The Kansas Jayhawks ran into a buzz saw at Arrowhead stadium Saturday night. When they came out the other end of that device, they were considerably smaller in both stature and reputation. Even the coach was smaller in the latter, which is saying something. It is not possible to blame the players for this loss. If you wish to blame anything, it is the Kansas system, from Lew Perkins down to the assistant coaches.
The Jayhawks played the best team they had faced all year and they just were not up to it. They got rocked back on their heels in the first few minutes of the game and could not recover enough confidence to play well until it was almost over. This is why people have been complaining all year about the level of competition that the Jayhawks have faced. When you get your first test on the last game of the regular season, you have no idea how to respond to the challenge.
Missouri is not that much better from a talent standpoint. But they have had experience with adversity this year, where Kansas played eleven games against various versions of the South Dakota School of Cosmetology. Even Nebraska, who has a name, was a creampuff this year, as their record shows. Playing against real competition made Missouri tough. Playing against pushovers made Kansas weak. This was not a game decided by talent. It was a game decided by attitude and cojones, and Kansas lost both those competitions badly.
The players need to be tested, Lew. You need to face some competition, Mark. It is not all about the record. It is not all about the money. It is not about falsely inflating your record by playing only the sitting ducks. It is about building the character of your players. It is about teaching young men how to respond to adversity, in football and in life. The Kansas system has not done that job very well.
The Kansas players are good. They were just poorly managed.