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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keegan

Kansas must start 6-0

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It’s not as if the first half of the Kansas University football schedule isn’t dotted with land mines, but it’s nowhere near as tough as the second half of it.

When reigning Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford leads the Oklahoma Sooners into Memorial Stadium on Oct. 24, that triggers a six-week span during which Kansas faces two of the nation’s top three teams in the Associated Press poll (No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Oklahoma), plus 24th-ranked Nebraska, plus a road game against Texas Tech and an out-of-state game versus chief rival Missouri.

If Kansas is going to make national noise, a 6-0 start to the season is imperative. A Sept. 12 game at UTEP, which features prolific quarterback Trevor Vittatoe (3,274 yards passing, 33 touchdowns, nine interceptions in 2008), poses a serious threat to KU’s chances of having a perfect half-season.

So does an Oct. 17 game at Colorado, although the Buffaloes still have problems at quarterback. Coach Dan Hawkins vowed, “Ten wins and no excuses,” at the team’s postseason banquet last winter. Kansas has a chance to keep that from happening and maintaining an unbeaten record.

Going 6-0 would be a potentially huge step for a program that two years ago started the season 11-0 because making it through the first half of the season unblemished could lead to major national exposure. Nothing quite resonates with young football fans quite the way an appearance on ESPN’s Game Day does. A 6-0 start would give Kansas a good shot at playing host to the Game Day crew for the Oklahoma game.

The Sooners will be coming off their Red River Shootout against Texas, not a bad time to play Oklahoma. Not a good time, either, but there never is a good time to play a team as loaded as Oklahoma. The fact the game will be played on the underdog’s field helps the chances of landing Game Day, too, because it lessens the chances of a rout.

Nationally, not many sexy matchups take place Oct. 24. In fact, the only other game that features a pair of teams ranked in the preseason top 25 features No. 17 TCU at No. 20 BYU.

Other games of interest: Oregon State at USC, Auburn at LSU, Boston College at Notre Dame, UCLA at Arizona, Tennessee at Alabama, Iowa at Michigan State, UConn at West Virginia.

None of those games can put a pair of names on the marquee to match Sam Bradford and Todd Reesing. Plus, ESPN loves to play up the Fighting Manginos angle and would enjoy getting Bob Stoops to talk about his days working with Mangino at Kansas State and hiring him away from Bill Snyder’s staff to work for him at Oklahoma.

Television audiences love high-scoring games featuring big-name quarterbacks and explosive receivers. Both teams offer an abundance of them, and provided the young Kansas offensive line could protect Reesing, the game might shape up as a shootout decided in the fourth quarter.

Three weeks later, wild students and alumni return to Memorial Stadium to watch the Jayhawks take on Nebraska, possibly for the right to take the lead in the Big 12 North race. That game’s circled on the schedules of both fan bases, another sign of progress for KU football.

Comments

kingpin 5 years ago

I'm STOKED!! Let's make GAME DAY happen!

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William James 5 years ago

Yet another fine article from Keegan, though not perfect. I dont know how anyone would mention the University of Texas El Paso and in the same article look over Southern Mississippi. Southern Miss will likely be twice the football team to UTEP this year. I expect it is the natural instinct of a KU fan to be concerned about a non con game away from Memorial, where as the non con games at Memorial are typically blowouts. Of course, everyone should expect a battle at Folsom Field. Not because of Dan Hawkins Jacques Crawford like 10 wins prediction, but because of the unpredictability of Folsom and it's INSANE student section. I only know of 2 KU wins in that stadium in the last 20 years. Also, they will try to run the ball down are throats and we are trying to find ourselves at the linbacker postion. 6-0 is certainly a challenge, but anything less would clearly be a dissapointment. The fact that Bradford has not yet proven to have the escapibility of Reesing leads me to think that the Sooners appear vulnerable this year compared to their recent past because of the fact they are trying to break in a new o-line. Put Bradford under the same kind of pressure that Todd faced every week last year and I like my chances. Tebow should of won the Hiesman last year, but I digress.

