Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Keegan: Ranking may await Jayhawks

October 3, 2007


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Now that K-State has knocked off Texas, do you think a KU win in Manhattan would put the Jayhawks in the Top 25 polls?

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It's time to quell the conspiracy theory that suggests college football poll voters have it in for Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins.

The basis of the suspicion, which so far has remained underground: Kansas and UConn, the last two universities to put Perkins in charge, also are the last two unbeaten teams to remain unranked in the polls.

KU's senior associate athletic director Larry (Contrary) Keating, who always enjoys a good disagreement, wondered aloud why Kansas was not ranked.

"You're not undefeated because you haven't played anybody yet," I told Keating in a momentary lapse into Yogi-speak.

"We're not?" Keating countered. "Then what are we, 2-2?"

Few things sting worse than when a contrarian gets the final word.

OK, so Kansas is 4-0, but the Jayhawks don't deserve a top-25 ranking ... yet.

A victory in Manhattan against No. 24 Kansas State ought to springboard KU into the top 25. Nothing is a given, considering Associated Press voters inexplicably have Texas ranked five spots ahead of K-State, even though the Wildcats crushed the Longhorns, 41-21, in Austin. Far worse, coaches don't rank K-State and have Texas 16th, even though the Longhorns haven't defeated a team that is now anywhere close to ranked.

Here's how Kansas could get slighted: Some voters, I suspect, look at the previous week's rankings and adjust based on those. As of now, Kansas is tied for 40th with three points. Lazy voters could look at that and figure one victory doesn't merit leaping over that many teams.

KU is one of 15 undefeated teams. Purdue and Ohio State play each other, so at most, 14 will remain unbeaten. Not all could boast defeating a ranked team, as KU could with its fifth victory.

Showing enough faith in the voters to assume KU will crack the rankings with a victory Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, I shared that with a few players.

"Will we?" said the team's best player, Aqib Talib. "Ooh! I wasn't aware of that. That would mean a lot. Kansas being in the top 25 in football, that's a start for us right there. We'd look at that as a good first half of the season."

Linebacker Mike Rivera was locked in trite-talk mode Tuesday, careful not to say anything to motivate K-State players. Even he grew a little excited at the prospect of a national ranking.

"It definitely would be an awesome thing to be in the top 25," Rivera said. "Of course, you want your team to be respected across the nation, and that definitely shows that you're respected."

Kansas last was ranked in 1996, moving from 25th to 24th to 20th. After losing at Utah, 45-42, in the third week of the season, Kansas fell out of the rankings and hasn't returned.

"Obviously, playing a ranked opponent is an exciting challenge for us," KU quarterback Todd Reesing said. "They've gotten national exposure with their season so far. For us to have a chance to beat them and get our exposure is really exciting."

Not only that, it would enable Kansas to join the ranks of the undefeated, er, check that, I mean, all the other (except possibly UConn) undefeated teams in the rankings.


slowburn 10 years, 8 months ago

"Hey, why is the cart ahead of me?" asked the horse.

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