Category Archives: Kansas Jayahwks

Half-hearted rivalries 

In this morning’s Kansas City Star, there was an article with comments from former University of Missouri president R. Bowen Loftin about the possibility of the Tigers resuming their athletic series with the University of Kansas. 

Kansas and Missouri began their football series in 1891, only 30 years after Kansas became the 34th state. The Tigers and Jayhaks played 120 times, making it the oldest NCAA Division I rivalry west of the Mississippi River. FYI, the oldest NCAA football series is Lehigh vs. Lafayette, which bgan in 1884.

Loftin stated only one reason why Mizzou and Kansas have not played since the Tigers left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012.

Bill Self.

Loftin blamed Self, the Jayhawks’ men’s basketball coach who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, for not wanting to play Mizzou, at least in football and men’s basketball. In recent years, Mizzou has reached out numerous times to Kansas about playing football games at Arrowhead Stadium and basketball games at Sprint Center, but each time, the Jyayhawks have said no way. 

Self, of course, denied Loftin’s premise. He emphatically stated he had nothingt to do with football scheduling. 

Loftin speaks from experience about dormant rivalries. In 2012, he was president at Texas A&M when the Aggies joined Mizzou in leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. A&M wanted to continue its rivalry with Texas, but the Longhorns refused. 

In his comments, Loftin believed the Longhorns and Aggies would continue their rivalry before the Tigers and Jayhawks do. 

I know about in-state rivlaries going dormant, but Louisiana really isn’t comparable to Texas, or to Missouri-Kansas, either. Tulane has never really been at LSU’s level, and the gulf has continually widened since the Green Wave dropped out of the SEC in 1966. LSU discontinued its annual rivalry with Tulane on the gridiron after the 1994 season; the teams played four consecutive years from 2006-2009, but LSU then bought out the remaining six games on the contract. In men’s basketball, Dale Brown dropped Tulane in 1981 because he felt the Greenies were non-competitive. Tulane dropped its program for three years in the 1980s due to a point shaving scandal, but the Tigers refused to play Tulane until 2003, seven seasons after Brown retired. LSU and Tulane only compete in women’s basketball and baseball, as well as a few minor sports. 

As much as I’d like to see LSU and Tulane play every year in football, Tulane must shoulder a lot of the blame. Why not play in Baton Rouge every year, or four out of every five years? The Greenies are going to make far more in Tiger Stadium than they ever will at Tulsa, SMU, East Carolina or another American Athletic Conference school, and certainly much, much more than playing at UL Lafayette or Louisiana Tech. As for LSU, it would be much more financially prudent to play Tulane than to pay Troy or Chattanooga an exorbitant sum to come to Death Valley as it is doing this season. It would have been much better in 2017 becuase LSU has only six home games, since the Florida game was switched to Gainesville after last season’s Hurricane Matthew flap. 

On the flip side, if Tulane wants LSU to come to New Orleans, it is going to (a) have to give LSU a larger cut of the gate and (b) play in the Superdome. Yulman Stadium only seats 30,000. I understand the idea of playing on campus, but in this case, it would be unreasonable for LSU to do so. If Tulane is worried about LSU fans overrunning the Superdome, then that’s too bad.

LSU has tried to make too many other SEC schools their “rival”, but the other school would not reciprocate. The series with Ole Miss has largely been irrelvant since Johnny Vaught retired as Rebel coach in 1970 (save for a brief return in 1973). Alabama could care less about beating LSU unless the Tigers are at or near the top of the polls. As Bear Bryant put it, “I’d rather beat the cow college (Auburn) once than Notre Dame ten times”. Nick Saban has turned this so-called rivalry into a laugher. Auburn and LSU didn’t play every year in football until 1992, and Auburn might be going to the Eastern Division anyway. 

LSU has played Arkansas for the Golden Boot since 1996, but the Tigers resisted it with every fiber of their being until then-SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer finally prevailed upon LSU to play along.  The game has always meant much more in Fayetteville than in Baton Rouge.

