Well, there’s snow on the ground. Probably as good of a time as any for my first lengthy football post of the year.
It says a lot about the KU football program’s recent history that a win over another crappy team and a near-win against a very good team went down as the best stretch since the end of the 2008 season.
So go ahead and laugh at us if your team has been a consistent winner over that span. The last two weeks have been a lot of fun, though. The way the ball bounced through the first 42 minutes or so of Saturday’s TCU game, you kind of felt like the Football Gods were smiling on KU for once. TCU woke up and did just enough to win, getting some help from KU not taking advantage of a couple chances to either pad the lead or remain even with the Frogs. It was very nice to not look completely inept for a change.
What do I think about Clint Bowen’s chances for remaining as the head coach next year? I like him a lot. I think he’s been a good change and the team’s improvement is because of his enthusiasm, leadership, and adjustments he’s made in personnel and in the coaching staff.
But I do wonder how much of that carries over to next year if he gets the job. There are a lot of guys who made big plays the last two weeks who went through the Turner Gill debacle and the Charlie Weis experience. Were things so toxic that just putting a guy like Bowen in charge was bound to make things better? Can he recapture this magic next year?
The scary thing about KU is they have a rather thin roster, but are senior-heavy. They are going to lose a ton of important players after this season and don’t have a lot of depth ready to fill in. Next year is going to be a very difficult season, regardless of who the coach is or how well he and his staff recruit between now and February.
That said, I don’t know what realistic choices are out there that can do better than Bowen can do. It’s a tough damn job and after the last two hires, I’m tempted to just go with what we know. Especially when that guy is local and an alum and is young.
I said back in my NFL preview post that the Colts would struggle early then roll through the last six games of their schedule. I got parts of that right.
As expected, they lost to Denver and Philadelphia to open the season. The catch being they made Denver sweat in that opening week game and were a score away from putting the Eagles away in week two.
Then, somehow, the defense began playing out of their minds and Andrew Luck took the next step to becoming the next great NFL quarterback and they started kicking ass. A blow-out loss to the Steelers was concerning, for sure. But they also put a beatdown on the Bengals and went to Houston and dominated early then held on to get a huge road win in the division.
Things were looking good.
Just like so many Novembers since Peyton Manning arrived, a key game against the Patriots in which the Colts could measure themselves. Different game, same story. Bill Belichick and his staff found ways to gouge the Colts defense and contain their offense. Ahmad Bradshaw limped off the field late, which is very concerning since Trent Richardson still can’t run and there’s pretty much no one behind him.
It was only one game, but it was a telling loss. The Colts had a chance to not only slay the Patriots dragon but also turn the AFC race into a wild, five-team affair for the last six weeks of the season. Instead, they’re a step behind the leaders.
The Colts have a pretty favorable schedule left. They get Houston at home and go to Dallas. So one of the first round byes isn’t out of the question. But it’s far from a given and I doubt they are interested in hosting the Chiefs (again) or tempt fate and have to stop Peyton one more time just to get to the second round.
The Colts did not feel elite to begin this season, despite Peter King picking them for the Super Bowl. There were too many holes on defense, too many questions on offense. But with the start they’ve had, it’s going to be a huge disappointment if their playoff run is only one game this year.