If the Kansas football gang doesn't feel desperate about its game with South Florida, it should.
The Jayhawks, players and coaches, consistently fought back from the precipice of success last Friday at Toledo and blew a game they badly needed for a really outstanding year. KU absolutely must defeat the Floridians to prevent going to Nebraska with a sad 2-2 mark instead of the 4-0 it should be.
A young and inexperienced team can win games if it exerts good effort and doesn't play dumb football. Intelligence was not dripping from those crucial KU penalties at Toledo. Guys who had loss and sack tackles in their pockets and let the targets escape must learn to hold on. Turnovers were a disaster. And there is good reason to question various coaching decisions.
There has been considerable reaction from fans since Mark Mangino got his new five-year, $7.5 million contract package. His record at the time was 19-29. There were countless comments about athletic director Lew Perkins "rewarding mediocrity." That faded a bit with the 2-0 start, but some grievous wolves began circling the campfire after Toledo. Mangino AND his Jayhawks need a victory Saturday.
When you're struggling for respect, you dare not let the Toledos and South Floridas dump you.
Kansas retains the chance to win seven games by taking five of the next nine, but it cannot let the likes of South Florida, Baylor, Colorado and Kansas State fly the coop. It's desperation time; a loss Saturday could trigger some creeping panic.
¢ I support Oklahoma president David Boren's fierce reaction to the rooking the Sooner footballers got at Oregon, particularly on that onside kick bungle. I'd back coach Bob Stoops in cancelling further games with Pac 10 teams if they load the gun with their own officials. Where is the ire and anger of the Big 12 office, which should be howling to the moon? To hell with diplomatic talk! As for the officials, it's time more of them were held publicly accountable for every game.
There were suspensions, apologies and all that polite baloney, but OU deserves the game or it should be wiped off the books. Will Oregon graciously admit the errors on two key plays and forfeit? Get real, but don't laugh. Such gallantry has occurred in college football at least once.
In 1940, No. 1-rated Cornell had won 18 straight games but was down 3-0 to Dartmouth with 4:30 left. Cornell marched to the Dartmouth 5-yard line. The referee mistakenly gave Cornell a fifth down; the Big Red won 7-3.
In reviewing game films, coach Carl Snavely noted the fifth down. His athletic director promptly sent a telegram reading: "Cornell relinquishes claim to the victory and extends congratulations to Dartmouth." Anybody know of another major college game decided like that? Oregon-Oklahoma? NOT!
¢ Here's another example of grace and dignity you see too seldom anymore in athletics.
Hall of fame baseball pitcher Bob Feller was distressed by his 15-14 record in 1949. He ordered the Cleveland Indians to cut his 1950 salary $20,000, to $45,000. The Indians did, under protest; Bob uncorked a 16-11 for '50.
Feller quickly enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and lost four World War II years from baseball between 1936 and 1956. Lots of decorations, wound up with a 266-162 mound record - and tremendous admiration and respect.
Where do we find more Bob Fellers and Carl Snavelys?