At first glance, no one would believe Kansas has any chance when they travel to Texas on Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks (2-5 0-4) are feeling down at after last week's blowout loss to Baylor, their 25th consecutive Big 12 loss. Meanwhile, Texas (5-2, 4-0) has rebounded from two early season losses to be poised to make a run at a potential conference title.
Just a look at both jerseys should give the average fan reason to assume the result, but as both teams found out a year ago, that means nothing. In 2012, Kansas had no reason to expect victory when the Longhorns visited Lawrence. Texas soon found themselves in a dogfight, where if not for a dropped interception and big completion from quarterback Case McCoy, Kansas would have done the unthinkable and perhaps would have sealed the fate of Horns coach Mack Brown.
Instead, you know the rest of the result. Texas completed the comeback drive, led by the younger McCoy, who relieved ineffective starter David Ash to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat 21-17. Now, a year later, Kansas finds themselves in Austin, and they should go there expecting to win.
"The players should feel they have a chance at winning, ebacuse that's the most important thing," head coach Charlie Weis said. "Just like Mack's showing them the game film from last year, saying don't overlook these guys, we're also showing our guys the same film and saying those are the same guys out there, that's who you're going against."
Of course, it's much easier said than done, but Weis' message is simple. Go down there and compete and expect to win. All of which is vital to turning the culture around in Lawrence.
To do it, they'll have to get some form of offense, which won't be easy, as they'll likely be without Tony Pierson for awhile after he experience complications from the concussion he suffered against Texas Tech in early October. Weis has said that he will never put a kid in harm's way and he will stick to that. In fact, Weis said this past week that he genuinely concern for Pierson's well being, as he's passed every medical test.
On the positive side, the Jayhawks will welcome back linebacker and team captain Ben Heeney, who has missed the past two games with a leg injury. His return will be key if the Jayhawks have any hopes of pulling upset.