Five reasons to watch OSU face Kansas on Saturday

There’s really no sugar-coating it. When the clock hits 3 p.m. Saturday, Oklahoma State at Kansas is hardly the best college football game on TV.

The late-afternoon slate of games features a slew of heavy-hitters: No. 2 Auburn at No. 3 Mississippi State; No. 9 TCU at No. 5 Baylor; and No. 12 Oregon at No. 18 UCLA.

Meanwhile in Lawrence, the Cowboys are a three-touchdown favorite over a Jayhawk team in turmoil. A midseason firing of Charlie Weis was warranted after another brutal start to a season. KU ranks among nation’s worst in these single-game averages: points score (15), offensive yardage (322) and penalty yardage (74).

But before you cancel your Kansas hotel reservations or change the channel shortly after kickoff, here’s a closer look at five reasons to keep a close eye on the Cowboys this Saturday.

1. Playing a team with something to prove is dangerous. Just put yourself in the shoes of KU’s players.

Like OSU, they’re one of the youngest teams in the nation, returning just 32 letter-winners from a season ago. And while those underclassmen were jelling and learning on the fly, the coach gets fired. What is there left to do but play your tail off?

“They’ve got their backs against the wall,” wide receiver Jhajuan Seales said. “So they’ll come out and give it everything they got to get the win.”

There’s no doubt OSU should be heavily favored and all signs point to an easy victory. But that same storyline was in play in 2012, the last time the Cowboys played in Lawrence. OSU won that game by a slim margin: 20-14.

“It’s conference play,” linebacker Ryan Simmons said. “Anybody can come and win a game. It was proven last week.”

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