Saturday, June 30, 2007


Woodling: Maybes abound for KU


While strolling through a Lawrence grub stop the other day, I spotted a stack of those wallet-sized Kansas University football schedules that show up about this time every summer. So I picked one up and checked it out.

Guess what? After two years of "Where Will You Be on Game Day?" ad nauseum, the KU marketing braintrust finally has come up with a new slogan.

It's "This is What Saturdays Were Made For."

Not bad, really. The expression sounds familiar and serves the purpose of emphasizing that the college football game-day experience is special enough to transcend triumphs.

The new slogan is definitely better than 2003's "Chains Measure Distance. Heart Measures Destination," which may have been the worst in the history of KU football slogandom. A close second would have to be 1998's "KU Football: Make It a Part of Your Life." Blah.

Perhaps the time will arrive when KU doesn't need to market and promote football as heavily as it does during the summer. Maybe the time will come when you'll have to sell your car so you can contribute enough money to the Williams Fund in order to become eligible to purchase a KU football ticket.

But perhapses and maybes have been dangling out there for decades and probably will continue to be as long as the Jayhawks are members of the Big 12 Conference.

You have to remember, back in the mid-1990s when the notion of forming a mega-conference by adding four Texas schools to the Big Eight Conference arose, Kansas was feeling euphoric about its football program. In 1995, Glen Mason's Jayhawks had compiled a 10-2 record - the school's first 10-win season in 96 years - and the moguls on Mount Oread just knew KU would be competitive in the new expanded conference.

As we know now, the great expectations were pie in the sky.

In the 11 years of Big 12 Conference football, Kansas never has compiled even a .500 league record. Five times KU has wound up with a 3-5 mark, three times 2-6, twice 1-7 and once 0-8. In other words, Kansas has been a consistent second-division football entity in the Big 12.

Moreover, those sub-.500 records might be even worse if the Jayhawks had to play all six of the league's South Division teams every year instead of just three per season. KU's record against the South schools is a woeful 5-28. Kansas has beaten Baylor and Oklahoma twice and Texas Tech once and gone winless against Texas, Texas A&M; and Oklahoma State.

Kansas has been better against the North Division, posting an 18-37 record against the five schools it plays every autumn. Overall, though, KU is 23-65 as a member of the Big 12. Only Baylor, slumming along at 11-77, has a worse record since the first conference football games were played in 1996.

KU's latest attempt to stop the bleeding involves the removal of thousands of cubic yards of dirt from once sacrosanct Campanile Hill in order to relocate the football offices, lockers, etc. as well as the practice fields next to Memorial Stadium.

If the latest tactic doesn't work, then they'll probably say they need to remove the running track from the stadium as well. But that's Kansas football. They're always looking for the answer.


fattygav 12 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, you're right Woodling. They should probably just relocate the football team to Haskell stadium. Then put signs up around campus saying "Round Balls Only". Thanks for the pessimistic ramblings, that was great journalism.

William James 12 years, 8 months ago

What was the point of this article. That Kansas Football has struggled over the years? Come on Woodling, seriously. Your pessimism sucks.

jackhawk 12 years, 8 months ago

What is the saying? "With friends like you, who needs enemies?" Must have been a slow news week. Chuck, I've thought for years that you do more harm with your sarcasm and pessimism than most anyone.

Rivethead 12 years, 8 months ago

Having just moved from Olathe to Austin, TX, I'm starting to get used to the Texas euphoria. One thing I can say about it: if a Texas "Woodling" were to write a pessimistic article about Texas (like this is about the Jayhawks), they'd find his body 24 hours later in a canyon.

Not that I condone that. Just sayin, Texas fans wouldn't put up with this sh*t and I don't know why we have to.

greatabu 12 years, 8 months ago

Actually Chuck, if the new facilities do work out I still think we need to get the track out of there.

The ideal thing would have been to build a new stadium and facilities on the West Campus; but given the money poured into renovating Memorial, that just isn't feasible right now.

Another smash up job by Chuck "Wet Blanket" Woodling.

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 8 months ago

I think it was Coach Mangino's first year ... "blue wings rising" just about has to be the worst campaign ever!

I always liked where will you be on Gameday ...

Life has been tough for the football program, but it is getting better!

KURUSH1530 12 years, 8 months ago

Does anybody writing for the LJW get any love? I don't think so. However, it is there job to write about the good and the bad, for some that's hard to swallow. Seriously though, until UofK moves to a different conference we'll struggle.

pepper_bar 12 years, 8 months ago

At least someone is talking about KU football a few months before the season starts. And given the direction the non-con schedule has been loaded recently, it's good for someone to keep Mangino honest about his team's performance in conference.

JBurtin 12 years, 8 months ago

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

If K-State can build a program that was consistently ranked in the top ten, then anybody can.

Building new facilities isn't some last gasp effort to make the team successful, it's just one more step in a positive direction. It used to be depressing to see the football stadium hanging out on the North side of campus all alone and largely ignored. I think a big part of what will change about the atmosphere is that when the players are preparing for the season you will be able to see a bustling hive of action in and around the stadium that can build the excitment levels of the people who pass by.

Woodling seems to think that KU is always looking for the answer. I think the problem has been that nobody has cared to try and look for answers in the past forty years. You may not think that the new facilities are the one holy grail that will bring the program to new heights (neither do I), but one thing is for certain. If you do nothing to change a situation, the situation will not change.

