Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bowl hopes for KU slim

Jayhawks' possibilities down to 3 destinations


At best, Kansas University's bowl chances are iffy. At worst, they're on life support.

The Jayhawks' 42-17 football loss to Missouri on Saturday wrapped up a 6-6 regular season that probably won't be enough to earn an invitation to a bowl game.

KU's bowl possibilities are down to three - the Texas Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl or the Motor City Bowl. The door is cracked just enough to have KU coach Mark Mangino making his case to reporters after Saturday's game.

"I'm hopeful," Mangino said. "I think our players deserve it. I'm hopeful that we get that opportunity."

The Texas Bowl, which picks eighth among Big 12 Conference schools, will choose this week between Oklahoma State and Kansas, the only two 6-6 teams in the league. Every Big 12 team with seven victories, by rule, is picked before the 6-6 teams can be.

The Houston-based bowl is expected to pick Oklahoma State. If that happens, it means KU's only hope is what looks to be just two at-large bids at other bowls. Those would be for the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, which has an at-large bid built in, and the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, which has an at-large bid because the Big Ten failed to fill all of its tie-ins.

Audio clips

2006 KU-MU football

By rule, any 7-5 team that doesn't get a conference-affiliated bowl berth must get an at-large berth before any 6-6 team can be considered. That said, a Mid-America Conference program will move to the front of the line, since Northern Illinois' victory Friday gave the league four seven-win teams to go with only three bowl tie-ins.

The other possible teams that could cut to the front are Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette, both of which are 6-5 and could be favored next Saturday in their season finales. If one of the two wins, the Sun Belt will have two seven-win teams and only one bowl tie-in.

Even if Troy and ULL both lose, a numbers crunch makes KU's chances slim at best for what looks to be one at-large bid for close to a dozen uninvited 6-6 teams.

Two Pac-10 teams - out of Washington State, Arizona and possibly UCLA - will have 6-6 records and no conference bowl invitation. Also projected to be scrambling for an at-large berth are Alabama, Pittsburgh, Kent State, Arkansas State and SMU. A 6-6 Mountain West team, probably Wyoming, will be hoping for at-large luck, as well.

Kansas shouldn't count on the Texas Bowl picking KU over OSU. Oklahoma State is geographically closer to Houston, has arguably a more appealing fan base and owns a head-to-head victory over Kansas this season.

What's cruel for KU fans is that several 6-6 teams will be playing in bowl games next month, including Iowa, Minnesota, Florida State and Miami. But the Big 12 season was ripe with parity, resulting in nine bowl-eligible teams for only eight bowl tie-ins.

Because of that, one Big 12 team - either Oklahoma State or Kansas - is going to get the magic ticket to Houston. The other one enters its name in a much more gloomy lottery.


Displayhawk 13 years, 1 month ago

The Hawks didn't take care of business earlier in the season and finish off some games they should have, so there's no use crying now about not going bowling now! Win the games and the bowl invitations will take care of themselves!

FlaHawk 13 years, 1 month ago

Who would invite a team that lost to Toledo? Loses to Baylor, OSU and A&M in the 4th quarter do not make for an impressive resume. KU has no real history of traveling so Mangino and crew get what they deserve on the field! THe MU loss of this magnitude kills any chance of a bowl this year. KU had it all in their own hands all season and could not get over he edge!

truefan 13 years, 1 month ago

Actually we do have a history of traveling. We filled the stadium against Houston. We embarrassed a Texas fan base in their own state. If it's all about money then we will get looked at.

As far as coach goes. He had a young team this year...especially his secondary...that got torched through the air. Those problems will lesson with age and experience of our players. If you fire Mangino KU will have absolutely no chance of finding a better coach and will go right back to 2-10 seasons of years past. He didn't get out coached he got out recruited because we aren't a football powerhouse yet. Mangino's youth got burnt yesterday, not his game plan.

javier87 13 years, 1 month ago

How about if KU puts up the money and gets Larry Coker.

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 1 month ago

Get real javier. First of all we don't have enough jail space to house all the criminals he recruits. Secondly, he coached at a premier program located in a state full of talent. Do you really think he could recruit the same players if he coached in Lawrence? Top high school players want to go to Miami, they have to be sold on coming to KU.

seattlehawk_78 13 years, 1 month ago

If Mangino is guilty of anything it's his inability to protect a lead. While he has made them competitive, there have been a number of winnable games that slipped through his fingers. That being said, I agree with truefan. If you get rid of Mangino, no decent coach will ever come here unless they want to use it as a stepping stone for a better job. He's the best thing we've had since Don Fambrough and I pray that those people with opinions that count realize it.

