Goin' to Miami
The bags are packed and the alarm clock is set to go off four hours from now.That 7 a.m. flight is gonna be a little rough, no doubt.But this might just be the best early morning flight ever. The destination is Miami. A few of my best buds will be flying with me, and we'll be meeting another half-dozen people from our group when we get there.And, of course, there will be thousands more Kansas fans just like us making the same pilgrimage to the Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium.The more I read up on Virginia Tech, and the more I recall from watching the Hokies play a handful of times on TV this season, the more anxious I become about this game. They bring so much speed on defense and special teams. It's a level Kansas hasn't faced this season, and Oklahoma is the only Big 12 Conference team that is similar in that regard.Then again, the more I think back over the course of the season, the more big plays - game-changing plays - I recall the Jayhawks making in all facets of the game. There was the defense's all-around dominance against Texas A&M. There was Marcus Henry's catch-and-run at Oklahoma State. There were Aqib Talib's acrobatics during the early games and Kerry Meier's clutch catches as a makeshift receiver. There was Marcus Herford's 88-yard kickoff return seconds before lightning delayed KU's rout of Baylor. And don't forget the 10 straight possessions with a touchdown and five forced turnovers against Nebraska. All of those examples offer reasons to feel confident about KU's chances.Then there's the fact that the Big 12 is representing quite nicely so far in its bowl games. The league is 4-2 so far (Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Missouri all won; Texas A&M and Colorado lost), and Oklahoma and Kansas still await their games. It's been a good postseason for the conference thus far. (And not that it has any impact on the KU-Va. Tech game, but who else noticed that Central Michigan - one of those lowly nonconference teams Kansas played this year - lost on a field goal in the closing seconds to Big 10 Conference school Purdue in the Motor City Bowl. That's the same Central Michigan team that Kansas beat by 45 points.)Then again, the first two BCS bowl games have had lopsided scores with the favorites winning by 31 and 32 points. Hopefully that doesn't foreshadow things to come.I suppose this just goes to show that nobody really knows what to expect on Thursday night. Virginia Tech is favored, and they should be since they're the No. 3-ranked team in the country. Kansas has just one loss, and it was by one possession to a Missouri squad that likely will finish ranked in the top five. It'll be speed vs. savvy; bowl veterans vs. the up-and-coming kids from Kansas; a blowout or a down-to-the-wire thriller.That's a lot to think about, but at least it'll give me something to do on the plane.