Back to the Border War. 
Kansas’ non-conference football schedule this season is an out and out JOKE. Southeast Missouri, Central Michigan, Ohio University. The game vs. the Bobcats is in Athens, Ohio, which is a coup by Ohio coach Frank Solic in getting a Power Five school to travel to Athens and play a Mid-America Conference school. 

The trip to Ohio begs the question: why not play Missouri at Arrowhead and get a huge gate? It would be mutually beneficial. It would allow Mizzou to fulfill the SEC requirement to play a Power Five opponent in non-conference, and Kansas would not have to embarrass itself playing a lower level team like SEMO. 

I cannot say for sure Self is personally responsible for Kansas not wanting to play Mizzou. But the Jayhawks are wrong on this one. Why would Kansas pass up a chance to play in Kansas City, only 45 minutes from its campus, to go to places like Ohio U and Memphis? 

The Texas-Texas A&M series is not something I’m really worried about. Texas has enough in-state rivals (Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU) in the Big 12, and A&M is content making Arkansas and LSU its big rivalry games. 

In the grand scheme, it’s only college sports. It could be worse. The fact the Jets and Giants play only once every four years in the regular season is sad. The NFL is missing the boat. 

Goalposts stay upright

The goalposts at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence are intact.

TCU rallied to defeat Kansas 24-23. The Jayhawks missed three field goals in the fourth quater, although to be fair, the last one of those was from 54 yards, which is difficult for a pro kicker to make, much less a college kicker. 

The Horned Frogs are 5-0 vs. the Jayhawks since joining the Big 12, but the last three of those wins have come by a combined 11 points. What is it about Kansas which gives TCU fits? Maybe Gary Patterson needs a few tips from his mentor, Bill Snyder, whose K-State teams always seem to beat Kansas by wide margins. 

Florida continues to look mighty stupid for calling off its game with LSU.

The Notre Dame-North Carolina State game in Raleigh was played as Matthew was paralleling the coasts of South and North Carolina. The field at Carter-Finley Stadium was flooded, and wind gusts at close to hurricane force were  felt throughout the stadium at times. The Wolfpack won 10-3, dropping the Fighting Irish to 2-4.

The game in Raleigh won’t be the only one today played in horrendous conditions. 

NC State’s Golden Triangle rivals, North Carolina and Duke, are home as well, vs. Virginia Tech and Army, respectively. Those games will also be negatively impacted. Wake Forest hosts Syracuse, too, and although Winston-Salem is farther west than Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, it won’t be much better. 

Currently in Gainesville, it’s sunny and 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). A little too warm for football for my taste, but in Florida, it’s as good as it’s going to get for October 8. Yet Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is deathly silent. Crickets are chirping. 

Nice work, Jeremy Foley. You suckered SEC commissioner Greg Sankey into postponing the game at the behest of your football coach, Jim McElwain, who was deathly afraid of facing LSU without a few starters. 

If Sankey forces LSU and Florida to play Nov. 19, the SEC should reimburse LSU $6 million–$1.5 million to buy out South Alabama, $3.5 million in lost ticket revenue, and another $1 million for expenses to travel to Gainesville. 

Even the money won’t help LSU on the field. if the game is rescheduled to Nov. 19, LSU will have to play three consecutive road games vs. Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M, which all come after a home game vs. Alabama. Nice job, SEC. 

LSU fans don’t need much of a reason, if any, to hate Florida. Foley gave even the most mild-mannered Bayou Bengals fan a reason to loathe the Gators. 

Les Miles was dead on. It is high time the SEC eliminate permanent cross-division opponents. It is time the LSU-Florida series take a scheduled break. I’m sure the Bayou Bengals would not complain if Florida was replaced with Kentucky and/or Vanderbilt every so often, or the Gators would feel the same way if LSU was traded out for Auburn and/or Mississippi State. 

At least Missouri has an open date today, too, so it doesn’t have a disadvantage when traveling to Gainesville next week. The Tigers need all the help they can get after last week’s meltdown in Baton Rouge. 

Hurricane Matthew has also affected the MLB playoffs, Game 2 of the NL Dvision series between the Dodgers and Nationals in Washington was rained out. The game is now set for 1 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, and then the teams must fly to Los Angeles for Game 3 Monday. If the teams were flying commerical, yikes. But they fly on spacious chartered planes, so it isn’t nearly as bad. 

