Monday, May 14, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 4: Kansas Football.




KU Football At-A-Glance:

  • Team founded 1890.
  • 573-570-58 Overall Record.
  • 0 Natty Titles.
  • 8 Conference Titles (0 Big 12, obvs.).
  • 12 Bowl Appearances, 6-6 overall record. (Most recent: 2008 Insight Bowl, 42-21 W vs. Minnesota).
  • 0 Heisman Winners.
  • 2 Fat Coaches, 1 Skinny Coach in the past decade.
History with TCU.  Interestingly enough, Kansas and TCU have a LONG history together, having met for the first time in 1942 and 27 more times since then.  In the meetings, TCU holds a 16-8-4 advantage, although the Jayhawks are currently riding a 3 game win streak against TCU dating to their last meetings in the late 90s, the last coming in 1997.  Fun fact:  The two teams met in 1946 and 1947.  The final score of both games?  0-0.  In fact, over the 4 years that the Frogs/Jayhawks met in Kansas City during the 1940s, Kansas never scored a point.  It's always interesting to me to see the way that offenses have evolved over the years as most of the games from that era were far more likely to be 2-0 as 49-50.  The forward pass, it works.  Tommy Tuberville thinks of those good ole days when he's alone at night.

Famous Ex-Jayhawks:
  • Gale Sayers
  • John Riggins
  • Dana Stubblefield
  • Bobby Douglass
  • Mike McCormack.
  • Aqib Talib.  He killed that guy.
Rivalries:
  • The Border War (Missouri).  It's looking like this one will not be played for a while due to Mizzou's jump to the SEC, and the Conference will be weaker for it because apparently these two fan bases have some DEEP SEATED hate for one another.  Like, Civil War Deep seated - in 1863 a group of Missouri "bushwackers" burned Lawrence to the ground, all in the name of slavery.  Believe it or not, this event is FREQUENTLY brought to the forefront of any Mizzou/Kansas fan hate.  If only Amon Carter had been a pryomaniac instead of a newspaperman SMU once...
  • Kansas/Nebraska.  Once the longest running rivalry game in all of college sports, this one went the way of the Border War a year prior when Nebraska left the conference.  This is probably a good thing - KU has only won 23 of the teams' 116 matchups.
  • Sunflower Showdown (KSU).  Much like aggy/UT, the annual game for the Governor's Cup holds a lot more prestige for little brother KSU than it does for the Jayhawks.  However, with their other two rivals having left the Conference, this one might take on a little more meaning.
Recent History.  You know how the Kansas Men's Basketball program and their uber nerd fans are one of the most storied programs in history?  Well, their football team is pretty much the opposite.  They aren't as historically bad as their cross-state rivals in Manhattan, but barely carrying a .500 overall record isn't great for business.  (Full disclosure:  TCU is hardly above .500 all-time ourselves; we just pretend about 30 years of TCU Football didn't really happen, a great coping mechanism).  Kansas may want to think about adapting to our way of life - after winning the Big 8 in 1968, they wouldn't win another Conference title until... ever.  Seriously, nada.  Arguably the best year in Kansas Football history was 2007 when Mark Mangino led his 2nd ranked Jayhawks to an 11-0 record heading into their Border War game against #3 Mizzou who sported their own 11-0.  This would be the first and only time in Big 12 History where that game would decide who would get chewed up by Texas or OU in the Big 12 Championship game.  Kansas would end up losing the game to Chase Daniel and his booger fingers, but as fate would have it Mizzou would lose to OU the next week, allowing Kansas the opportunity to backdoor their way into the Orange Bowl, a game they would win 24-21 over VT.  Seriously, the Orange Bowl is still a BCS Bowl and the Cotton isn't.  Go figure.  Two years after the game?  Mangino was gone, a victim of his boorish behavior, and thus one of the worst D-1 coaching performances of all time began.  

Fort Worth's own Turner Gill took over the reins of a bad KU team and just drove them into the ground, going 3-9 and year one, then following it up with 2-10 just this past year.  In those two years, Gill would win just one Conference game, a super improbable comeback against equally as maligned Colorado, a game that would be the nail Dan Hawkins' coffin.  Gill was relieved of his duties this past Spring.  Still think Auburn should've hired him, Chuck?  Much like the Lakers deliberately trading Lamar Odom to Dallas and keeping him on the payroll in order to sabotage the locker room, it's entirely plausible that Gill, a Nebraska alum, was sent from the Cornhusker state to do just the same.  

2012 Outlook:  Now Kansas even more improbably enters the Charlie Weis Era, who is basically football equivalent of the Trent Johnson hiring.  Seriously, ask a Florida fan about Weis sometime, just make sure you clear out your schedule.  Hate doesn't even begin to describe it.  Clearly Kansas did the math that only a fat man can lead them to success.  The problem with Weis is that, despite the "decided schematic advantage" he claims to bring, his whole coaching acumen boils down to showing off his Super Bowl rings and talking about how he knows Tom Brady, two things that are going to be major nonstarters at rebuilding gig like Kansas.  Perhaps the most inexcusable thing about the hiring?  Weis is an offensive coach and while KU DEFINITELY needs all around upgrades including on offense, their defense was DEAD LAST in all of college football last year.  They gave up 56 points to OSU last year... by halftime.  Seriously, OSU tapped the breaks coming out of the halftime locker room and STILL scored 70 on the team.  A TERRIBLE Texas team?  43.  Aggy?  61.  Sure, they almost LOLbeat Baylor, and would have had they not all of a sudden realized how terrible they were supposed to be and let Griffin score 3 TDs late in the game, but don't let that fool you.  This team was incredible, stunningly bad on defense.  Weis isn't going to make things any better.

