With Missouri's imminent departure to the SEC, the 120th version of the Border War at Arrowhead Stadium between the Tigers and Kansas will be tinged with even more emotion than usual, as there is no guarantee the rivalry will continue when the schools are no longer in the same conference.
However, it will be up to the Jayhawks to make the actual on-field product compelling as well, as they are +24.5 point underdogs to their arch-rivals.
Despite losing head coach Gary Pinkel to a DWI-related suspension last week against Texas Tech, Missouri seems to have turned the corner with a dominating Nov. 12 17-5 home victory over the Texas Longhorns.
The Tigers are now bowl eligible at 6-5, and with a win over 2-9 Kansas, may push themselves into the middle-tier of Big 12 bowls.
With starting RB Henry Josey out for the season with a knee injury, QB James Franklin has picked up the slack on the ground, rushing for 152 yards and 2 TD's against the Red Raiders. Franklin has been the key for a Missouri offense, averaging 32.9 points a game, that has improved as the year has went on.
The Jayhawks, meanwhile, have sunk deep into the bottom of the Big 12 in Turner Gill's second season in Lawrence, losing nine-straight regular season games this year and eleven straight conference games going back to last year.
After being competitive in losses to Iowa State and Baylor, they were blown out by Texas A&M 61-7 in College Station last week.
If a defense that has given up 45.5 points a game, 120th worst in the country, can't contain Franklin, than Kansas will need a big game through the air from starting QB Jordan Webb, who has completed 65.1% of his passes this season but only thrown for 1,824 yards and 13 TD's.
Saturday's game will be televised at 2:30 on Fox Sports Net.
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