Endangered goalposts 

If you read my most recent post, I noted Kansas Jayhawk fans would attack the goalposts in Lawrence if their team could defeat TCU. 

It might happen. 

With seven minutes left, Kansas leads the Horned Frogs 23-21.  There’s still a long way to go, but how in the hell are the Jayhawks, easily the worst team in a Power 5 conference, leading? 

If TCU loses, Gary Patterson has to be on the hot seat. It’s one thing losing to Arkansas in double overtime and to Oklahoma. It’s something totally different to lose to the Kansas Jayhawks. This would be especially embarrassing for Patterson, given he was an assistant to Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Snyder has lost to KU only once (2004) since 1992. 

Kansas coach David Beatty begged students not to rush the field after the Jayhawks beat pathetic Rhode Island in the season opener. I hope he reacts just as angrily if it happens today.

Fans have no place on a football field, basketball court or any other playing surface. A ticket gives you the right to watch the game, but you also have the responsibility to act like a civilized human being. And part of that is not invading the playing surface and endangering the lives of players, coaches and officials, especially the players and coaches of the opposing team. 

There’s only one person in Lawrence who can prevent fans from invading the field. His name: BILL SELF. If Self were to get on the PA and try to stop it, he might succeed. 

Notice I said might. Too many morons would take the opportunity to make jackasses of themselves. 

I would also venture to bet a goalpost will either end up in a lake or somewhere on Massachusetts Street. Jayhawk fans are like that. 

STAY OFF THE FIELD! 

Bayou Bengals busted

LSU’s College Football Playoff hopes are not dead. However, they are certainly in critical condition.

The Bayou Bengals did absolutely nothing to justify their No. 5 ranking in the Associated Press preseason poll, turning in a stinker–save for a brief period in the third quarter–in losing 16-14 to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field.

I had a terrible feeling about the opener in Green Bay. Wisconsin came in unranked, and was certainly hungry to get even after losing 28-24 to LSU in the 2014 opener at Houston. Officially, Lambeau was considered a ‘neutral site’, but don’t give me that. Last I checked, Green Bay is in Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin is the state’s flagship university. The Badgers are the only team playing in a major conference. Therefore, it was a home game for Wisconsin, only it was played 135 miles northeast of Madison. It would be the same thing if LSU played anyone in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at New Orleans, and yes, I am including Tulane. Almost every LSU-Tulane game played there had an overwhelming majority of purple and gold in the stands. The only exception may have been 1979, when the Wave went 9-2.

If LSU somehow would run the table and then win the SEC championship, yes, they would be in the playoff.

However, with one of the worst quarterback situations among Power 5 conference teams, how can one have any faith of LSU running the table against a schedule which includes trips to Auburn, Florida, Arkansas and Texas A&M, plus a home game with Ole Miss? Oh yeah, there’s also the small matter of the Nov. 5 game with Alabama. And don’t forget South Alabama went into Starkville and beat Mississippi State. The Jaguars visit Baton Rouge in November.

In 1989, LSU entered the season opener at Texas A&M ranked No. 7. The Aggies returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the Bayou Bengals went on to lose 28-16. LSU lost two weeks later at home to Florida State, and then lost five straight in the SEC on its way to 4-7, the first of six consecutive losing seasons and eight losing seasons out of 11.

I don’t believe LSU will have a losing season, but making the playoff? Not unless LSU somehow solves its quarterback situation. Otherwise, the Bayou Bengals will have to win every game 10-7 or 14-10, and that’s no way to go through the SEC. Heck, the offense scored ONCE today, and that was after a fumble recovery set up a short field.

I saw enough bad football in Tiger Stadium during my days in Baton Rouge to be cynical about the program. Yes, LSU has won two national championships during my lifetime, but there’s also been more than enough madness to give me permanent indigestion.

Give Wisconsin credit. The Badgers won with a quarterback making his first start as a fifth-year senior. They won because they were able to stuff Fournette throughout the first half, and contain him when they needed to in the second. Wisconsin’s defense put pressure time after time after time on Brandon Harris, and he wilted. Don’t forget Dave Aranda, Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator the previous three years, is now at LSU.