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gardenjay 5 years ago

I prefer to think that we are a team to be reckoned with in the way that the opposition realizes that we are a team to be reckoned with. Why regurgitate the past? We have been painted a great picture of our great team, one so colored-in that it allows us to picture what it would be like to have football players over for dinner.

What would it be like, if we have a bunch of superstar football players over for dinner? Would they all be polite and work together to have a good time? Or, would they all talk over each other and try to get the upper hand? Now consider after dinner, and we decide everyone should play Scrabble for fun. Do they construct words longer than three letters? Oh, there's a four letter word I see!

Now try coaching these superstar athletes to cooperate together as a team. Hmm, not so easy. Dang, they were such good five-star recruits - I guess one of the stars wasn't for teamwork after all.

Now, have a look at what a dinner party the KU football team would make. Cool, eh? Everyone gets along pretty well. Conversation is easier, they appear to respect one another, they don't talk over each other. We all have a great time. So I think we have a shot at the stars this year, because it is teamwork that wins games (and builds anthills, the space shuttle, the great wall, transcontinental railway, Saturn V, and deep-sea glass sponges).

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kansas22 5 years ago

I just got all giddy reading this article. I feel like a little kid counting down the days until Christmas. Gameday on the Hill? Wow... I never thought that could happen. But I don't want to tease myself. We'll just have to wait and see what happens the first 6 weeks. Rock Chalk! Can't wait for Sept 5!

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oregonjhawk 5 years ago

Clearly, Game Day will be in Dallas for the Shootout, so I doubt they'll come to Kansas to cover OU again the next week...

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KU 5 years ago

Good point, oregonjhawk. Gameday will be at one of the 2 major (historically-speaking) SEC match-ups on that day.

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esteshawk 5 years ago

oregonhawk/ku-

Party poopers. the season hasn't started - it's time to dream a little.

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Dyrk Dugan 5 years ago

we will not get game day. Now, if we're 8-1 or 9-0, and the cornshuckers visit....

now i digress. this is fun talk, but that's all it is....talk. the team has its expectations...and i'm sure they're pretty high. the focus is on Northern Colorado...and Northern Colorado only.

you truly can take only one game at a time. if we're 4-2 when we play OU, will only 40,000 show up and everybody will be depressed? c'mon folks....let's allow the kids to have their own season. It could be really special...and it may not include 6-0.

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Jonathan Andrews 5 years ago

I feel a tired cliche' coming on...

Let's take the season one game at a time.

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kvskubball 5 years ago

Nice double negative start to the article. Using not and isn't in the first sentence? Would it be so difficult to say "The first half of the KU schedule is dotted with land mines...." I'm not usually a member of the grammar police, but I had to re-read that to make sure I understood what he was saying, then I realized why I had to re-read it! Where is the editor at?

And "Must" in the title? How about a question? Will KU start 6-0? Then explaining that if the football team doesn't, they might struggle to have a winning season.

I do agree with the last sentence, our football program is making progress! I say win the first game, then worry about the next one....

Rock Chalk JayHawks!

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KGphoto 5 years ago

It'll be Tennessee at Bama. Too much coaching bologna to pass up.

Kansas is back under the radar again. Yeah we are still a 50/50 pick to win the North, but certainly the sexiness of the Orange Bowl victory has faded. Robinson and Griffin are cutting into Reesing's glam clam and the overall lack of NFL juice has left KU lurking in the shadows, once again.

I don't mind though, cuz The Fighting Manginos aren't frontrunners. They aren't The Defending Champinos. They're fighters. Scrappers. This is a good place to be.

Besides, who wants Game Day for the Oklahoma game when you could creep out of the shadows, smoke the Sooners, then walk into a Nov.14 GameDay against Corn at 9-0, ranked in the top 10 and playing for our first outright North title?

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jayhawkinATL 5 years ago

Agreed!!!! Anything less WILL BE a failure!!!!

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Eliott Reeder 5 years ago

Excellent points all. No chance of Gameday as Keegan states. KG poses the best possible scenario: Gameday against the Huskers for the North title. THAT would be awesome...

