Kansas University versus North Carolina State in a bowl game. What goes around indeed comes around.
Hard to believe three decades have passed since the Jayhawks and Wolfpack last met in football at the 1973 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.
Thank goodness this meeting is in balmy Orlando, Fla.
What I remember most about the '73 Liberty Bowl is the bone-chilling cold. Many KU fans, unprepared for a mid-December arctic front, were forced to lift blankets from their motel beds to bundle up against the night chill. Even the press box was frigid because the wind whipped through a damaged side door.
Worse, five years after the fabled 12th-Man gaffe had cost the Jayhawks a win over Penn State in the Orange Bowl, a controversial play propelled the Wolfpack to a 31-18 win.
Early in the third quarter, with the score knotted at 10, KU's Bruce Adams appeared to have been tripped while making a fair catch. The punted ball hit him, N.C. State took over and punched in for a score. Adams argued to no avail. Later, game films showed the KU punt returner indeed had been tripped.
Even though the Wolfpack won handily, Kansas All-American quarterback David Jaynes was named the game's most outstanding performer after completing 24 of 38 passes for 218 yards.
Sadly, it was the last hurrah for Jaynes because, while no one knew it at the time, he had damaged his prized right arm -- Jaynes believes it happened when he didn't warm up properly prior to a chilly pre-game practice -- and had little more than a cup of coffee in the NFL.
The Chiefs tapped Jaynes in the third round of the 1974 draft, but his arm never did come around. Today, Jaynes, who hails from Bonner Springs, lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., and operates a charter jet service.
Fullback Robert Miller, who later played several years for the Minnesota Vikings, scored both KU touchdowns on that chilly night -- one on a 12-yard run and another on a 12-yard pass from Jaynes. Mike Love added a 28-yard field goal.
Love is one of about 10 members of that '73 team, including head coach Don Fambrough, who live in Douglas County. The others are Scott McMichael, Wint Winter, Paul Van Saun, Mike Englebrake, Fedro Dillon, Bill Skepnek, Bob Martin and Pat Henderson, now a member of Mark Mangino's coaching staff.
Henderson has nothing on N.C. State head coach Chuck Amato, though. Amato was a young member of Lou Holtz's N.C. State staff way back in '73.
Much like this year's Kansas team, that 1973 squad overachieved. Picked to finish seventh in the Big Eight Conference, the Jayhawks wound up second with a 4-2-1 record and were 7-4-1 overall. They did it by winning the close ones.
To this day, Fambrough's '73 club is the only team in NCAA history to play six games in one season decided by two points or less. KU won by two points over both Colorado and Iowa State and by one point over Missouri. The Jayhawks tied Oklahoma State and lost by one point to Tennessee and Nebraska.
Noteworthy, too, about that '73 Kansas team is that it featured arguably the most talented freshman class in school history. Among the first-year players were Nolan Cromwell, Laverne Smith, Terry Beeson and Mike Butler. All four went on to become high NFL draft picks in 1977.
The last Kansas football team to play N.C. State also had Steve Rus, a sophomore defensive back and special teams player from Riverside, Ill., on its roster. The next Kansas football team to play North Carolina State has Darren Rus, a reserve linebacker and special teams player from Overland Park.
So, among other things, this year's Tangerine Bowl will feature a father-son connection.
In describing his 1973 team, Fambrough said: "We don't have a lot of this, and we don't have a lot of that. What we do have is a lot of don't-give-up in us."
Mangino easily could say the same thing about the 2003 Jayhawks.