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Passing isn't passe for OU or Texas

The game has lost much of its national appeal as both programs have slipped in recent years, but Texas and Oklahoma remain huge rivals. And an important statistic shows how both schools are trying to emerge from their pasts.

Oklahoma quarterback Cale Gundy is ranked third in the nation in passing efficiency, while Texas quarterback Peter Gardere is eighth. That's a long way from the days of wishbones and options.

"What a great story. Almost midway through the college football season and you have two of the top 10-rated passers in the country from Texas and Oklahoma," said Tex-as coach John Mackovic, whose team meets Oklahoma today at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. "I mean, what's this world coming to? Two programs that were probably as reluctant to change over time as much as anyone. That's the change in college football."

Although Mackovic is new at Texas, there is one thing he doesn't want to change: The Longhorns have won three in a row over the Sooners.

Big game, wrong teams: A big game in the Big Eight that doesn't involve Oklahoma, Nebraska or Colorado? It's true. Kansas State (3-0) plays at Kansas (3-1) today and a sellout is expected at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence for the first time since 1982. It has been a long time since a game between these two schools was considered anything better than a joke.

Kansas coach Glen Mason: "We've kind of gone from Phyllis Diller to Marilyn Monroe."

Kansas State has a chance to go 4-0 for the first time since 1931. And Kansas will be looking to climb back into the Top 25 after a loss to California.

Meanwhile, Mason decided to close practices for the rest of the year after he discovered recently that someone had been taking detailed notes of the Jayhawks' workouts.

"A guy handed me about five sheets of paper that had very accurate notes on our practices," Mason said. "I assume it was from someone in the media. It was so accurate I was in shock."

Mason said plays were diagrammed, formations noted, even the cadence when the quarterback called signals. One thing is certain: This a rare time when a coach gives media members credit for being so accurate.

Bowls and polls: After upsetting Ohio State last week, Wisconsin is getting noticed.

The Badgers are 3-1 after their Big Ten conference opener. And they don't have to play Michigan this season.

"It sure appears to me that Michigan may be head and shoulders above everyone else in the conference," Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said. "I think you can throw the rest of us in a bag and whoever gets hot and stays hot could be right behind them. But I don't know who that is."

Alvarez does know one thing. He has cautioned his players about believing they are that team: "I've already instructed our players that if they want to get in trouble with me or the other coaches, all they have to do is comment on bowls and polls."

Thanks, but no thanks: Ohio State recently started printing cards of Buckeyes players, and a 59-card set sells for $14.95. Two notable players declined to be a part of the cards: tailback Robert Smith and nose guard Greg Smith. Both felt they should not help the school make money off their names.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous for them to expect us to put our picture on something we're getting nothing for," Greg Smith said. "They're getting plenty out of us. I get four free tickets to every game, but the rest of my family has to buy theirs. That's about 10 tickets a week.

"How much nerve does it take for them to ask me to help them make more money?"

Pathetic: Miami's close call against Arizona two weeks ago doesn't look so bad now after the Wildcats hammered UCLA 23-3. In fact, Arizona was so tough defensively that near the end of the game, trailing 23-0, UCLA completed a long pass to the 1 but on three running plays could not get the touchdown.

Instead of going for it on fourth down, UCLA coach Terry Donahue called a timeout with 1:21 left and elected to kick a field goal to extend the school's national record to 243 games without being shut out. The streak dates to 1971.

Quote marks: Purdue coach Jim Colletto, whose team opened by beating California, then lost to Toledo, Notre Dame and Northwestern: "We've probably sunk as low as we can go. This team just drives me up the wall. It's like walking in the twilight zone. Each week it's a different phantom that can jump up and grab you."