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Alan Halvorsen 5 years ago

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll get gameday at six and oh either. You all know KU's best friend on GD, Lee Corso will be like "Kansas!! they are only two and oh on the road, and they've only flew in an airplane once!" Then Fowler will be like "well Lee this game is in Lawrence, they don't have to fly in a plane" Then Corso will be like "It doesn't matter this team is a fake, and they don't just play cupcakes, they play CREAMPUFFS!" Someone will have to calm down that old man before he has an incident. I just hopes he gets all upset again so we can have more motivation like in 07....I don't think we'd done as well in 07 had it not been for Mr. Corso.

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justanotherfan 5 years ago

If we don't start 6-0, this whole season could get away from us very quickly.

Northern Colorado and Duke should both be wins.

Southern Miss is a pretty solid team, but they are coming to Lawrence, and if we can't defend our home turf against them, we are in a lot of trouble when Oklahoma and Nebraska come calling.

UTEP is the first road game, but once again, if we can't go on the road and win at a non-BCS school (not even a non-BCS front runner like Boise St., Utah or TCU), then I don't see trips to Austin and Lubbock ending well.

Iowa State is a home game. See above.

Colorado is the first conference road game of the year. They are usually tough out there, but once again, Colorado pales in comparison to teams like Texas. If we can't get it done here, we are in tons of trouble because the second half of our slate is MUCH more difficult.

We end with Oklahoma, @ Tech, @ K-State, Nebraska, @ Texas, Mizzou in KC. Of that group, I'd say only K-State is probably not a bowl team.

In the front end of our schedule, I could pretty easily see only three teams (Colorado, UTEP and Southern Miss.) making bowls, and maybe only two of those teams if there are stumbles.

I guess my point is, if we don't take care of business early, when we have teams that are not bowl contenders on the slate, we will be in trouble when we face bowl team after bowl team, with a couple of potential national title contenders in the mix.

The schedule is very similar to last year, when we opened up with Florida International, La Tech, South Florida, Sam Houston, Iowa State and Colorado. 6-0 coming out of that puts us in prime position heading into the OU game. Instead we were 5-1 (very nearly 4-2 if we don't stage a massive comeback in Ames). We finished 3-4, taking losses to Oklahoma and Tech, getting a win against K-State, then absorbing losses to Nebraska and Texas before closing with wins against Mizzou and Minnesota.

With a backloaded schedule, it is imperitive that there are NO SLIPUPS early on.

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Annette Lee 5 years ago

well I'm worried about Colorado just like I worried about USF last year. Then after the first quarter in the Usf game I thought no prob.. after reviewing the game last month Selvie owned Spikes! Now to be fair both tackles looked pretty good by the Mizzou game..So I'm glad the non con will afford the line the time to gain confidence. So buckle up and RCJH

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labbadabba 5 years ago

KGphoto -

CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP

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Chad Dexter 5 years ago

Did anyone else see the irony in kvskubball's post?

"'m not usually a member of the grammar police, but I had to re-read that to make sure I understood what he was saying, then I realized why I had to re-read it! Where is the editor at?"

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Rick Arnoldy 5 years ago

Game Day is not out of the question. How many did ESPN do in the Big 12 last year? Five or six? I remember them joking one time that they weren’t going home after the game, they were just going to pack up the bus and head up the road to next B12 site.

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Larry Smith 5 years ago

FYI

Gameday had Texas on 2 weeks in a row last year. They also had OU on 2 weeks in a row last year. I don't think that will be an issue.

It's my opinion that a possibly top ranked OU team vs an undefeated Kansas team, would be a more attractive match-up than Alabama vs an unranked Tennessee team.

OU v KU has the potential to be the best game of the week.

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kjhok 5 years ago

Kansas must go 13-0. To gain the national respect it deserves.

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NebraskaJayhawk 5 years ago

I think any loss for this team this season will be a pretty big disappointment. This is a great class we are graduating and I'm sure they'd like to get it done. Let's go Hawks!

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jhawk613 5 years ago

If KU consistently routs their opponents in the first 6 games we will move up in the polls, possibly to a top 10.