Here I would typically pick a few names out of the stats and make a semi-definitive statement about KU this coming year, but based on what Weis is working with, I don't see the need.  At Notre Dame, Charlie Weis inherited a good team from Ty Willingham, who many consider to be the worst coach in ND history, and took them to back to back BCS games.  The fact that they lost both convincingly didn't seem to register with the Irish brass as they almost immediately gave him a 10 year contract extension.  For their dedication?  Weis' third team would go 3-7, and his last two 6-6.  In that time, he would lose to an 8 loss Syracuse team - the first such 8-loss team to beat the Irish ever - and lose to Navy for the first time in 43 attempts.  Just for good measure, Weis would lose to the Midshipmen again the following season.  

From there, Weis would graze to the Kansas City Chiefs, and then to the Gators as OC where he would oversee some of the most historically poor offenses in Gator history.  Good luck, Kansas.  I'm not saying you're going to be bad as long as Weis is in charge... JK! I'm totally saying that.

Miscellania:

The greatest non-black-and-white era TCU QB looks like this:

The greatest non-black-and-white era KU QB looks like this:

Coats, Frogs have big weekend in Colorado

TCU not only earned the sweep of Air Force they so badly needed this weekend, they also added a few exclamation points to the three wins.  The Frogs outscored the Falcons 33-3 on the weekend, and since New Mexico dropped one of their games against UNLV, TCU moved within striking distance of their seventh consecutive regular-season MWC title. Among the highlights of the weekend:

-Jason Coats reached two big milestones over the weekend, collecting his 300th base hit and his 200th career RBI.  He needs 17 hits and 25 runs batted in by the end of the season to reach Royce Huffman's school records in those categories.  Coats, who started the season a bit slow, now leads the team in batting average (.341), total hits (60), doubles (11), RBI (43) and slugging percentage (.528).

-As a team, the Frogs collected an eye-opening 45 base hits this weekend, which is definitely a sight for sore box score-reading eyes.  The three day outburst in Colorado Springs raises the team's overall batting average to .260 for the season.

-Among those registering in the hit column this weekend was junior catcher Al Ralston, who rapped a single in the 9th inning of Saturday's contest in his first career at-bat.  If you don't recognize Ralston's name, it's because he is the team's bullpen catcher.  He likely had no expectation of ever getting into a game, but that's a cool gesture by Schlossnagle to reward his hard work and probably a good moment for the continued building of team chemistry when the team got to celebrate his newly-minted 1.000 batting average.

-Freshmen Derek Odell and Kevin Cron both extended their hitting streaks, with Odell' snow at 7 and Cron's at 6.  Just as was the case this fall with the football team, the youngsters on this year's baseball squad have come a long way since the start of the season.  Their initial growing pains will pay off down the road.

-Credit is also due to the TCU pitching staff, who held Air Force to just 18 base hits (and a .188 average) for the weekend.  Preston Morrison, Andrew Mitchell and Stefan Crichton all looked sharp and earned wins in their starts.  The Falcons aren't exactly the Texas Rangers' lineup, but any mistake in that altitude can turn into a 420 foot home run.  The Frogs' ability to avoid those mistakes is good preparation for what I hope is another deep NCAA run.

Big 12 Orientation, Week 4: Kansas

This week, we move across the Sunflower State to focus on the first team that the Frogs will face as an official Big 12 member: the Kansas Jayhawks.

First a bit about the University of Kansas...shouldn't they call it UK instead of KU?  Backward as it might be, the school was established in 1865.  As part of its deal with the state, the city of Lawrence had to provide $15,000 and 40 acres of land.  How much would a city pay now to have a flagship state university? Kansas is one of the few Big 12 schools with an endowment in the b-b-b-BILLIONS, as their $1.25B made from selling old baseball cards puts them right on par with TCU in that department.  Just under 30,000 students attend what US News & World Report calls the 101st best college in America.

Athletically, the Jayhawks placed 72nd in last year's NACDA Director's Cup standings, fueled by an overall budget of $67.2 million.  Their sporting identity is a bit unique in the Big 12 in that they are the league's only true basketball school.  I'm not going to disparage basketball here, because Lord knows I love the sport and I'd kill (just a hobo, not a real person) for TCU to have the kind of hoops accomplishments as Kansas.  But you have to wonder about a fan base that eschews the traditional sporting priority to the degree of Jayhawk fans.  Here's the hottest girl at KU explaining just how ready for basketball their fans are every year right at the beginning of the meat of the conference football schedule:

Morning Dump

Football:

Aaron Green transferring from Nebraska to TCU San Antonio Express-News


Florida State/Big 12 stuff:

FSU trustee's comments should get Big 12's attention Kansas City Star

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher says school should explore leaving for Big 12 Orlando Sentinel

FSU to Big 12 buzz builds ESPN

FSU AD shoots down Big 12 rumors CBS Sports


Baseball:

Coats' milestones lead TCU to sweep of Air Force gofrogs.com

Jim Schlossnagle Radio Show returns Monday night gofrogs.com


Track & Field:

TCU women win MWC outdoor title gofrogs.com