One point, one easy-as-fallin'-off-a-log point, against Nebraska, and Kansas changes the course of college football history.
Tom Osborne's hopes for his first national championship in 22 years as the Huskers' head coach? Poof.
"I'm sure there are a few teams out there that wish I would have kicked that extra point," said KU coach Glen Mason, who, of course, went for two and the win against NU and failed to get both. "I'm sure there are a lot of teams that wish I would have made the two-point conversion."
Like the Fiesta Bowl, which would have been host for No. 1 Florida State to meet No. 2 West Virginia on New Year's Day. Like undefeated and out-of-luck West Virginia, which, at 11-0, has no hope of winning the national title.
Now think what would have happened if the Jayhawks had won the two games they lost by a total of two points:
- They'd have finished third in the Big Eight with a 5-2 record and be headed to either Honolulu or Tucson for the holidays;
- Kansas State would still be 7-3-1 overall, but it would be fifth in the Big Eight and probably be squeezed out of the bowl picture again;
- and the most important thing the Huskers would be doing in Miami is dodging motorists' bullets on I-95.
The Jayhawks couldn't have helped the preseason poll I filled out at the end of the Big Eight Skywriters tour, though.
My ballot wasn't a complete failure. Nebraska was first and Colorado second. Missouri was sixth and Iowa State seventh, and they wound up in a sixth-place tie.
I was close to picking Kansas State right, too, if you can look past the the fact that they finished in third place when I picked them for last.
I did the voting, so I'm to be held accountable. But it wasn't my fault.
Jason Smargiasso didn't come back, leaving the Wildcats with just one quarterback, and he'd never played a Big Eight game. Face it -- if Chad May can't throw, K-State is sunk. I was betting he couldn't when I ranked them seventh in the preseason.
Then the Skywriters visited Ames, and there was Jim Walden raving that the Cyclones would have the best team since he'd arrived. So I bumped them from the cellar to seventh and demoted the 'Cats.
As it turned out, May could throw a mean spiral, and the 'Cats finished third.
As it turned out, all Oklahoma State QB Gary Porter could throw was a mean party, and the Cowboys, whom I chose to place fifth, never won a conference game.
Then there were the Sooners, whom I picked for third and who finished fourth, and the Jayhawks, whom I took to finish fourth and who came in fifth largely because wheelchairs weren't allowed on the field.
The epilogue is that Oklahoma gets the coalition bowl bid that's supposed to go to the conference runner-up; Colorado, the runner-up, lucks out of a trip to El Paso, Texas, and into Christmas in Hawaii; K-State makes its second bowl appearance ever; and Missouri promotes Bob Stull because he's not good enough to coach its football team.
I probably wouldn't have predicted any of that.