Notre Dame was No. 10 in the last Associated Press poll, followed by Penn State, Auburn, Baylor and Texas A&M.;
Does Kansas' football team fit in there somewhere?
New Mexico State coach Jim Hess wasn't so sure it didn't after the Jayhawks cut a 54-14 swath through the Aggies Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
"That's probably the best team we've played in the year and two games I've been here," Hess said. "That's a pretty good football team. It's hard to judge how good. But they beat Tulsa, and I heard Tulsa beat Texas A&M;, so they may be a Top 15 team."
For sure, they were more than a match for New Mexico State.
"WE WEREN'T physically in it with Kansas," Hess said. "I know they made a lot of yards running the football, but sometimes our run defense wasn't that bad. We haven't seen a back who can do the things Sands can do."
KU running back Tony Sands finished with 106 yards, his third 100-yard performance in three games. The Jayhawks wound up with 540 total yards.
The Aggies gained just 185 yards. Handicapped from the start by a stiff southerly breeze, their air-it-out offense was further crippled by Kansas' pass rush.
"Their front seven played real well," quarterback David Chisum said. "It was a stiff wind. It was hard to throw into, and our game plan was to throw, so it did hurt us a little bit. But their front seven hurt us more.
"They didn't do anything we didn't expect. They just played well. They put a lot of pressure on us, and when they weren't pressuring us they were batting balls down."
KU DID ITS best defensive work in the second quarter when NMSU was headed into the wind and never managed to escape its own territory. At the height of the Aggies' offensive futility, they were pushed back to their own two yard line, and Kansas' Charley Bowen blocked a punt out of their end zone for a safety.
"We didn't have the muscle to come off our own goalline," Hess said. "The wind was a very big factor, and they handled it a lot better than we did."
True enough. New Mexico State scored all 14 of its points going with the south wind. The Jayhawks scored 44 points while headed north, including 30 in the Aggie-killing second quarter.
"The second quarter was just a disaster for us," Hess said. "The game was over at the half. We wanted to try to look respectable in the second half. I'd have liked to have gotten out of it with something like 44-21, but it kept building."
THE AGGIES, 0-2 and losers of 71 of their last 79 games, are building, too, Chisum said.
"We have a good team," the senior quarterback said. "Not a good team in the sense of the Oklahoma Sooners, but a good team in that we're mediocre and we're improving. We're better than the score indicates."