LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Talk about role reversal. Nothing underscores the changing fortunes for unbeaten Kansas and down-on-its-luck Nebraska better than the circumstances surrounding the latest matchup of the longest uninterrupted series in college football.
The Jayhawks are ranked No. 8 and bring an unblemished 8-0 record Saturday into their 102nd straight meeting with the school that used to dominate them. It's the longest Kansas winning streak since 1909.
The Huskers, on the other hand, will be trying to break a four-game losing skid, their longest since 1961.
Altogether, the two ancient rivals have played 113 times. Yet this will be only the second time, and first since 1952, that an unranked Nebraska team lines up against a Kansas team that is ranked.
In contrast, there have been 37 times when Nebraska was ranked and Kansas was not.
The Huskers have made a habit of thrashing their neighbors to the south, beating Kansas 37 of their last 38 meetings. Adding to Kansas' embarrassment was the makeup of the crowd every other year when the game was in Lawrence -- almost solidly Nebraska red.
This time, Kansas is favored by more than two touchdowns and the crowd figures to be wearing a distinctively bright shade of Kansas blue at a time when football fever is at its highest pitch in eastern Kansas in more than a decade.
"Hopefully it will be electric," Kansas fullback Brandon McAnderson said. "In the past for the Nebraska game, it has been packed anyway, and we have given the fans something to cheer about, so I expect a really good crowd.
The Jayhawks (8-0, 4-0 Big 12) also will enjoy a rare advantage at quarterback over the Huskers. Sophomore Todd Reesing is not only unbeaten in his college career, he has passed for 1,985 yards while hitting 150 of 253 attempts and rushing for 193 yards. His average of 272.3 yards of total offense yards ranks 25th nationally. He's the main reason the Jayhawks are third in the nation in scoring, with 42.5 points per game.
Again, the contrast would seem to bode ill for the reeling Huskers (4-5, 1-4). Making his first college start will be Joe Ganz, a junior who has made only brief appearances in three games this season. Ganz is replacing Sam Keller, who is lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
"We have the utmost confidence in Joe's abilities and leadership to lead our team and perform at a high level," said Bill Callahan, the Huskers' embattled head coach.
"He's gotten all the work, training and repetition that he needs to be successful in everything we do. He's a great game manager and a great field general. He has all the abilities in the world to function effectively, so I'm excited about him on the field."
Ganz is more mobile than Keller and could pose more of a problem in the option play for a Kansas defense whose exceptional speed has been compensating for a lack of size.
Despite Nebraska's problems, Ganz is not setting his sights low. He can still see the Huskers going to a bowl.
"I think it's pretty realistic," he said. "We have to win two out of three. We've done it before. A couple years ago, we lost two games in a row, came back and beat Kansas State and Colorado and Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. Once this team gets confidence back and gets on a roll, I think we're very capable of rolling off two out of three, maybe even three out of three.
"The most important thing is to win Saturday and see where things go from there."
Besides, he adds, there's another shift in the traditional Nebraska-Kansas role. Historically, it's been the Huskers who were angling for a choice bowl assignment, or even a shot at a nationally championship, while Kansas has nothing to play for.
Now all the pressure rests with the Jayhawks.
"Kansas has everything to lose," Ganz said. "They're the No. 8 team. I hope the guys go out there and play hard, play loose and let it all fly, and we'll see what happens."
Top 25 Overview
Kansas shoots for its first 9-0 start since 1908 as it hosts Nebraska. The Jayhawks, one of five unbeaten teams in I-A, have lost 37 of 38 games against the Huskers.