Five to root for. After a wild week of playing What If, you may find yourself a little unsure what to root for this weekend. From my perspective, the more of the following that occur this weekend, the better for Texas:
- Louisville dumps Cincinnati tonight. The Cards host the Bearcats tonight (7 p.m. CT, ESPN). A Louisville upset (Cincy is favored by 4 points) would hurt the Sooners in the computers, while a hot finish (and possible Big East championship) from the Bearcats would strengthen OU's resume. Go Cards!
- Texas beats Kansas by more than 14. The Sooners beat KU by 14 in Norman. It'd be nice for Texas to dump the Jayhawks in Lawrence by more than that.
Florida loses to South Carolina. You could argue this the other way (hoping for a Florida buffer between Texas and OU), but I think the more exciting possibility for the Big 12 would be a two-loss Florida team winning the SEC title in Atlanta.
- Missouri waxes Iowa State. Texas badly needs the Tigers to close strong.
- Florida Atlantic upsets UL-La. If you make it to church before Sunday, say a little prayer for FAU.
Mangino retracts claws, purrs. Kansas head coach Mark Mangino crossed Longhorns fans in 2004 when he claimed the officials gifted Vince Young and Texas a victory to help the team reach the BCS. Mangino was adament at the time, but as DC points out in this morning's Round Up, the Kansas coach now says the tirade was a tactical move to help get raise his Jayhawks up off the mat:
"It was to save the team," Mangino said this spring at a National Football Foundation forum. "I knew I was going to get criticism for it and take some bullets, but Kansas hadn’t had a winning program for many years, we were trying to get it on its feet, we were getting close but just couldn’t get it over the hump. So I took a bullet for it."
Mangino's claws are in full retract, appearing focused on avoiding bulletin board of all kind this week. On Colt McCoy and the Texas coaching staff:
"He is a quality player," Mangino said of McCoy. "He is one of the most improved quarterbacks from last year to this year.
"Whoever works with him in the offseason has done a magnificent job. He is way ahead of where he was at this time last year. He has a lot more poise, he is throwing the ball better and he is running the ball better. He seems to be in more control of the offense than I can ever remember last season."
Show Me time for AJ Abrams. As Texas tips off the hoops season tonight, the Statesman's Mark Rosner has a long feature on AJ Abrams, who is still insisting point guard is his natural position.
"I think point guard is my natural position," Abrams said. "I can do this. I've just had a different role the last two seasons."
If it's his natural position, he hasn't shown it in three years playing for Texas, so it's Put Up or Shut Up time for the diminutive sharpshooter. Honestly, Texas will be a better basketball team if Abrams is right, so I'll root for sharp improvement in his ball handling, driving, and passing this season, but count me among the cautiously skeptical. Prove me wrong, AJ.
Related: AW's pregame thoughts.