As was pointed out in our previous post, thanks go out to Tim Griffin for including us in his wonderful blog over at ESPN. There are some good links over there this morning, as well as a pretty good post about whether or not Colorado deserved their national title in 1990 (of course not, but you have to love the 5th down). In response to those commenters from yesterdays post, I want to apologize.
I truly am sorry for having the audacity to suggest that Kansas could put together a 10 win season. Even more so, I would like to apologize for even toying with the notion that they could possibly beat the mighty Methzouri Tigers just one year after they lost by a touchdown to said team. Both were truly irreprehensible acts against humanity and I feel much better having you all put me in my rightful place. I do only possess the brain of a standard third grader (after all, I am a born Kansan), but I did not realize it until you all articulated it so eloquently. Had I known our fair blog was going to be graced with such astute intellectuals as yourselves, I would have never even attempted putting together such a piece. In fact, if I thought you would be coming back I would probably have to just resign my post and keep to myself. But since it is unlikely that any of you would lower yourself to our level with any regularity, I'll go ahead and throw out a defense for us small-minded people from the Sunflower State.
First things first. It's July. Had I told you at this time last year that South Florida (or Kansas) would ever rise to #2 in the rankings you may have reacted even more fervently than you did about this anarchy. Whereas I used the word may there, I will absolutely, 100% guarantee that none of you would have even entertained the idea that Kansas could go 12-1, even with such a cushy schedule (albeit one extremely similar to Methzouri).
Hindsight is 20/20. I realize that just as well as anyone, but no one was making any noise about how Kansas was likely to have a good year because they had a soft schedule at this time last year.
During the non-conference all anyone said was, "Wait until they have to play K-State (a team that had just won in Austin), then they'll surely lose."
And when they won in Manhattan, all anyone said was, "But they haven't even left the state yet. Wait until they go to Colorado (where OU had just lost) – then they'll surely lose."
And when that didn't happen all anyone said was, "Just wait until they have to play in the hostile environment at Kyle Field (where Texas lost) – there's no way they can handle that."
And when that didn't happen, they all said, "Wait until they have to play in primetime in Stillwater (where Tech lost). They won't be able to handle that."
And when that didn't happen, nobody really knew what to say except that the only reason they had done all of this was because of their soft schedule. And then they lost to Methzouri and everyone's "schedule attributions" were confirmed. That is, until they beat Virginia tech in Miami.
Look, I'll be the first to admit that last season almost assuredly wouldn't have happened with this year's schedule. But quite obviously, I'm not suggesting it will either. I'm simply suggesting that even with a much tougher slate that a 10-3 record is attainable, if not optimistic. If you can truly go through it and determine (in July, mind you) that I am unequivocally, without a doubt, 100% wrong more power to you. For those of you that aren't so sure though, keep on reading…
@ South Florida – As I said yesterday, I think this is an enormous game and I definitely won't be surprised to see the Hawks come home 2-1. But I also know that the Bulls do not return any of their cornerbacks and consistently have a lot of trouble stopping anything other than a speed running game, so I certainly think Kansas has the ability to win this game as well.
@ ISU and v. Colorado and @ Oklahoma – I don't think many people will argue with these, although I could see both the former being tough games. And as I predicted yesterday, I'm thinking of the latter as a loss.
V. Texas Tech – I realize that everyone is really high on Tech right now. And perhaps that is deservedly so. However, the only reason anyone expects them to take this leap is on account of their defense returning 10 starters. Maybe I'm wrong and they really will be great, but I'm going to have to see it to believe it. And beyond that, this team lost at home to Colorado last year. Are we really ready to say that there is no feasible way Kansas can beat them in Lawrence?
V. KSU – Again, I doubt I have a whole lot of disagreement here, even with Josh Freeman lining up on the opposite side.
@ Nebraska – I actually got more criticism here for suggesting that the same team could lose @ Nebraska and beat Methzouri in the same season. Because that's never happened before. It's not like either Kansas or Methzou has gone winless in Lincoln since the sixties or anything. In all honesty, though, clearly times have changed. And I will absolutely not be surprised if Kansas wins @ Nebraska and loses to Methzou. But on the other hand, on paper it doesn't make a lot of sense how Oklahoma beat Methzou by a combined 31 points, only to lose to Colorado and Tech (two teams Methzou destroyed). If the favorite won every game I sure would enjoy college football a whole lot less…
V. Texas – Similar to my Tech debate (and all of these, for that matter), I don't know what's going to happen here. But I do know that in 2004 when Kansas went a putrid 4-7, they had VY and Texas on the ropes and could have easily won the game had a few things gone differently. Of course they didn't and there are no excuses for that, but none of that matters. Given that it's July and we don't know exactly how much of a difference Muschamp will have or how Colt and/or Chiles will perform at QB it's hard to say how this Texas team will compare to that 2004 team, or even last year's squad, for that matter. But I can tell you one thing; this Kansas team will be a whole lot better than the one they fielded in 2004, so I certainly won't be stunned if they beat the Longhorns in Lawrence.
V. Methzou @ Arrowhead – Since I likely wouldn't have received much of a response without suggesting this blasphemy, this is probably the one I need to defend the most. However, I don't see much of a reason to do so. If the point hasn't been made by now, a few more sentences are unlikely to push it over the top. But I will say that I wholeheartedly think Methzou is the team to beat in the north. Daniel, Maclin and Coffman can put together one hell of an offense, even without getting much from the other 8 on the field. Defensively, I think William Moore is one of the more under-rated players in the country. And the unit may be even better than they were a year ago – which, by the way, they'll need to be to have a chance at attaining the goals they've set. But even with all of that being true, they sure as hell aren't going to be any more bulletproof than a handful teams from last year: USC (to Stanford), LSU (to Kentucky and Arkansas), Georgia (to South Carolina), aOSU (to Illinois) or even Michigan (to Appy State) come to mind. So to suggest that a team like Kansas has no shot to beat them a full four month's in advance seems a little presumptuous to me.
Also, just food for thought, but to say that both teams have been mired in mediocrity for a while is probably being a bit too kind. If last year was any indication, they each have turned the corner and possibly made this rivalry relevant somewhere other than the middle of the country. However, even as pitiful as Kansas has been over the last two decades, I found these numbers interesting…
Head-to-head - KU:11 - MU:9
Bowl Record – KU: 4-1 MU:3-3
So in an attempt the keep things semi-relevant, over the past 20 years Kansas holds the lead in head-to-head victories and has more bowl wins. Since you all like to point to the fact that Kansas has only had one good season (I won't even argue all that zealously), it's worth noting that even in that time they have managed to out-do their counterparts to the east.