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Top five Kansas Football Stories of 2008
The year 2008 will go down as one of the most successful ever for the Kansas University football team. History was made, age-old records were shattered and a few oranges helped signify the Jayhawks' rise to prominence. Now, as the calendar year draws to a close, we look back at the top 5 Kansas football stories from 2008:5. KU downs rival K-State in Lawrence: A bit of pre-game trash talk paved the way for Kansas' most lopsided victory of the conference season. Not only did the victory mark the Jayhawks' third straight over the Wildcats, 52-21 on Nov. 1, it also essentially cost KSU coach Ron Prince his job. The week following the game, Prince was fired after three seasons in Manhattan and later replaced by the legendary Bill Snyder, who at 69, is set to take over the team next fall. 4. Kansas opens $31 million practice facility: In a nod to the facilities arms race of college football, KU completed the state-of-the-art Anderson Family Football Complex and adjacent practice fields this summer, just weeks before the '08 season was to begin. The complex, funded in part by booster Dana Anderson, is expected to provide a significant boost in the area of recruiting. The opening of the complex was spiked with a bit of controversy, however. Despite a $90,000 project to place trees along the practice fields, a measure aimed at keeping practices private from the general public, the fields had reportedly gone largely unused, at least through the first part of the season. 3. Kansas makes history by accepting bowl bids in consecutive seasons: Even in the aftermath of a BCS bowl invite, Kansas players aren't complaining about a 2008 trip to the Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight Bowl on Dec. 31. That's because, in the 119-year history of the program, a Kansas team had never earned back-to-back bowl invitations. The Jayhawks' 7-5 record this regular season marks the fourth straight season they've been bowl eligible, but just the third time in that span they've earned a berth. 2. 'Hawks top Missouri, 40-37: In summoning some magic it wasn't able to in 2007, Kansas battled back from a 37-33 deficit with under a minute left in the game to beat Border War rival Missouri, 40-37, at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 29. When quarterback Todd Reesing found quarterback-turned-receiver Kerry Meier in the end zone with 27 seconds remaining in the game, it ensured the Jayhawks a winning record in '08 while simultaneously salvaging a season that, up to that point, hadn't featured a signature victory. 1. KU captures Orange Bowl title: No surprise here. When the clock reached zero in Miami on Jan. 3, Kansas had earned its first BCS bowl title in school history. The victory helped the Jayhawks finish the season ranked No. 7 in the nation, and helped dispel whispers that the team's magical 11-1 regular season had been the product of weak scheduling.