No more excuses; time to show a little love

As Kansas continues its climb up the NCAA college football rankings, the haters seem to be changing their tune about the Jayhawks.We're deep enough into the conference season that the "weak nonconference schedule" criticism is wearing thin. Now some critics are trying a new angle: The Big 12 is weak this year.Yes, that's the new reason to dismiss KU's 8-0 record, No. 8 national ranking in both polls and No. 8 position in the latest BCS standings. It's the league's fault that the Jayhawks are undefeated.Here's a sampling of arguments I've heard naysayers attempt to make during the past 48 hours:- Sure, KU won at Kansas State, but K-State's not really a good football team (Oh really? They were ranked No. 24 at the time after annihilating then-No. 7 Texas, 41-21, in Austin.).- Well, Colorado's not a legit team. (Oh really? Well Oklahoma couldn't win in Boulder. Kansas did.). Well, Colorado beating Oklahoma was a fluke. (But didn't Colorado just go on the road and win at Texas Tech? Tech's good too.).- Well, Kansas doesn't have the tradition that more deserving schools like LSU and Florida have. (Umm : hello : polls are based on what your team does THIS year.).- Well, you've gotta admit that USC has a lot more talent on its roster and would beat Kansas any day of the week. (You may be right about the talent comparison, but last I checked what matters is what a team does with that talent. Kansas is 8-0. USC is 6-2 and doesn't even know who its starting quarterback should be).- Texas A&M's so overrated. (Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that the Aggies were 6-2 coming into the game, and that Kyle Field presents one of the most difficult environments in college football for a road team to win).- KU won't have played anybody who's good until Missouri, so KU doesn't deserve to be in the top 10 unless it beats Missouri. (Hey, it's not the Jayhawks' fault that Nebraska stinks).Fortunately Kansas fans get it, and they're not having trouble shooting down these arguments from the critics any time they arise. Still, it's time for the rest of the country to wake up and admit that Kansas simply is one darn good football team. The Jayhawks are as disciplined as any team in America. They don't overlook opponents. They've pounded the teams they were supposed to pound. They've gutted out road victories in three of the toughest road environments in the conference. Their defense boasts two potential first-team All-Americans in Aqib Talib and James McClinton, and a quarterback in Todd Reesing who is worthy of Heisman Trophy consideration.It's time to give credit where credit is due. This Kansas football team is legit and deserving of its ranking.

Comments

Joel 12 years ago

OK, here's what I don't get: Why is Reesing deserving of Heisman consideration but not Talib?

After all, Heisman's for the best player, not best QB, and while Reesing is good, Talib has been exceptional.

lazz 12 years ago

The reality, Joel, is that "best college football player" means "best offensive back or receiver in college football." Just the way it is. A defensive player or offensive lineman has to be a Dick Butkus-Reggie White-Anthony Munoz combo to even get considered. Could happen, but won't.

Chris, these are excellent refutations, but you err with one misstatement: "(Umm : hello : polls are based on what your team does THIS year.)" Were that it were true ... but, polls (all but the BCS) start coming out before anybody has played a game THIS year, and therefore those placed higher based on LAST year and/or tradition have a huge advantage over teams like Kansas that have to play their way INTO the poll. This absolutely is ONE thing the BCS got right: Nobody should issue any polls until mid- or late-October. Hell, Oct. 1 if we need to compromise. But August polls are absurd, and they DO influence the eventual outcome of rankings that matter. Same for Heisman talk -- let it rest until Halloween.

cwrist 12 years ago

Lazz, you're right about the first few polls. The starting point is true, but seven or eight weeks into the season the polls clearly indicate hat's happening this season. Once it became clear to the pollsters that KU was doing some things right they were willing to bump the Jayhawks up a significant number of places (paired with other teams' losses) to get them where they deserve to be.