Hosting GameDay for the OU game hinges on two things: 1. KU playing high-scoring football to a 6-0 record. 2. OU dominating their non-con AND beating Texas. Beating Texas would most likely put OU at the #1 spot in the country.

With OU at #1 and KU in the top 10, GameDay would most definitely choose a site with 2 undefeated 6-0 teams.

Alternative: Texas beats OU, KU sneaks up and beats OU (although for the record, I do not want to play OU coming off a loss), KU enters the Nebraska game 9-0. GameDay arrives b/c the game will likely determine the Big 12 North champion.

The game that scares me most is Kansas State. Being a down year for the Wildcats, IMO, they have one game circled on their schedule ... November 7 vs. KU in Manhattan.

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Joe Baker 5 years ago

kjhok (anonymous) says... Kansas must go 13-0. To gain the national respect it deserves.

No, that wouldn't be enough for the critics. We could go undefeated, win a BCS bowl and still not get the respect. Kansas and football seems to never register with the retarded sports world. But OU goes deep in the b-ball tourney with Griffin and they are an instant b-ball powerhouse!!! LOL LOL OU b-ball and powerhouse just doesn't register with me.

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sevenyearhawk 5 years ago

ESPN loves Lawrence ... two words: "Wang Burgers"

Football CollegeGame Day has done back-to-back Big XII broadcasts before:

The 2007 Border War and the conference title game the next week in San Antonio ...

Kansas must be perfect, it would help if Oklahoma were as well.

I don't see the Nebraska match-up being as sexy, and it's later in the season when the SEC will heat up.

But first, I'm concerned about Northern Colorado, because the most important game is the next one.

Keep sawin' wood, boys and beak 'em!

  • 7YH
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Ryan Shelton 5 years ago

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I say Jayhawk fans start e-mailing Lee Corso and the gang right now and hope that our boys do their jobs on the field. That may keep the Game Day crew away from Dallas the week before in favor of our matchup.

Uh, probably not. But maybe they will do both?

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kranny 5 years ago

Watched the Nebraska-KU payperview replay on Fox. If we have ANY kind of a pass rush this year we'll be tough. We let a very mediocre quarterback beat us last year. With the exception of occasional spurts from Holt the linebackers were not very effective especially against the run. The offense played well despite the conditions. My predictions: If the Defensive line doesn't show up, the Hawks go 8-4, If the D line shows up and the linebackers mind their assignments, 10-2.

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Kevin Long 5 years ago

Good story Keegan! I couldn't agree more!

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number1jayhawker 5 years ago

I thought I read somewhere that the SEC has a contract with CBS and that they will likely pick the Tenn at Alabama game to be their "game of the week", so that game should not be a game that ESPN Game Day would be at.

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meremy 5 years ago

kvskubball,

"Nice double negative start to the article. Using not and isn't in the first sentence? Would it be so difficult to say "The first half of the KU schedule is dotted with land mines...." I'm not usually a member of the grammar police, but I had to re-read that to make sure I understood what he was saying, then I realized why I had to re-read it! Where is the editor at?"

Wrong. Your alternate syntax proves nothing. Remove the two negatives and you'll find that the sentence does not have a clear meaning--not the case with a true double negative. Case closed. They used to teach that in school. I bet Keegan was there that day.

I particularly enjoyed the part where you blamed the writer for your lack of reading comprehension.

By the way, your editor should have removed that trailing "at". ;)

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Armen Kurdian 5 years ago

Let's ask Conan for his opinion. Conan, what is important in football?

"Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the Tigers & Wildcats."

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KGphoto 5 years ago

Someone better check my grammar on this, cuz I ain't be got no ejucashion, but as long as we're talkin' scenarios, let's get uber opto!

No GameDay against Bradford. But we mangle him, and win!

No GameDay against Nebraska. But we score 80, and win!

GameDay in Austin, featuring the Big 12 title pre-match and, OMG, the new Heisman QB showdown! Kansas summons ghosts of Austin past and avenges the loss to a young Young, (You remember him. He was Michael Beasley before Michael Beasley) solidifies a BCS title argument and the legend of The Fighting Manginos (Reesing era).

