he uses it, he takes the blame rather than potentially stopping their creativity.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach joked he will find ways to use the Miami Dolphins’ Wes Welker, a former Red Raiders player, against No. 8 Texas. Welker, who completed his eligibility last season, is Texas Tech’s all-time leader in receptions (235), receiving yards (3,369) and all-purpose yards (5,404).
Leach said he would use Welker in a limited number of plays but would not release when and where because it would be an NCAA violation to use him.
After learning of Leach’s plan, Longhorns coach Mack Brown joked he would counter with Texas’ 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, the conference’s all-time leading rusher with 7,206 yards.
In the first Bowl Championship Series standings, Oklahoma, No. 2 in both polls, is No. 3 in the BCS rankings which determines which teams will play in the national championship Orange Bowl.
Texas is No. 11, Texas A&M is No. 16 and Oklahoma State is No. 21 in the standings. Southern California is No.1 and Miami is No. 2.
Big 12 commissioner and BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said the rankings indicate the teams’ strength of schedules as well as ability to win on the road.
“It’s early and those variances are noticed in the poll,” Weiberg said, pointing out that Miami has defeated No. 5 Florida State and No. 15 Louisville while Oklahoma has only one major win, against Texas.
He also said the computer polls used in determining the standings also count road games differently than home contests and the four teams ranked ahead of the Sooners in the computer polls all have won on the road more than Oklahoma.
Reggie McNeal’s standout performance against Oklahoma State earned him the NCAA Offensive Player of the Week in addition to the Big 12 honor.
McNeal led the Aggies past the Cowboys through the air and on the ground. He completed 19-of-25 passes for 288 yards and two scores and carried 14 times for 98 yards and two more touchdowns.
Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson earned his second Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance in the Longhorns’ 28-20 win against Missouri.
Johnson finished with 12 tackles, including three for a loss and hurried Brad Smith four times.
Colorado’s Mason Crosby made a school-record 60-yard field goal, third longest in NCAA history, to win the conference’s special team honors. The kick was one of four field goals Crosby made in the Buffaloes’ 19-14 win against Iowa State. He also made kicks from 54, 33 and 28 yards.