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Kansas still living in Oz

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The gild may be off the lily, but the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth still are at stake.

That means the traditional Michigan-Ohio State game on Saturday remains a big deal, though both clubs absorbed their first conference loss in surprising weekend upsets.

The No. 1 Buckeyes were stunned by Ron Zook's Illinois team, which knocked them out of a second straight BCS national title berth.

Wisconsin handed Michigan its third defeat of the season, joining Appalachian State and Oregon as Wolverine beaters.

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The combined L's paved the way for shakeups in power ratings and poll rankings, with LSU easily receiving the most No. 1 nods, though others received scattered calls.

So while the game at Michigan's cavernous Ann Arbor stadium still is for a lot of marbles, nobody will be shooting for Tiger eyes.

Who might eventually get to is a subject folks are apt to speculate about until the Big 12 and SEC championships are decided Dec. 1.

Teams currently under consideration are Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri -- all from the Big 12 -- along with West Virginia and Oregon.

Besides the usually-controversial BCS title match, Pac 10 and Big Ten teams covet a spot in Pasadena's New Year's Day Rose Bowl most.

While the double losses last weekend killed Ohio State's BCS Championship dreams, VegasInsider.com handicapper Jimmy Boyd continues to consider the Buckeyes' annual curtain closer with Michigan a marquee attraction.

"With an outright Big Ten title on the line in the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, I feel like this matchup still has plenty of luster," Boyd said.

"I think the Illinois win over Ohio State says a couple things.

"One is that it shows you the depth of the talent in the league.

"The other is that Ohio State is still a young team."

Oddsmaker Ken White of Las Vegas Sports Consultants figures both teams may have incurred losses last weekend because they were looking ahead to this weekend.

"There's so much parity in college football today that you always have to be on your toes and not overlook anybody," White said.

"Like they say, 'On any given Saturday ... (or Sunday)."'

The oddsmaker made the Buckeyes a 3-point road favorite.

"Ohio State has the better coach (Jim Tressel), its stars are healthier and the Buckeyes have more overall talent," he said.

"They also have some intangibles working in their favor."

"Put it together, throw in Michigan's home-field advantage and I figure it's all worth a field goal."

Another clash college football observers are anticipating is the Nov. 24 meeting between Kansas and Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for the right to play Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.

That contest certainly will have national title implications.

"I like what Kansas is doing, but K-State is its only win over a ranked team this season and that K-State team was just blown out by lowly Nebraska 73-31," Boyd observed.

"It will take a win over Mizzou and a Big 12 title game victory before I'm ready to jump on this bandwagon."

White likes Missouri over Kansas and is looking at the Tigers as a 2 1/2 to 3-point choice.

LVSC's weekly power ratings have Missouri sixth and Kansas ninth.

The oddsmaker has qualms about even having the Jayhawks in his Top 10.

"It's not what I wanted, but we're a team and I went with the other guys here," he said.

"Personally, I think Kansas will get beat."

  
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