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okiedave 5 years ago

Unfortunately, not many of the sportwriters outside of Kansas give Kansas much chance to win the Big 12 North. Of the 10 sportwriters for the Tulsa World, 7 picked Nebraska, two picked Colorado and only one picked Kansas. Not much respect in Cowboy/Sooner land.

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Joe Ross 5 years ago

If Kansas comes out of the gate at 6-0 they will have played themselves into bowl eligibility in the first half of the season. That this feat is both possible and realistic speaks to the improvement at Kansas.

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Rick Arnoldy 5 years ago

Ha, hadn't even considered that, jross. But in this world I'd take a bowl game every year. I wouldn't be happy with the Toilet Bowl after a 6-0 start but I'd take it. Of course, I'm hoping for some Doritos come January.

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John Randall 5 years ago

kvsku -- a little of your own back at ya'.

""Nice double negative start to the article. "" ** A double negative makes perfect sense when used as Keegan did, to negate the latter negative.

''Using not and isn't in the first sentence? Would it be so difficult to say "The first half of the KU schedule is dotted with land mines...." I'm not usually a member of the grammar police, but I had to re-read that to make sure I understood what he was saying, then I realized why I had to re-read it! "" ** Seems you need to re-read pretty often, being so slow on the up-take and all.

Where is the editor at [sic] ? - - - - 'nuf sed.

""And "Must" in the title? How about a question? Will KU start 6-0? Then explaining that if the football team doesn't, they might struggle to have a winning season."" ** We're so impressed you can come up with an alternate . . . not as good an alternate, but an alternate, all the same.

""I do agree with the last sentence, our football program is making progress! I say win the first game, then worry about the next one...."" ** Mr. Keegan asks me to extend his gratitude for your grudging approval of that ultimate sentence. Not nearly the cliché we find in the response.

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kvskubball 5 years ago

KU62,

""Nice double negative start to the article. "" Thanks for quoting me! Then you said... ** A double negative makes perfect sense when used as Keegan did, to negate the latter negative. Well, I don't think that it makes perfect sense, it works yes, "perfect sense"?

Oh, I'm flattered that you think I'm so slow on the up-take!

Well, I still think it would have been easier to remove the double negative and I think that the meaning is the same or at least similar enough without the obfuscatory language. Negating a latter negative is just like a double reverse. It may work, but it is still more work than a pitchout, with the ball ending up on the same side of the field.

If there were emoticons on this site, I would have put a wink after "but I had to re-read that to make sure I understood what he was saying, then I realized why I had to re-read it! " I can see you have your game face on and everything must be super-serious!

The "Must" in the title implies that we should all put sack-clothe on if the team doesn't win all 6 games, making the season a disaster with the first loss, if it occurs in the first six games. It is obviously meant to hype the situation. With our rising fortunes in football, I think that making such a statement negates the negation of our previous mediocrity in football. (That was for everyone who likes the use of double negatives)

Thanks to all of those who chose to critique my critique. I'm not perfect, and you all sound so glad that I'm not paid to write these articles.

Will all of you be devastated if we lose one of the first six games? Will our football world crumble and lie in utter ruin if we don't win all six? Will all the progress that our football team has made, be undone? I don't think so.

I think those of you who are riding the rapids of this hype, need to look for some humor, remember it is OK to smile, hey laughing is OK too! If we don't win all of the first six games, I expect to see you all wearing sack-clothe and carrying signs saying "The end is here".

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gardenjay 5 years ago

Now, please.

What has become of this thread? What it really needs now is to be caught beyond the event horizon of a super-massive black hole, to be spaghettified and eventually crushed into an unfathomably small size.

KU sports fans are not just regular sports fans, we all realize this fact. But the bickering needs to be more constructive in my view.

Also, since I started the thread, I will take massive blame. See? I can take it. Ha! What a lame first posting I made there last night. Crimony.

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kw11b2p 5 years ago

What the heck are "Wang Burgers" and forgive my ignorance.

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Joe Ross 5 years ago

gardenjay...

agreed! nice to know youre a fan of neil degrasse tyson. I think Ill use your term "constructive bickering" in future posts, being careful to give you the credit for coining it.

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