Sometimes the coolest stories in sports have nothing to do with the outcomes we have so much fun trying to forecast.
Sometimes they take place in the stands and parking lots. That's the case tomorrow at Memorial Stadium, where an organization called Special Spectators has gotten involved.
The Kansas University athletic department has invited kids from Children's Mercy Hospital to Saturday's game against Appalachian State. Seriously ill children and their parents will be at the game to watch players they may already have met during hospital visits.
The children also will attend a special tailgate on The Hill. To find out more about the organization, visit SpecialSpectators.org. It's easy to pick the winners in athlete-children relationships such as these: Everybody.
This week's picks:
KU 44, Appalachian State 15: Chattanooga threw for 540 yards against Appalachian last season, so it's not as if Brian Luke should have any problem keeping his poise again this week.
Texas 31, Ohio State 30: When in doubt, take the team with the best player on the field. Vince Young, coming off an understated, efficient game in the opener, is ready to explode again for a national viewing audience.
Baylor 28, Samford 8: Former Texas Governors Pat Morris Neff, Price Daniel, Mark White and Ann Richards all graduated from Baylor, a fine university that offers 164 baccalaureate programs, 74 masters programs, and 19 doctoral programs. Thomas Harris, best-selling author of "Silence of the Lambs," is another Baylor grad. All-time great linebacker Mike Singletary was a Baylor Bear before he was a Chicago Bear. Trey Wingo, the nicest man and one of the most talented broadcasters at ESPN, graduated from Baylor. Former Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski honed his grilling skills at Baylor's law school. The engineering program ranks among the nation's top 25. With Army up next on the schedule, a 3-0 start is in the cards. Not only that, Dr. Pepper's bottled in Waco. I love Dr. Pepper. What a town!
Kansas State 24, Marshall 23: An atypical gutsy early season scheduling job by Bill Snyder pays off, barely. Florida State transfer Thomas Clayton, a big, fast back who has NFL written all over him, rushed for 177 yards on 17 carries in Week 1. Wildcats will have to cut down on four turnovers.
Oklahoma 35, Tulsa 10: Let me get this straight. TCU upsets the Sooners in Week 1 and the Sooners are ranked ahead of the Horned Frogs? That's just plain rotten.
Iowa 38, Iowa State 8: Sprung after 300 days in the slammer, defensive end Jason Berryman is back to assaulting people legally on the football field in a helmet and pads. Berryman had a sack among his four tackles last week. The Cyclones, who averaged 2.2 yards per carry against Illinois State, a Division I-AA opponent, don't have a chance against the loaded Hawkeyes.
Texas Tech 52, Florida International 0: Coach Mike Leach, great with quarterbacks, gives Cody Hodges his first start and shows him the way to rank among the nation's leaders in passing. With Taurean Henderson running wild and catching passes, this one should get ugly early.
Nebraska 17, Wake Forest 14: The whole idea of Nebraska employing a West Coast offense just doesn't feel right and QB Zac Taylor is coming off a horrendous second-half performance against Maine.
Missouri 31, New Mexico 21: Brad Smith threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 95 yards to start to put an off year behind him. Look for him to break the heart of No. 1 Lobo football fan J.R. Giddens.
(The contest is currently closed. Good luck to all who entered.)