It’s not the end of the world. I’m almost 1,100 miles away from Baton Rouge. Very few other people care, although some I’m sure will take glee in LSU’s loss, not because they dislike me, but because they root for the underdog.

Barring the unforeseen, Kansas is finally going to win. The Jayhawks lead Rhode Island 26-6 late in the second quarter. KU fans will be able to gloat at least for one week, since K-State and Mizzou both lost. Then again, the Wildcats played at No. 8 Stanford, and the Tigers had a difficult road opener with West Virginia. BIG DIFFERENCE.

If KU students tear down a goalpost, then shame on them. I understand the Jayhawks haven’t won a game in almost 22 months, but to do it after beating Rhode Island????!!!

Enough ranting about college football. It’s a nice diversion, but it isn’t going to affect my quality of life, good or bad.

Sorry Charlie

I found out just as I got on the Kansas Turnpike that Charlie Weis had been fired as football coach of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Good riddance.

The Weis hire was awful. KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger was looking for someone who was as close to Mark Mangino, who somehow coached the jayhawks to the Orange Bowl in 2007. He probably wanted to re-hire Mangino, but that would have opened Pandora’s Box of lawsuits because of the circumstances under which Mangino left.

I did not like Mangino. To put it kindly, he was a major butthole. He once told an African-American player he would “send him back to the hood to get shot with his homies”. How the heck did he stick around for EIGHT SEASONS? Mangino also played favorites, and if you weren’t one of his golden boys, you were pretty much screwed.

Not only is Weis a carbon copy of Mangino–a jerk, offensive minded and physically imposing–but Weis had the pedigree of mentoring Tom Brady with the Patriots when they won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Weis parlayed the success in New England into the head coaching job at his alma mater, Notre Dame, where he attended school but did not play football in the 1970s. He became the first Notre Dame alum to return as football coach since Hugh Devore in 1963. Three of the four coaches following Devore–Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz–won national championships in South Bend, and Weis was expected to get the Fighting Irish back to that level.

Weis fared well in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, although the Irish were humbled in BCS bowls by Ohio State and LSU. In his third season, Notre Dame plummeted to 3-9, and two years later, Weis was sent packing. He made one-year stops with the Chiefs and the Florida Gators before landing with the Jayhaws in December 2011.

It was a panic hire by Zenger, pure and simple. He felt he needed to get a tough guy, a disciplinarian, to follow Turner Gill, whom most felt was too soft. Zenger also was looking for a big name, and Weis fit that bill too.

Weis was just as bad as Gill in Lawrence. The Jayhawks were 1-11 in Weis’ first season of 2012, and it got little better, as KU was 3-9 in 2013, although it ended a 27-game losing streak in Big 12 Conference games to West Virginia.

This year, the Jayhawks have beaten two punching bags (SE Missouri and Central Michigan) and been mauled by Duke (41-3) and Texas (23-0).

At least Zenger is making a decisive move to get a jump on the other schools who may be in the market for a coach following the season. USC did this last year when Pat Haden fired Lane Kiffin in late September and then took his time before hiring Steve Sarkisian away from Washington. Weis was not going to make it to year four, so why prolong the agony?

Clint Bowen is the interim coach, but he’s a stopgap. He should be retained as an assistant if he can get KU to play better, but they have got to get someone with name recognition, preferrably someone with ties to the Big 12.

If I’m Zenger, I go to Tuscaloosa and beg Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to come to Lawrence.

Then again, Zenger could have had Gus Malzahn, but instead, he let him get away for $750,000 to Arkansas State. That’s sad. Really sad. Now Malzahn is at Auburn, where he took the Tigers to the national championship game a year ago and could have them in the playoff this year. Malzahn was the offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2010 when Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy and the Tigers won the national championship. Instead of going with a known commodity in college, Zenger was blinded by Weis’ Super Bowl rings and Tom Brady’s resume.

KU fans should be worried if and when Bill Self retires. Hopefully, Zenger will not be in the athletic director’s chair when that day comes. I don’t have faith Zenger can make a successful hire to replace Weis, and if he has to replace Self, lord help Jayhawk Nation.