Big 12: Mike Gottfried
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Credit former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione for not languishing during his time away from football.
Franchione will join the Web site BusterSports.com to provide a weekly column about the Big 12. (Hat tip to Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News.)
"I'm looking forward to diving deep into the Big 12 and sharing my experience and opinion with fans of the conference," Franchione said. "There's nothing like football Saturday in the Midwest and I can't wait to build up Big 12 football excitement each and every show we do."
He will join a set of former coaches who will provide insight about conferences they used to coach in.
Jim Donnan will handle the national reporting scene, Terry Donahue the Pac-10, Tommy Tuberville the SEC, Tommy Bowden the ACC, Glen Mason the Big 10 and Mike Gottfried the Big East.
"Having been in the heart of the beast as a college football coach in the state of Texas, we can't wait for coach Fran to offer all of his insight to our audience," said Dan Ballard, CEO of Buster Sports Communications. "His college football knowledge is respected not just around the Big 12, but throughout the entire country."
Franchione worked as an analyst for ESPN radio last season. And his interest and knowledge of college football remains keen.
It's a good way for him to stay involved in the game. Because it's not quite the same without him roaming the sidelines.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
There's negative history.
And then there's really, really negative history.
Like the last seven Kansas coaches before him, Mark Mangino will be attempting to halt a long-standing streak Saturday when his Jayhawks visit Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
Don Fambrough (during two different tenures), Bud Moore, Mike Gottfried, Bob Valesente, Glen Mason and Terry Allen all were unsuccessful in trying to win on Nebraska's home field.
The last Kansas coach to beat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln was Pepper Rodgers when the Jayhawks notched a 23-13 victory on Oct. 12, 1968.
Mangino then was a middle-schooler back home in New Castle, Pa. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was only nine months old.
Even with those daunting odds from the past, Mangino is excited about his team's chances to break the streak and maintain a share of first place in the Big 12 North with co-leader Missouri.
"Our kids will go there and play well and not be intimidated," Mangino said. "We respect the Nebraska fans and the Nebraska program, but we've played pretty well the last couple of times we've gone there."
They have. Their 14-8 loss in 2004 and a 39-32 overtime loss were two of only four times during the streak that the Jayhawks have played the Cornhuskers within a touchdown in Lincoln. Nebraska's victory margins earlier in the 19-game streak have included five times in the fifties, four times in the forties and three times in the thirties to reflect the truly lopsided nature of the series.
Kansas might be coming in with some swagger of their own after notching a landmark 76-39 victory over the Cornhuskers last season in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas set a record for a Nebraska opponent for single-game scoring as Todd Reesing blistered a beleaguered Nebraska secondary for six touchdowns and Brandon McAnderson ran for four more TDs.
"We dropped 76 on them on our homecoming last year, so that was a great accomplishment," Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe said. "But we can't look back on that. Their coaching staff and players know what happened last year and they don't want it to happen again."
Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz made his first career start in the game. He said last year's game won't inspire any extra effort or inspirtation from him -- especially after their 62-28 loss last week at Oklahoma.
"I don't think we need any more motivation than we already have. It was just an embarrassing loss," Ganz said. "If we're looking back to last year for motivation then we have some problems if we can't get motivated to play this game at home coming off a big loss. I don't think it is weighing too much on people's minds, but we know it's there and we want to rectify it."
Saturday's game is critical for the Big 12 title hopes of Kansas, which needs a win to begin a difficult three-game closing stretch that later includes closing games against Texas and Missouri.
And the Cornhuskers can become bowl-eligible for the first time since winning the 2006 North title with a victory on Saturday.
"That would really help us, obviously," Pelini said. "Getting to a bowl game gives you a number of extra practices. You'd hope, if we take care of business that we'll have some more time in bowl preparation. But you have to earn that."