Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

Can KU come close to staggering success of 2007-2008?

Now what? Football, basketball didn’t lose at home

Kansas University head football coach Mark Mangino, left photo, basks in his team's 2008 Orange Bowl victory, and KU basketball coach Bill Self, right photo, revels in his team's 2008 National Championship.

Kansas University head football coach Mark Mangino, left photo, basks in his team's 2008 Orange Bowl victory, and KU basketball coach Bill Self, right photo, revels in his team's 2008 National Championship.

August 16, 2008

Advertisement

Nothing stills a college campus quite like the home team losing a football or basketball game played in an on-campus facility.

Party plans fizzle. Heads hang. Misplays replay in minds and conversations.

Then again, how could the students of Kansas University have known anything about that during the 2007-2008 school year?

The football team played seven games at Memorial Stadium and won them all, by an average score of 56-11. The basketball team went 19-0 in Allen Fieldhouse, winning by an average margin of 27.6 points.

The 26-0 on-campus record was part of a 49-4 combined football/basketball record that included an Orange Bowl victory against Virginia Tech in Miami and a come-from-behind overtime victory against Memphis in San Antonio in the national title game.

No NCAA Div. I football and basketball teams from the same school ever have combined for 49 victories in the same school year, so expecting Kansas to be able to pull off another such feat anytime soon wouldn't be very realistic.

In basketball, the defending national champions lost five players - Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun - to the NBA Draft, plus starting guard Russell Robinson, who graduated but did not get selected in the draft.

This season, the football team returns 20 of its top 22 players on the defensive two-deep chart, but the two losses were substantial. Cornerback Aqib Talib was a first-team All-American and first-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Defensive tackle James McClinton did not get drafted, but was a second-team All-American.

Five starters are gone from the offensive, including the leading rusher (Brandon McAnderson), the leading pass receiver (Marcus Henry), both starting tackles and the starting tight end.

But the most important player has two seasons remaining at Kansas. Starting as a sophomore, Todd Reesing set multiple school records, including single-season marks for touchdown passes (33), passing yards (3,4786) and completion percentage (61.9).

Reesing was at his best in the game that generated the most excitement of any during the 26-0 on-campus year for football and basketball.

Reesing threw six touchdown passes Nov. 3, when Kansas paid back years of drubbings by pinning a 76-39 bully job on Nebraska.

With a tougher home schedule for the football team, which plays host to Texas Tech and Texas at Memorial Stadium, and a far younger basketball roster than last season, the chances of an undefeated year in games played on campus are nil. But the Jayhawks will win far more than they lose, so the sounds of silence will be the exception rather than the rule on game days.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.