At this point, finding one more opponent for Kansas University's fall football schedule is about as much fun as scraping three inches of ice off a windshield.
That's been the task of senior associate athletic director Larry Keating, and time really isn't on his side.
KU has two nonconference games wrapped up -- Sept. 3 against Florida Atlantic and Sept. 17 against Louisiana Tech. Ideally, KU would like the third nonconference game to be Sept. 10 at Memorial Stadium against a Division I-A opponent that doesn't loom as a world-beater.
KU also wants the game to be played under terms of a one-game guaranteed contract, meaning KU wouldn't be obligated to return the trip.
"I think the complexity at this point is fitting the last game into a date," Keating said. "There are teams that have openings, but they only want a home game, like us."
As time passes -- and other schools continue to fill and release their 2005 slates -- Keating admits KU might have to soften its standards. That could result, hypothetically, in playing a home-and-home series with a school and finishing out the contract in 2007, or playing the third nonconference game Sept. 24 instead of Sept. 10.
KU is idle Sept. 24 before Big 12 Conference play begins Oct. 1 at Texas Tech.
That's a worst-case scenario, though. For now, Keating still is searching -- and hoping -- for the perfect puzzle piece to make the schedule exactly what everyone at KU wants.
"The (Big 12) office helps me with other league schedules, so I know who's open what dates and who's looking for games," Keating said. "You know how many nonconference games each league can play, so from there, it's just finding out who needs games."
|Sept. 3 -- Florida AtlanticSept. 10 -- Home game, opponent TBDSept. 17 -- Louisiana TechSept. 24 -- IdleOct. 1 -- at Texas TechOct. 8 -- at Kansas StateOct. 15 -- Oklahoma at Arrowhead StadiumOct. 22 -- at ColoradoOct. 29 -- MissouriNov. 5 -- NebraskaNov. 12 -- at TexasNov. 19 -- Iowa State|
Keating said no school had emerged as a likely opponent.
According to other schools' Web sites, KU has future nonconference games tentatively planned -- a 2006 game at Toledo, 2007 home games against Central Michigan and Toledo, and a home-and-home series with Fresno State. The Jayhawks would play at Fresno in 2007 and play host to the Bulldogs in 2009.
Keating is hoping the NCAA starts allowing 12-game regular seasons by 2007, which would give KU another nonconference game to fill for that season -- and possibly give him another way of filling the '05 schedule, if it comes to that.¢
Three Jayhawks selected: According to the Hula Bowl Web site, three KU players were picked to play in the annual senior football game Jan. 22 in Maui, Hawaii.
KU has been quiet regarding the selections, but Brandon Rideau, David McMillan and Joe Vaughn are listed on the West roster, joining 12 other players from the Big 12.
The Hula Bowl teams are selected by the American Football Coaches Assn., which puts together a committee of five former college head coaches to pick the squads.
The last KU player selected to the Hula Bowl was Isaac Byrd in 1996.¢
Where does it go?: Wondering what became of the $5,000 the Big 12 Conference made KU coach Mark Mangino pony up?
Mangino, as you recall, provided one of the most memorable postgame press conferences of the college football season Nov. 13 when he lashed out against the officiating and implied that Texas' stature as a big money provider in the Big 12 had something to do with the Longhorns' big breaks in a 27-23 come-from-behind UT victory that day.
According to Bob Burda, a league assistant commissioner, Mangino doesn't write a check directly to the conference office. Instead, the distributed funds KU will receive for the Big 12's bowl appearances and other revenue sources will be docked $5,000.
So Mangino will owe KU the monetary punishment for the postgame comments he made, and KU officials have said Mangino would be responsible to pay up, if he hasn't already.
Burda said the fine money will go into an account for undistributed funds, and the board of directors -- the 12 university presidents, including KU chancellor Robert Hemenway -- will decide what to do with the money.