Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Opinion: ISU didn’t conspire against Kansas


The Kansas University football team defeated West Virginia by a dozen. WVU topped Oklahoma State by nine points. OSU hammered Baylor by 32 points, and Baylor clobbered Iowa State by 64.

Based on those four outcomes, KU should have beaten Iowa State by 117 points, but lost by 34, a swing of 151 points.

Unless you don’t put 100-percent faith in comparative scores, something just didn’t add up Saturday in Ames, where the Jayhawks spent the night running not to fall down, and the Cyclones adjusted to the grass-and-ice field far better.

Conspiracy theorists might find it interesting that Iowa State ranks 10th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings by subject in “Ag & Forestry.”

If I had anything to do with Iowa State football, I certainly would mine the fertile brains of every nearby grass expert not lost in thought listening to Grateful Dead tunes while marveling at how lava lamps seem to have minds of their own, and such creative ones at that.

I would ask them what could be done to a grass, crowned football field to prepare it in such a way as to make the surface outside the numbers on the field more fit for hockey than football. And then I would bring every variety of shoe I had to the grass expert and ask which would work best on ice. Next, I would equip receivers and defensive backs with just such shoes and let the guys who spend most of their time in the middle of the field stay with more conventional cleats.

I certainly am not accusing anyone at Iowa State of altering the field to the Cyclones’ advantage, I’m just saying that’s what I would have done.

Gamesmanship is part of playing games. Hayden Fry, one-time Iowa coach whose tree spawned so much quality fruit, including Kansas State living legend Bill Snyder, painted the visiting locker room at Kinnick Stadium pink because he had read that the color has a calming effect. Calm and violent go together about as well as figure skating and football. KU hasn’t had a winning football team since 2008. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks are much better football players than they are skaters.

If it were just the wide receivers slipping all over the place, well, they haven’t had the best of games on the best of fields, but KU’s cornerbacks, JaCorey Shepherd and Dexter McDonald, are two of the top players on the team, and they had trouble running with conviction.

Afterward, Shepherd said he thought “it’s more of a Nike and adidas thing, just the way that they make their cleats.”

James Sims wondered if longer cleats would have helped, but unlike in the NFL, the normal cleats are the longest allowed. Coach Charlie Weis said some players switched to shorter cleats, believing they would have less chance of getting stuck.

Whatever the reason, Iowa State was more prepared to play under the rare conditions, a failure on KU’s part.


Mel Deutsch 4 months, 3 weeks ago

blahh blahh blahh. what keganan should have written about was the fact that ku gets to redzone it 10-0 isu, and your coach decides to go for it on 4th down. ????? why not get 3 at that point and maybe just maybe ku's players? would have had a different frame of mind . not only once but done this twice. coach is a joke to say the least and for you writer to try and hide that is also a joke


Tony Bandle 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Oakville here. If you are 8-3, you can blame the field....if you are 3-8, you'd better blame yourself.

Lesson learned..Charlie, leave the sprinklers on for the next four days. Heck, leave them on when the game starts!!

It's probably just me, but even with a worse record, I keep feeling we were in more games last season than we have been this season. The "Suckage Meter" between 1-11 and 3-9 is only marginally better.

With a loss Saturday, we will be 9-39 for the last four seasons....Mangino's 50-48 overall record for eight seasons doesn't look quite so bad, does it??


Armen Kurdian 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Don't forget how many passes receivers dropped when Heaps came in to QB. The game was pretty much over at that point, but Heaps threw some great passes to his credit, and there were 3 big drops on that drive, one of which was a sure TD. Cozart running the wrong way was another sure touchdown. The field may have been part of it, if we didn't have the right equipment to play, but it was not the only factor.

We have good, quality players on our team. We have talent. You see it in the individual effort at times. I'm just at a complete loss to understand how this team has been so poor for so long.


Jeffery Barrett 4 months, 4 weeks ago

It's almost as if the regular commenters from BF - Before Facebook - have all gone away and been replaced with new ones.


Scut Farkus 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I think Keegan wrote this after an extended stay at The Sandbar. The coaches and the equipment managers are to blame. Period. Our high school team always carried extra, various sized cleats and every player was instructed to bring a pair of flat soled gym shoes when the cold weather set in.


Billy Smith 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Hard to say KU should have won by 117. I doubt they have scored that many points all year long.


Randy Signor 4 months, 4 weeks ago

In 1961, Lawrence High School (ranked 1st in state) played Topeka in Topeka; the field was frozen much like ISU's except that word was the school ran its sprinklers to create the ice; Topeka's players wore gym shoes and had decent traction; LHS players wore cleats and couldn't stand up. The equipment manager for LHS drove to Lawrence and raided the gym lockers, returning with a few dozen pairs of sneakers that LHS wore the second half, pulling out a win to remain undefeated. Thus I have no problem believing this kind of gamesmanship. It was all I thought about while watching the game Saturday.


W Keith Swinehart II 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree, and we had better walk away with a lesson well learned. However, we shouldn't judge the season on one game. Just no repeats of poor preparation.


Robert Brock 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Did the condition of the field cause our receivers to drop perfectly thrown passes?


David A. Smith 4 months, 4 weeks ago

We'll never know the "could have, should have, would have's", but anyone with eyes could see the enormous disparity between how the ISU players could run and cut vs the major struggle the KU players had. Coach Weis is doing exactly what he should do with this situation- nothing. Anything that he could say or do in regard to the playing conditions would only be construed as sour grapes and excuses. But the condition of the field, for what ever reason, had the function of a decided ISU advantage.


Robert Brown 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I can't believe we are still talking about the field conditions. The score was 34-0. That the field was icy should not have been a surprise. So is all about preparation and the it would appear the KU coaching staff was not prepared for the weather, which again was not a surprise.

There is always an excuse with this organization. I have never heard Weis say, "It's on me-- I did not have this team ready to play"


Jim Jackson 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I se what you are trying to do Keegan and I agree, it just seemed as if our guys were slipping way more than theirs; giving way to the fact that they were may more prepared/ informed of what was to come.

I don't know if we would have beaten them on normal conditions, they were playing with fire that game, most of our guys were just going through the motions.


Terry Lee 4 months, 4 weeks ago

You do realize that both teams had to play on this field right?


Michael Leiker 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Tom, I think a better more appropriate article would have been, "ISU didn't PERSPIRE against Kansas."


Brett McCabe 4 months, 4 weeks ago

It would be easy to argue that they didn't do all that they could to make the field playable. I've heard of teams using heaters to melt off ice on fields before and certainly ISU didn't do that.

An icy field neutralized our best defenders (Ben and Jacorey), slowed down James Sims and neutralized Montell's mobility. So having an icy field certainly would have had a strategic value.

The coaching failure, to me, was in not using a smash-mouth approach on offense. If you are at the game and you don't have the right cleats, then you have to alter what you are doing for the conditions that you are in.


Bryce Landon 4 months, 4 weeks ago

What kind of inane, incoherent article is this????


Brandon Deines 4 months, 4 weeks ago

I think you mean "the University of Kansas."


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