Friday, August 22, 2008

Mayer: Football fever hits KU fans


Kansas football fever may be the most intense right now than it's been for 47 years. A 12-1 record and a major bowl victory can do that for a program which has had so many convolutions since its debut in 1890.

Max Rife, Jerry Rogers, Jerry Waugh, Floyd Temple and John Hadl were around for that wildly anticipated 1961 season. They'll attest how the joint jumped. The KU Nation had savored its storied '60 campaign (7-2-1) and figured '61 would be even better. It was, sort of (7-3-1). The '08 preseason atmosphere crackles as much as it did then.

Why not? The '08 Jayhawks have battle-proven entities such as quarterback Todd Reesing, wide receiver Kerry Meier, running back Jake Sharp, center Ryan Cantrell; senior defensive contributors such as Russell Brorsen, Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera, Darrell Stuckey, James Holt, John Larson, Kendrick Harper.

These are not just phantom names somebody threw into a sack and shook up for fun. They and others on the KU roster are real people fans know about, appreciate and look forward to watching. Coach Mark Mangino and Co. have assembled able, motivated people with a stick-to-it-ive attitude to produce another tremendous season.

Names make news. That old journalism adage surely holds true here. Frenzied fans really are eager to be involved with these promising Jayhawks.

If KU can get past menacing South Florida and register a 4-0 start, four games will determine whether the Jayhawks go 8-4 or better - Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and Missouri. Beat one of them, it's a nine-win regular season; two and it's 10-2. Three, lordy, it's another BCS bowl miracle and please, gridiron gods, make one of those victims Missouri.

Little wonder KU zealots were as fired-up about 1961 as they seem to be about 2008. KU had a brilliant 1960. Its only losses were to Syracuse and Iowa, both rated No. 1 at the time. There was an Oklahoma tie when KU panicked and blew a field goal that would have won. Then came that 23-7 romp over unbeaten Missouri to close the season. MU legislated a forfeit of that game due to the Bert Coan mess, but KU still logged that in its victory column.

Vowing revenge against Missouri here in '61, Kansas returned John Hadl, Curtis McClinton, Larry Allen, Elvin Basham, Benny Boydston, Jim Jarrett, Mike Fisher and Larry Lousch. Yet for all the furor, a lousy start.

KU fell, 17-16, at TCU, got tied, 6-6, by Wyoming and entered the fourth quarter at Colorado with a 19-0 lead only to fall, 20-19. A ghastly 0-2-1 start! The rejuvenated Jayhawks took a 6-0 run into the MU game here, but blew it, 7-10. So much for national honors. Victory in the Bluebonnet Bowl pushed it to 7-3-1, but what a letdown after such early promise!

The current Jayhawks need to go to their Anderson Complex shrine, briefly worship that 12-1 of a year ago and then vow they're not going to get hare-lipped the way the 1961 team did. Trouble is, it could happen. Or not.


KGphoto 11 years, 6 months ago

I'm with you springtx. One game at a time.Mayer, quit counting-up easy wins. You should know better. Bad mojo.

Appoggiatura 11 years, 6 months ago

Mangino will never let them live in the past, nor overlook anyone. Like he say: "Respect all, fear none."Keep sawin wood!!!

John Mueller 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree with dagger.It's been a great year to be a Jayhawk! But it's start all over again next week.Love the work ethic, character etc. of the team and the Mangino era.But most of us have been KU fans for along time.With all due respect to Scott McMichael, David Jaynes, Frank Seurer, Billy Campfield, Kurt Knoff and my very favorite of all time Nolan Cromwell, we've only managed to beat NU exactly twice in my lifetime.Let's take it one game at a time, shall we?

Dirk Medema 11 years, 6 months ago

Before assuming victories over CU, NU, KSU, and even ISU, hopefully the team and everyone else will do a quick history check (AKA 2006) and recall how easy it was blow comfortable games in the 4th quarter. Yes, it was great to see the change in 2007, but we're not that far removed.Let expect victories, but never assume them, less we pull an OU/CU or UT/KSU.

Displayhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Keep sawin' wood, boys! ......Keep sawin' wood!

okjhok 11 years, 6 months ago

I think the NU game will be every bit as tough as the UT and TTU games. Only one more week, but in all honesty, the season really begins in Tampa. I really think that game will set the tone for the rest of the year. That game is enormous.

troutsee 11 years, 6 months ago

Some ESPN know-it-all says we should not be ranked in the top 25. The chip just got a little larger boys. Go get 'em.

11 years, 6 months ago

At least Mayer hates MU. We should cut him some slack for that :o)Man, I am so glad there are no ties in Division I-A / the Football Bowl Subdivision anymore.

JayhawkPhil 11 years, 6 months ago

I have been a KU fan for almost 50 years and this is the most excited I have ever been about KU football. I think this could be the most important season in KU football history. It will be very difficult though. We should win the three home non league games and at Iowa St. It is unreasonable to expect us to win at Oklahoma or, as much as I hate to say it, in Carl Peterson's back yard against the tiggers. That leaves 6 tough games in which we need to win at least 4. I think we can but as sevenyear hawk says, we need to stay humble and not get cocky. We need to consider ourselves underdogs in each of these game and play hungry. If we do, we have a chance to win all six.

Joe Ross 11 years, 6 months ago

"At least Mayer hates MU. We should cut him some slack for that :o)"Amen to that! Mayer is my favorite columnist here bar none!WHEN I SAY "HILLSHIRE" YOU SAY "FARM".HILLSHIRE (FARM!)....GO MEAT!

5DecadeHawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Football fever may have hit KU fans, but clearly football fever has NOT hit the LJW.No football articles at all today, Sunday 8/24.Mayer recognizes the fever in the fans. Two days later, the LJW responds by abandoning coverage. Iroinic? Intentional? IMPRESSIVE INCOMPETENCE by the LJW Sports leadership!!!

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 6 months ago

5decade - But hey, at least Rush will spend some time in Lawrence. woo frickin' hoo. GO JAYHAWKS!!! ROCK THE STADIUM!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.