Kansas Bites the Dust

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.


Kansas Bites the Dust — 4 Comments

  1. Bucky –

    The Mountaineers have faced some adversity this year and learned from it. They are in an excellent position to be the number one college football team in the country. I will be watching them with great interest for the rest of the year, too. They look like the have what it takes.

  2. I both agree and disagree with that they should have played harder teams. Before the season started, no one thought they would go on a tear the way they did. You must remember that teams must win 6 games to be bowl eligible.

    Given what we know now about the team, there is no doubt that they should have played a tougher schedule–they probably would have faired pretty well. However, we can’t go in the past and change that. They should have beat Missouri (which they would have without the two big interceptions and missed field goals) and they should beat VT.

    If you are the guy creating a schedule for a team who hasn’t played in a BCS bowl game ever, you want to give them the best shot they have at getting ANY bowl game. To do that, they gave them a fairly easy schedule (at least as easy as the Big 12 can get). The team succeeded in getting a bowl game. Should they have done more? Yes. But it isn’t managements fault. It is the team as a whole.

    But lets not downplay what they have done, it is truly amazing.

  3. Gary –

    I certainly see where you’re coming from. But part of my point is that it is not all about the money, and the pursuit of a bowl game, any bowl game is a pursuit for money. Especially if Lew is somewhere in the picture. Arranging life so that it’s easy doesn’t teach the kids anything but sloth.

    You’re also right about the achievement. I’d have been thrilled with a 9-3 team this year. They just played their hearts out. I’m proud of them.

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