AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Mack Brown knows it's coming.
At some point during warmups before No. 1 Texas plays No. 11 Missouri on Saturday night, Longhorns freshman safety Blake Gideon will seek out the coach who has won a national championship and say: "I hope you're not nervous."
Gideon does it every week and it's a pretty funny line coming from a guy who has played six games. But Brown and the Longhorns have plenty to worry about if they expect to hold on to their first regular-season No. 1 ranking since 1984 for long.
The Missouri game is just the second in a brutal stretch for the Longhorns. Including last weekend's win over Oklahoma, the Longhorns are in the middle of four straight games against opponents currenty ranked No. 11 or higher.
"We do have a difficult schedule but it may be good for this team. They're going to have to keep their foot on the pedal," Brown said.
A Missouri win would start yet another ripple throughout the polls, just in time for the first Bowl Championship Series ratings to be released on Sunday.
Texas (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) has never before played four ranked opponents in a row. Considering three of them are rivals in the Big 12 South, the Longhorns should be focused as much on chasing the division championship as the national title right now.
"We have the most ridiculous schedule ever," quarterback Colt McCoy said. "We can't slip up."
Neither can Missouri (5-1, 1-1 Big 12) if the Tigers plan to be in the national title hunt. Missouri might have been No. 1 this week if it hadn't lost at home against No. 8 Oklahoma State last week, when quarterback Chase Daniel threw three interceptions.
"We can't lose another game," said Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
"We want to flush everything that happened last week and move on," Daniel said.
Always a fiery sort, Daniel may be chasing a little something extra in the way of redemption Saturday night in front of what will probably be a record crowd of 98,000-plus at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Daniel played at Texas high school powerhouse Southlake Carroll and wanted to be a Longhorn. But Brown planned to sign McCoy and Ryan Perrilloux instead.
Texas didn't extend a scholarship offer until Perrilloux -- who is now at Jacksonville State -- committed to LSU. Daniel stuck with his decision to play at Missouri, a move that Brown says only bolstered his respect for the QB.
"I think everyone growing up in the state of Texas wants to go to Texas," Daniel said. "I went my way and they went theirs, and I think it's worked out great for both of us."
It certainly has.
Daniel helped fuel Missouri's rise from Big 12 also-ran to the dominant team in the Big 12 North. The Tigers made it all the way to No. 1 last season before losing in the conference championship game.
"He's tough. He's a winner," Brown said. "They've gone from a good program to a team that's competing now for championships, and you have to give him most of the credit for that."
McCoy is 26-6 as a starter and has led nine second-half comeback wins, including last week's 45-35 win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma in Dallas.
Both teams are so loaded with playmakers on offense, winning may depend on the defenses to come up with a big play or series. Texas gave up 35 points last week but held the Sooners to one touchdown over the last 25 minutes.
Senior defensive end Brian Orakpo leads the Longhorns with eight of the team's 22 sacks and will be trying to get to Daniel on Saturday night.
"We want to get to him," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "It's a race."
A good pass rush is critical to protecting an inexperienced Texas secondary that gave up five touchdown passes against Oklahoma.
Gideon may be too young and naive to get nervous about what's at stake for the Longhorns over the next few weeks.
Gideon said he's been teasing his coaches with the same line about being nervous since high school, when he played for his father. He even did it to defensive coordinator Will Muschamp the night before playing the Sooners.
"I told him I was," Muschamp said.
With Missouri up next and more tough games to come, every Longhorn is likely to be on edge from here on out.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)