|Missouri 14-Point Favorites Over Rival Kansas in Week 14|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Tuesday, 25 November 2008 14:01|
Rivarly Weekend is Back
This season's meeting won't even have the division title at stake.
With No. 12 Missouri having wrapped that up two weeks earlier, the teams meet Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium with considerably less on the line than last season.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Missouri -14 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri –14 View College Football bet percentages).
Both schools rose to national championship contender status last season, but they've been unable to stay at that level this year. Although Missouri (9-2, 5-2) will return to Arrowhead next week for the Big 12 championship game, it will be relegated to a spoiler role against Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech - teams battling for a spot in the BCS title game.
Consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas in October derailed any hopes of another national title run for Missouri, which clinched the Big 12 North on Nov. 15 with a win over Iowa State and Kansas' loss to Texas.
Then-No. 3 Missouri defeated then-No. 2 Kansas 36-28 last Nov. 24 and took over the top ranking in the AP poll, leaving a berth in the BCS championship game a win away. The Tigers, though, lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game and were then passed over for a BCS bowl, going on to pound Arkansas 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl.
Chase Daniel led Missouri on its run last season, and although he should eclipse some of last year's numbers, the senior isn't likely appear in New York again as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Daniel, fourth nationally in yards per game and fifth in total offense, has completed 76.5 percent of his passes - up from 68.2 last season. He's on pace to top his 2007 total of 384 completions in fewer attempts and needs three more touchdown passes to equal last season's career-high 33, set in 14 games.
Daniel, however, has also matched last year's 11 interceptions. While he's thrown a touchdown pass in every game, Daniel also has an interception in six consecutive contests.
In helping Missouri win two straight over Kansas, the quarterback hasn't thrown an INT, topped 350 yards in both games and tossed seven touchdown passes. He went 40-for-49 for 361 yards and three TDs against Kansas last season.
Daniel could get a boost this week from senior tight end Chase Coffman, who might return after missing two games with turf toe. Coffman was Missouri's leader with 73 receptions and 819 yards when he got hurt.
"I anticipate him playing this week," Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. "We certainly need him back."
With consecutive 100-yard performances, sophomore Jeremy Maclin has taken over the team receiving lead with 79 catches and 1,052 yards.
While Missouri failed to match last year's success, Kansas (6-5, 3-4) has taken a much bigger step back. The Jayhawks went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl last season, but they stumble into Saturday having lost four of their last five.
In a 35-7 defeat to No. 4 Texas on Nov. 15, Kansas was held to its lowest point total since a 19-3 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 15, 2005.
Kansas didn't play the Sooners, Longhorns or Texas Tech last season but has lost to all three this year.
"I don't make the schedule in the conference, and I would like to say we did what we had to do when whatever schedule was handed to us last year. We didn't have to win 12 games," Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino said. "Yeah, the schedule is more difficult and the challenge is greater. But I'm not going to make any excuses."
After scoring 39.7 points per game last season, the Jayhawks have averaged 32.0 this season. By contrast, Missouri's average has increased from 39.9 to 45.7, ranking the Tigers fourth nationally.
Like Daniel, Kansas' Todd Reesing has a chance to surpass last year's numbers. He's completed 64.8 percent of his passes - up from 61.9 - and needs 12 completions and 287 yards to better his 2007 totals.
The junior has thrown 10 interceptions this season, three more than last year, but Reesing also has a touchdown pass in 16 straight games.
The Jayhawks quarterback threw two interceptions against the Tigers last season and went 28-for-49 for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Reesing and Daniel could both benefit from facing one of the weaker pass defenses in the country. Missouri ranks 111th out of 119 Football Bowl Subdivision teams at 268.2 yards allowed per game. Kansas is 114th at 274.4.
With 116 meetings, Missouri-Kansas is the nation's second most-played rivalry, but there's controversy over who holds the 54-53-9 edge.
Kansas counts its 23-7 upset of then-No. 1 Missouri in 1960 as a victory, but that win was later forfeited due to ineligible players. The Tigers regard it as a victory, giving them the edge.
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Posted: 11/25/08 7:04PM ET