Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Woodling: Huskers had it coming


Seventy-six. Let's see : there were 76 trombones leading the big parade in "The Music Man." And 76ers is the nickname of Philadelphia's NBA team. Too, there's Union 76 gasoline.

Oh, and did you know 76 is the atomic number of osmium? You've never heard of osmium? Neither had I. But I looked the word up in the dictionary and discovered the metal's color is - would you believe? - blue.

Now I'm not saying Kansas University should, in the wake of Saturday's 76-39 football victory over Nebraska, change its nickname from the Jayhawks to the Osmiums, but I'm sure everybody in KU's chemistry department has a new and profound awareness of that obscure element.

Interesting, too, how osmium can segue into Tom Osborne, the incredibly successful former Nebraska football coach who is now retired but serving as the school's interim athletic director. Osborne was in Memorial Stadium and watched the shocker.

Now in his 70s, Osborne has been around long enough to know that in the world of sports what goes around truly does come around. For example, during his quarter century as Nebraska's football coach (1973-1997), Osborne never left Lawrence a loser.

Osborne came close a couple of times, most notably in 1993 when KU quarterback Asheiki Preston's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete in the end zone and the Cornhuskers escaped with a 21-20 triumph.

Mostly, though, the Huskers kicked the stuffing out of the Jayhawks, not to mention the giblets.

Eight times an Osborne team scored in the 50s against the Jayhawks. Four times the Huskers' tally reached into the 60s and, yes, there was the time Nebraska dropped a 70-0 anvil on the Jayhawks - a flogging during the 1986 season remains the most lopsided defeat in school history.

In compiling a 25-0 record against the Jayhawks, Osborne's teams scored an average of 46.5 points a game - a dominance that, in retrospect, may never even be challenged.

Osborne wasn't the whole story, though. Predecessor Bob Devaney and successor Frank Solich added five wins apiece, and current coach Bill Callahan grabbed one more during the Huskers' 36-year stranglehold of Kansas from 1969-2004.

Why point all this out? Well, a guy named Homer (not Simpson) once reasoned that to be ignorant of history is to live the life of a child. Baby Boomers know the horrors of the Kansas-Nebraska football series, but the Gen-Xers didn't experience it, and to today's collegians those KU-NU scores are just numbers.

An historical perspective provides a broader understanding of the significance of Saturday's stunner. If Saturday's eye-popper wasn't the most memorable victory in KU football history, it certainly belonged among the top five.

For my money, the Jayhawks 23-3 win over Oklahoma at The Snake Pit in Norman, Okla., in 1975 is still the win for the ages because it was the only loss the Sooners suffered that season on the way to capturing the national championship.

Not too long after that totally unexpected KU win, an enterprising entrepreneur marketed license plates that contained just "23-3." Everybody knew what those numbers meant.

Today, of course, those digits have been lost in time and replaced by "76-39."


Displayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget to vote for Todd Reesing for the Davey O'Brien Quarterback award and for Coach Mangino for Coach of the Year! Please vote every day!

Drew Alan 12 years, 6 months ago

I am pretty sure everyone in the Chemistry department was already well aware of osmium, along with every other element on the periodic table... after all they are CHEMISTS, and you have to memorize that thing for 100 level chem classes... I would be willing to be that Chuck Woodling is the only person who after our football triumph got excited about the element on the periodic table that coincided with our score...

Dave Coen 12 years, 6 months ago

Lighten up! This isn't a story about the war on terrorism, presidential candidates, or the mysteries of life. The is a story about a GAME called football. Give the guy a break or submit your own story to the LJW.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

jprich 12 years, 6 months ago

Are you sure it wasn't the Roman Cicero who made that analogy?

okjhok 12 years, 6 months ago

I'm with you, 1956...I could do without all the hate. Obviously these cats would rather the football team be 0-9 so they could rip on Mangino and the like. As it stands, they're relegated to journalists. I pity you.

William James 12 years, 6 months ago

Hey guys, check out this pathetic article, by this pathetic journalist that goes by the name of Chuck Woodling. It was printed on the eve of this magical football season. The funny part is, now he is trying to jump on the bandwagon! Hey Chuck, if your going to make such a controversial article at least apologize after its clear you made a huge mistake. PATHETIC. A new age has begun in Lawrence and its time that this man be shown the door.

100 12 years, 6 months ago

This game is old news, like the previous 8. Big deal. As a local journalist, Woodling could help the KU football team and fanbase by not sensationalizing a score from 3 days ago. Who cares? We won (Nebraska's offense was actually pretty good and we can learn a lot from that game) and now we have a bigger game to prepare for. The only thing we need to be thinking about this week is preparing for OSU, or jumping in the car to go root on the Hawks in STILLWATER!!!! Go Jayhawks!!!

Bud Stagg 12 years, 6 months ago

This guy actually gets a paycheck each week?

Kirk 12 years, 6 months ago

23-3 was the best, I agree. A jaw dropper.

actorman 12 years, 6 months ago

You guys are idiots. I'm not saying Chuck Woodling is the greatest writer in the world, but man are you guys going overboard! And fabio, I don't see anything particularly wrong with the article you attached, other than maybe the last line of "always looking for the answer." Everything else sums up what the situation has been before this year pretty well.

So jeez, lighten up already (to quote 1956)!

Ted Toulouse 12 years, 6 months ago

Nice work fabio. Just read the article from June you linked us to and you were pretty acurate in your predictions.

I've always defended Chuck because I like his style of writing, but let's keep in mind that we're essentially dealing with a second-rate newspaper, no slam on the LJW intended (as a KU refugee on a coast, I'm extremely thankful for their coverage!!). Obviously if they were unbelievable writers, they would be at a larger paper in a larger community covering larger teams. I've had equal issues with Keegan's perspective in the past too. At least these forums/comment areas give people a chance to prove if they can do things better.

speedy 12 years, 6 months ago

glad to see he expanded on my comments from last sat. he just did not mention nolan cromwell leading the team a qb that day. 1975 and 2007 two great games . we rem. them because they were few and far between.

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