COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Some Missouri players plan to watch Texas-Kansas on TV during idle time leading up to their Big 12 game at Iowa State on Saturday night.
Whatever happens, they vow they won't be distracted.
"I might watch a little bit," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "But I'm not going to be all happy about it."
A win by Missouri (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) combined with a loss by Kansas (6-4, 3-3) would give the Tigers their second straight North championship two weeks ahead of a long-anticipated showdown against the Jayhawks in Kansas City. Of course, nothing will be decided unless the 12th-ranked Tigers win.
That, the coaching staff hopes, will keep players focused even though Missouri was a 27 1/2-point favorite against Iowa State, winless in the conference.
"That's their season," defensive end Stryker Sulak said. "We can't let anything else that's going on in the conference affect us."
It's not like the players will be slouching on the couch in the sports bar. On days with late starts, they're kept busy with special teams meetings and position meetings.
"It takes a lot of their time," defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said. "We try to keep them moving, keep them on their toes."
As for the free time, coaches are counting on players remembering the hard lesson learned earlier in the season. Before a home loss to Oklahoma State ended Missouri's unbeaten start, players may have been peeking ahead to their game at then top-ranked Texas.
"A lot of guys were sitting around watching the Texas-Oklahoma game, the Red River Shootout, and it was like the stage was set for a big game the next week," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. "We kind of got ahead of ourselves, and it hurt us.
"We can't let that happen again."
So, Weatherspoon won't be watching.
"Not at all, not at all," he said. "I'll probably get some extra rest. Iowa State's the only game on the schedule."
Quarterback Chase Daniel said he would be watching Texas-Kansas, but mostly to check out his buddy, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. He admitted, though, that another look at a Longhorns' defense that stuffed Missouri in the first half of a 56-31 blowout last month would not hurt.
"That's going to be my connection, and it's going to be even better for me to watch him because of the championship implications," Daniel said. "I watch Colt every time I get a chance, and he does the same with me.
Tight end Chase Coffman echoed Maclin's belief that it was fine to watch the game if it wouldn't distract them, "which I don't think it does too much."
Wide receiver Danario Alexander claimed to be unaware of the possibility Missouri could clinch the North on Saturday, saying the Tigers needed to "take care of every game, one by one." But he admitted he might be watching, if only from boredom.
"We don't have anything else to do at the hotel, so I'll probably just do that and go to meetings," Alexander said. "It's what we do when we have time off during the day.
"We want to go out and win, period, And if it helps, it helps."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)