Some weekend. No Cathedral football Friday. L’s hoops team got blasted on Saturday. The Colts appear to be shitty and have made the wrong selection, yet again, for their quarterback. I could write a lot about two of those three topics.
I’m going to save all my writing effort for another topic, though. And I think you know what that is.
THE KANSAS FOOTBALL JAYHAWKS ARE THREE-AND-OH!!!!!
First 3–0 start since 2009. Consecutive, double-digit road wins for the first time since 1995. First time receiving votes in the AP poll since October 2009. And with the early lines out for next week, which pegged KU as eight-point favorites over Duke, it is the first time KU has been favored over a Power 5 school since November 2009.
When you’ve been as bad as long as KU has, even a modest run of success can make history.
I wish I could Saturday’s game against Houston down in great detail, reveling in all the highlights as KU laid the wood on a team that was ranked in the preseason and had designs on a New Year’s Day bowl. Sadly I missed almost the entire game.
Just like last week, L’s basketball kept me from the beginning of the game. We got in the car in time to hear KU score, get an interception, and drive into the red zone before lightning stopped play for an hour.
We met friends at Top Golf. Between shots I checked and saw that KU tied the game, took the lead, and then pulled away.
When we got home, I was hoping to watch the final 5:00 or so. However, I was again the victim by one of the biggest screw jobs in televised sports: despite paying for ESPN+, since our cable package does not include ESPNU, I can’t use the ESPN app to watch any games that are on the U. It’s a fucking travesty and Congress needs to get involved.
Luckily KU still streams the radio broadcast for free so I was able to listen and hear the Rock Chalk Chant rolling through the stadium as KU closed out the win.
I was pumped, but at least 30% less pumped than I would have been had I been able to watch the entire game.
What a performance! What a start to the season!
We KU fans have been teased for years. Every August we heard stories about how that season would be different, how whatever coach was running things had finally got his players in, how the attitude around the whole program had changed. And every September they would lose to some shitty teams then go get pounded for two months in the Big 12.
I figured KU would be better this year. Lance Leipold and his staff had a full year in Lawrence to get their systems in, to get used to the returning players, and to bring in some really good transfers. But I knew with KU’s schedule, seeing a huge increase in wins was unlikely. The team would be better, but it was most likely a 2–3 win squad and the 2023 season is when we should expect to see real improvement.
I didn’t put much stock into the week one win over Tennessee Tech, a truly bad FCS team. I wasn’t sure what to make of last week’s win over West Virginia. Maybe WVU was shitty and it wasn’t that impressive of a win, a game KU did its best to piss away. And I really didn’t think KU had a chance this week. I thought they might battle into the second half, but Houston was supposed to be really good. The persistent rumor this summer was that KU was doing everything it could to get out of the game, hoping to replace the Cougars with a cream puff. Houston refused, lest they give up their own cream puff. Joke’s on them, I guess!
When I saw KU was down 14–0 I let out a sigh and hoped we could at least make it respectable.
I never expected KU to erase that lead in a matter of minutes. Or dominate the rest of the game.
Jalon Daniels appears to be the real deal. The running backs are one of the best collective groups in the nation. The wide receivers don’t awe you with their talent, but they make plays. And how about the offensive line?!?! The unit that has killed KU for a decade, rendering decent skill players impotent because they couldn’t block or protect, has somehow given up zero sacks through three weeks. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki might be a genius, and it’s as much a crime that he took so long to get any national run as it is that Leipold was ignored for so long.
The defense…well, it’s shaky. Some people who know more about football and follow things more closely than me have said the D really isn’t that bad. In fact they are often solid. They just kill themselves by giving up too many big plays.
My reaction to that view is, ok, fine. But it’s going to get a lot harder to not give up those big plays in the next few weeks as the talent level they will face ratchets up.
I don’t know if KU can continue to score 50 a week against Big 12 competition. The defense needs to find a way to stop giving up 40 a week so the offense has a chance.
So here we are, nearly a month into the season, and KU football fans can actually dream a little. Duke is 3–0, but against lesser competition. KU had a lead on the Blue Devils last year at half-time then got blown out in the second half. I think the returning players will look to atone for that loss.
Then comes home games against Iowa State and TCU. Not necessarily games KU will be favored in, but likely the easiest of the remaining Big 12 games. If KU is for real, it’s not too much to ask for them to go 2–1 over that stretch. Hell, 3–0 and being bowl eligible before Columbus Day is not likely, but it’s also not completely outrageous.
Maybe this is all still a fluke and KU will come crashing down soon, if not this week then as soon as the proper Big 12 season starts. Maybe KU will somehow thread the needle this year of not winning enough games to make a bowl game but enough to ensure that Leipold and his staff leave for a better job after this season. Maybe a rash of injuries hits the squad as they play bigger, better teams and they fall back into the hole of getting blown out every week.
For now, though, we Jayhawks can enjoy competence and actual good play from our football program. It’s been so long since that’s happened, we have every right to gloat and dream for a minute or two.
Rock Chalk, bitches.
- Until you look at the non-conference schedule and see zero patsies on it. I’m not sure who has done the football scheduling for KU in recent years, but they are all idiots. Play a bunch of crappy schools from crappy conferences until you are sure the program needs the boost of playing other Power 5, or near Power 5, teams. ↩
- Cue the “We finally hired the right guy and he’s going to leave in two years!” complaint. I’ve said for years I’m totally onboard with this. KU should aspire to be a stepping-stone job. It’s better than firing a guy and starting over every three years because it means the outgoing staff has done something right. Ask me if I still feel the same way in December if/when Leipold is interviewing in Lincoln, NE, Auburn, AL, or other cities with a richer football tradition than Lawrence, KS. ↩