Kudos to KU for ignoring the constant negativity of people like Woodling and laying out plans to fix the problems that were brought about by forty years of neglect.

P.S. if someone does decide to throw Woodling in a Canyon somewhere, would you please take out Mayer while you're at it. It's time for some new blood with a positive attitude. Get Brian Haney writing some articles. He was good when he was writing for the UDK. He's a life long die hard KU fan that I think could write positive-toned articles, while remaining realistic.

madmangine 12 years, 8 months ago

Terrible, pointless article. Please turn your mind away from the past and help to begin a jayhawk football culture based not on helplessness, but courage and enduring success. It all starts with all of us.

Hail Mangino.

William James 12 years, 8 months ago

KURUSH-Did he write a single thing in this article that anyone isnt already fully aware of? This article is in no way insightful. KU not having a 500 record in conference is not news. We are all well aware of this. Thats like saying in July and August we dont get much rain. I dont agree however that we cant be competitive in this conference. I would love to hear Woodling or KURUSH explain WHY we cant be competitive in the Big 12. I am also curious to see how you two react when we finish with an 8 or 9 win season this year. Will you say "I knew KU was moving in the right direction" or play it down and say "this is just a mirage, like Masons 95 team".

madmangine 12 years, 8 months ago

Yes, KURUSH, sometimes a bit of denial is healthy. Especially when it is aimed at unfixing a collective obsession about the many, blah blah blah blah, reasons why we can't be successful on the gridiron. Its all bs. Agree fully with Fabio, who of us genuinely interested is not painfully aware of the difficulties since the Mason era. That's why this article is terrible...nothing new.

bmcmich1 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm gonna side with fabio and madmangine 100% on this one. I can't stand the people that sit there and knock our football program and reiterate how much we've struggled--I don't think anyone's forgotten our woes of the past 12 years, but thanks for reminding us anyway, Chuck. Here's an idea: instead of ripping on our football team, how about we rip on the suits that did next to NOTHING to improve our situation all those years? It should be a CRIME for a major D1 university to practiacally ignore its football program for more than a decade! It's not entirely the coach and players' fault that we struggled for so long, and now that we have some very smart people in the right positions that are willing to make some positive change we have hoity-toity columnists and uppity academic a-holes second-guessing changes that could make everyone's life at KU more enjoyable. Do these idiots realize that a solid football program can bring in MILLIONS of dollars to a University???? The new football facility is a GREAT thing for the school as a whole, and I personally can't wait to see it finished as well as watch the progression this fall between beers before every game. And YES, I would LOVE to see that hideous track removed as well--it's a FOOTBALL stadium!!!! Rock Chalk KU Football!!!!!

seattlehawk_78 12 years, 8 months ago

I think the location of the new facility is horrible. Hopefully the design will be one that complements the surrounding architecture instead of clashing with it. KU used to have one of the most attractive campuses in the country. In light of all the pro-style sporting venues that have been constructed on college campuses during the last 20 years we have managed to keep both AFH and Memorial Stadium. But if we build contemporary structures around them that serve as distractions then what is the point. Sadly, most of the additions to our campus since Wescoe was built have diminished the appearance of Mt. Oread.

William James 12 years, 7 months ago

Alright guys. Our 3 biggest challenges to winning the North are KSU, NU, and Mizzou. With Nebraska being the favorite.

NU could be the best team in the north this year, but I dont think they will win it. I believe it will take 6 conference wins to take this division. Nebraska starts and ends the conference season with the two weakest teams in the north. But in between they have a very tough 6 week stretch with no breaks. Here it is-@Mizzou, O-State, Texas A&M, @Texas, @KU, K-State. That is 6 reasons NU wont win the division.

K-State has a good shot but I dont think they will win it. They will lose thier first conference game in Austin, which wont leave much room for error the rest of the way. An even bigger problem is while they are battling it out in Austin their opponent for next week, KU will be resting up at home after playing a soft non-conference schedule. If KU wins that game and K-State still having games at O-State, Nebraska, and at home against Mizzou means K-State is knocked out just two weeks into conference play.

For KU to have a shot they must go 3-0 at home against ISU, Baylor, and of course Nebraska. I believe they will. KU must prove they can win on the road and beat KSU and CU in a hostile environment. I believe they will.
If KU can do these things and Mizzou defends their home turf against the Huskers and wins 4 more conference games in between, and those wins shouldnt be a problem. I believe this division will be decided at Arrowhead Stadium on national television during rivalry week.

I cant predict a winner yet. I will say so far KU has sold 22,000 tickets compared to only 6,000 for Mizzou. Anyone that has been to a game at Arrowhead knows whoever has the home crowd, which will be KU, has a huge, huge advantage. Arrowhead and Auburn Jordan-Hare are the nosiest stadiums I have ever been in and Ive been to a few. We can help make it a long day for Chase Daniel and company.

I will predict that Woodling will have to put his basketball articles to the backburner for an extra month and that he wont like it, not one little bit. Go ahead Woodling, laugh it up, we will see who's laughing in November.

troutsee 12 years, 7 months ago

I agree with most of the above. KU football and players need positive strokes from the home town newspaper, not a pointless, demeaning article like this. Shame on you, Woodling. Look out for the Jayhawks this year. They are going to be better than predicted.

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