The University of Kansas will host the University of Oklahoma for an 11:00 a.m. kickoff on Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Not only will the Jayhawks be hosting the Sooners on the football field, but Kansas will be hosting FOX’s Big Noon Saturday, a TV show that leads up to kickoff and previews the entire day of college football while featuring the game at the school they are visiting for the week.
This will be the first time Big Noon Saturday will be in Lawrence, Kansas. Last year, ESPN’s College Gameday (the rival show to Big Noon Saturday) was at Kansas for their game against TCU. That game featured two undefeated teams and ended up going down to the final minute. TCU ended up winning that game and the Jayhawks season, for the most part, unraveled from there.
For this season, the Jayhawks are 5-2 while the Sooners come in ranked #6 and are 7-0 leading up to this game. Kansas is coming off a loss to Oklahoma State but was in the game to the end. Oklahoma is coming off a close 31-29 win over UCF and needed a fourth-quarter comeback and a stop on a two-point conversion to seal their win. The Jayhawks beat that UCF team 51-22 two weeks ago.
The Jayhawks can get their season back on track with a win over the Sooners on Saturday. The atmosphere was going to be electric anyway, but with Big Noon Saturday there to hype the crowd up, things will be turned up to another level. Sure, the Jayhawks haven’t beaten the Sooners since October 4th, 1997, but that doesn’t mean this season will follow the same path the series has gone down for the past 25+ years. This KU team is different than most of those past teams. They have a cohesiveness that doesn’t come around every year.
The biggest question going into this game will be if quarterback Jason Bean starts, which is expected, can he help keep KU’s offense on pace with Oklahoma’s? This should be a high-scoring affair, much like last year’s game that ended 52-42. Bean started in last year’s game against the Sooners as well, but like many times throughout his career at Kansas, there were critical turnovers that ended up costing the Jayhawks in the end. If Bean can limit the turnovers, don’t force passes when they aren’t there, and if the Kansas running game can get going, they should be able to make this a game. If they make it a game, then the potential is there for KU to come away with a big upset win in front of a packed crowd at The Booth.
A win over the Sooners would flip the script on the season for the Jayhawks. At this point, many people are expecting Kansas to lose a lot of games down the home stretch of the season like they did last year. If they can jump out to a lead and get a win on Saturday, moving to 6-2 on the season and becoming bowl-eligible before the calendar turns to November would be huge.
The final four games on the regular season schedule (at Iowa State, home against Texas Tech, and Kansas State before wrapping up the season at Cincinnati) look like winnable games. There are no easy games in the Big 12, and most would call three of those four games toss-ups with the potential for Kansas State to be favored. However, if Kansas beats Oklahoma, that could change the perception of the Jayhawks heading into the final month of the season.
No one is expecting the Jayhawks to win and that can be when they are the most dangerous. With Big Noon Kickoff, and the lights shining bright on The Booth this Saturday, look for Kansas to come out swinging early. If KU lands an early blow, it’s on. Kick off your Saturday with this Big 12 showdown, it may just be an instant classic.