It is interesting the way the pollsters' rankings were nearly identical - give or take a few spots - to what the BCS showed when it first came out midseason.

cwrist 12 years ago

Oh, and Joel, I'd have no problems at all seeing Talib in the Heisman running. He's as deserving as anybody based on what he's been doing both ways.

lazz 12 years ago

Try telling that to Auburn a couple of years ago ...

in a crazy year like this, teams bounce around and get a chance to settle into sometthing resembling a realistic assessment; but if a few top programs run the table, then it's the two that started out higher who will likely play for the Big Tamale. P'haps the new BCS mid-October uberpoll will rectify that. We'll see. Regardless, this is a nutty year; in a more straightforward year, the earlier polls can have much more sway.

Long as I'm acting like I know what I'm talking about, let me just go on the record as saying I'm SICK AND G-D TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THE SEC.

There. Thank you. Feel much better.

lazz 12 years ago

Oh yeah, forgot to add THE BIG DAMN EAST to my sick-of list. A one-loss West Virginia team ranked ahead of undefeated KU? C'mon. That's just absurd. The Small East is the MOST OVERRATED conference in the country, BY FAR. While we're at it, Oklahoma LOST AT COLORADO. KU WON AT COLORADO. Both teams are Big 12 division leaders. One is undefeated. One isn't. Oh, right, good reason to rank OU six and KU eight. OK, now I'm sounding like a talk-show guy. Don't like that. But it's fun to have cause to get riled up ...

Chris Tackett 12 years ago

chris, i agree w/ everything you wrote, but can't quite bring myself to think either Reesing or Talib could be Heisman candidates. They are both great, but I can't see that happening, maybe next year, but I don't buy it yet. Maybe, I just need more convincing. (Could make for a nice post if you wanted to make your pitch. :)

Shelby 12 years ago

MU 24 - KU 17

should we start predictions here or in some new All In The Wrist blog?

Bill Woodard 12 years ago

Pastries for thought: Kansas has won 11 of it last 12 games, going back to last season, and is 22-11 in its last 33 games. Most impressively, of course, the Jayhawks are 3-0 on the road in league play this season (which aside from recruiting and building facilities was one of the toughest things to overcome building up a program from the depths of Gameball Allen's rule).

This season, everyone seems to be slobbering on Mizzou's knob because in the non-con they beat an ordinary Illinois team and a horrific Mississippi squad, then in B12 had such a wonderful moral victory at Oklahoma, which in fact was a 17-point loss until the Tigers tacked on a last-minute cosmetic TD against OU's prevent D. Further, MU just lost its best defensive player and captain, Pig Brown, for the season (achilles).

Most of the negative attention about Kansas has focused on A) the donuts and pudding pies the Jayhawks played in non-con [valid argument] and B) the fact that because of the Big 12 schedule, they avoid regular-season matchups with Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, instead playing Okie State, aTm, and Baylor.

Now, nobody in the league is as bad as Baylor (even ISU has stoned up the last couple of weeks and played above their heads). But Okie State and aTm are decent teams, and KU gets them on the road. Texas, meanwhile is REALLY ordinary this season. Oklahoma is damned good, but schizophrenic, sleepwalking through several games.

Getting back to the North, it's at least equal to and perhaps stronger than the South this season. Colorado has beaten OU at home and Tech on the road. K-State cowpunched Texas in Austin. Missouri, well, they stomped Tech at home, but that's their marquee win in league play, especially since the Children of the Corn, who we play this weekend, are terrible this year.

Kansas has three road wins against teams that are a combined 9-3 in other Big 12 games. They've played three of their first four conference games on the road, and won at Kansas State, at Colorado and at aTm.

Meanwhile, Missouri has three home wins against teams that are a combined 3-9 in other Big 12 games to go with its loss at Oklahoma.

We'll find out soon enough which team is better, but to this date there's a strong and definitive argument that KU has accomplished more.

Mangino is 3-2 against Missouri. He is, literally and figuratively, three times the coach Pinkel is, and he's about to go 4-2 against MU in November.

Kansas 27, Slavers 17

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