LAWRENCE, Kan. — Jayhawk Nation stirred with anxiety Friday, a day made for pins-and-needles as a season hung in the balance.
Next basketball season.
Bill Self and the Kansas faithful exhaled and high-fived over landing power forward Chris Alexander, a consensus top-three national recruit. Of far less consequence to the locals is whatever outcome the football team produces Saturday afternoon against West Virginia at the stadium surrounded by a track.
This game clearly means more to the Mountaineers, who harbor bowl hopes, than it does to the 2-7 Jayhawks, who don’t. Yet with West Virginia battling a serious case of Texas-hangover syndrome, is there a chance the lowly home team can snap its three-year losing streak in Big 12 games?
Vegas trumpets a close game, installing WVU as a piddly 6.5-point favorite. A tad curious, considering the Jayhawks on average have been 24-point underdogs at home this season in Big 12 games. Perhaps the oddsmakers see no Jared Barber, no K.J. Dillon and, more than likely, no Clint Trickett, and think KU is due for one of its not-so-frequent close calls.
I’ll bite, though methinks WVU avoids the ultimate embarrassment.
A Paul Millard-led offense should be able to dink-and-dunk its way to enough points, as long as it commits enough hand-offs to Charles Sims and homecoming king Dreamius Smith (who committed to KU out of high school before going the junior college route). And even an injury-weakened Mountaineers defense that tends to faint at the sight of a fourth quarter should make enough stands against the most inept offense in the Big 12.
Pick: WVU 24-19