Roy Scherff 13 years, 1 month ago

I don't think we should give up on Mangino. The program has made lots of progress under his stewardship. His recruiting classes will continue to improve and next year looks bright. Lets see if Mr. Perkins has the snap to get us into a really crowded bowl picture. If he can do that Mangino's teams will continue to improve.

William James 13 years, 1 month ago

This is certainly a dissapointing season. But 6-6 aint terrible when you are completely rebuilding your defense and youve got a freshman running the offense. These kids made great strides during the season and I expect the Hawks to break the Top 25 next year and maybe win the Big 12 North. The University agrees with me and thatS why they arent even considering firing Mangino.
A man who is not only loyal to the program, but one of the best recruiters in the nation. This guy was the recruiting coach for KSU when they went from being the worst program in Division 1A to one of the elite! Sorry guys, Mangino aint going anywhere-DEAL WITH IT!

JBurtin 13 years, 1 month ago

Honestly, ku must have the largest number of fair-weather fans of any school in the nation. Or at least the most vocal and stupid fair-weather fans.

Mangino's program is obviously heading in the right direction. Even after having to replace eight defensive starters and many quality depth guys we still managed to beat three out of the our five biggest recruiting rivals in K-State, Iowa State, and Colorado.

Nebraska and Missouri had solid seasons this year because they had lots of returning starters and it was their year to do so. Missou loses at least one of its two tight ends next year and the other will probably dart for the NFL, so their offense should be much more predictable and easier to defend. Nebraska loses it's quarterback and no longer has Josh Freeman to look forward to since he took off to K-State. The west coast offense that they run is way too complex for most college kids to master without some serious playing time so expect Nebraska to struggle again next year.

Now that our young defense has taken its lumps and learned some lessons you can take it to the bank that Ku is in for a good season next year.

Mangino was perfectly honest when he came here. He said that building a program from the ground up was a Marathon, not a sprint. The program is making positive strides but it is completely unrealistic to expect a team to get better than it was the year before every single year. Even Texas this year is finding out how hard it can be to replace quality talent. Not every quarterback can be a Vince Young and not every linebacker can be a Nick Reid.

I guess my point is that it is time for KU football fans to display a bit of maturity and patience. Firing coaches every five years and replacing them with idiots like Larry Coker is the exact reason that Ku has never had a football program. I just have to be thankful that fair-weather fans like the ones on this page aren't the ones making the decisions.

doubleJ 13 years, 1 month ago

People only want Coker cause he's a "name" To be honest, he won with Butch Davis' talent and then when he got his own players in there they slowly fell into a decline especially since he decided to look the other way while the criminals did their thing.

Show some patience. It's funny how people act when you start to get expectations. It was only a few years ago that people would've been perfectly happy with 6 wins. Now I'm no where near happy with the performance this year, but I think it's funny that if some of the people on here were our AD we'd be looking for new coaches twice a year

shelleysue 13 years, 1 month ago

I still have faith in Mangino's program. Granted, I was hoping to kick it up a notch this season and get 7 or 8 wins. But we've been bowl eligible 3 of the last 4 years and although there have been a lot of disappointments (both from Mangino and the players) in those 4 years, there has been a lot to like. But yes, I definitely think Mangino and his staff need to take it to a higher level, and I think they will. The secondary has been very weak and I certainly expect that to improve next year. We are losing some good players this year, but we will have some very good players back.

I still think Meier is a good quarterback, but there has been a lot taking a toll on him. First the heart condition and then the shoulder injury. That's an awful lot to recover from - not just physically, but mentally. It's the mental aspect that has me most concerned.

I hope fate is on our side and that we get to play one more game. I'm already anxious for another season of football.

William James 13 years, 1 month ago

Next year these kids that you guys say are not spectacular will win at least eight games should be in the Top 25 and this time next year we might be talking about KU in the Big 12 Championship game. All you clowns that want to fire Mangino because he dosent have sex appeal will be eating your words. Talib and Webb will be awesome in the secondary, Barmann wont be blowing any fourth quarter leads, Jake Sharp is going to make a name for himself and the run defense is only going to be that much better than it was this year. They will roll through 4 easy non-conference games and at worse will go 4-4 in conference. I just gave you a worse case scenario! This time next year no one will even give Coker a second thought. Oh, yeah if you dont think Mangino knows how to recruit after what he has done at KSU and KU, two of the worst programs in the nation when he arrived, you are a very ignorant person.

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