Stunningly, an SEC advocate is touting one of their own. Listen Gary, I know the SEC is home to a lot of teams with a lot of history and some insanely passionate fan bases. But it's also home to some truly awful football teams and some even worse offense. Matthew Stafford is a great quarterback and is a better pro prospect than Colt McCoy, but he absolutely would not be doing what Colt is doing with Texas' offense. If you need to look to his sports blogger speed, do that. If you need to look to his never completing 70% of his passes in a single game, do that. But whatever you do, don't go short changing what Colt McCoy and Texas are doing this year, which has been nothing short of phenomenal thus far.
1. The fear of a man with a football: It's no secret that the entire Wildcat defense is afraid of tackling. There's no other logical explanation for their defensive "efforts" this year, primarily against the run. This chart depicts these labors in futility. The last column shows their stats sans the games against North Texas & Montana State. Will it help us? Of course it will. How much it helps depends a lot on how we choose to attack this revolving door of a defense. Personally, I'd vote for something like a 55/45 split of running to passing. After my ranting and raving the last few weeks, I don't think I really need to explain why, especially against this "defense."
2. Special teams: I probably should have put this as a reason KSU could win, but on account of my oversight, I'll list it here instead. And no, I don't think KU is going to do anything on special teams to win. But really, as long as they only allow the same from KSU, that could be reason enough. KSU depends on plays/scores from their special teams to make up for their awful defense and inconsistent offense. Taking that away from them goes a long way towards beating them.
Will it help us? Confidence is low. I haven't seen anything to make me believe we'll allow a kick to be blocked, which is huge. But while coverage has been better lately, there are still plenty of holes, especially in punt coverage. And of course they're not at all opposed to fake punting either and given the holes in our defense, this offers up some cause for concern as well.
3. The bulletin board material: I don't care what players say (or don't say), crap like this has an effect. (Tangent: Deon Murphy is pretty dangerous, especially in the return game. But that’s about the only place he'd (possibly) see the field for KU given that he has a mere 23 catches on the year and 7 were in what could easily be called his only good game of the year.) Obviously stuff like this doesn't help on the field. But if the Hawks had not yet turned their attention to their purple neighbors, one would think they have now.
Will it help us? I think so. I'm sure Mangino recruited 3 or maybe even 4 of their players anyway, so I'm not sure what all that talk is about. And 90% of what they said was pretty irrelevant altogether. But for Kendall to say that KSU is better (laughable as that statement is to begin with) because "[they] have more heart" was probably where he crossed the line in the Jayhawk locker room. Obviously, no matter what happens Saturday, we'll never really know if this was a factor. What we do know is that this is apparently their Super Bowl (a countdown clock, really?) and so they're going to talk it up that way. Regardless of it will help them or not. Very intelligent.
4. Todd Reesing: I planned to rescind Todd's hold on this spit for his whole 3 picks in 4 passes display in the 3rd quarter. Though he had obviously made mistakes before that was the first time in his career I felt like he was actually hurting our chances to compete. He wasn't getting much help (obviously), but one of his best attributes is that he forgets the last play – good or bad- and he clearly wasn't doing that during the third quarter.
Will it help us? Yes. For one thing, he's still a great quarterback. The only difference is that he had one atrocious quarter. But more than that, I'm putting him here for his attitude. I mentioned yesterday that KU's mental state and general lack of confidence could be seen as a weakness right now. And I believe that. But if there's one thing Todd is, it's confident, so much so that it's infectious. When he lost that confidence last week, so did the team. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm chalking that up to an anomaly and betting that he comes back the same, confident quarterback. If that happens, the team will follow.
5. Turnovers: This hasn't been a strong suit for the Hawks this year (-3). In fact, you could probably point to it as the single biggest difference between the last two years. There have been plenty of other ones, but we lost the TO battle exactly once last year (Arrowhead). This year, we've been on the wrong end four times and lost three of those games, with the only win in Ames. KU might be good enough to win this week without winning the turnover stat, but I don't want to find out.
Will it help us? Hard to say, but I'd like to think so. As bad as KU has been here, it's usually come in bunches. Of their 15 TOs, 9 have come in two games. Even more favorable, KSU is even worse in this capacity, at -7 on the season with 9 forced and 16 given away. Of the 9 they've forced, 4 came courtesy of Montana State. So it's pretty safe to say they aren't exactly a ball hawking defense (perhaps this goes back to their fear of men holding a football). Whatever the reason, this is a huge stat for most teams and even bigger for ones with defenses as bad as the two taking the field on Saturday.