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Monday Rewind: K-State
Allow me to take you back a few days to Oct. 2, 2010.
My colleagues and I are sitting at Floyd-Casey Stadium, in Waco, Texas, watching the Jayhawks get trounced by Baylor. None of us saw it coming. None of us could believe it was happening — at least not in the way it was happening. And, come on, definitely not to Baylor.
But it was. As the third quarter turned into the fourth and the game turned into even more of a laugher, I looked at one co-worker and said something along the lines of, “That’s it. They won’t win another game. Not playing like this.”
I, of course, was talking about the Kansas University football team and, at the time, I meant it. Kansas looked overmatched, out of sync and overall like a team that just wasn’t ready to compete against Big 12 talent.
The Jayhawks were angry that day and so were many of their fans. But not all was lost. After all, it was a road game, it came against a team on the rise and, perhaps most importantly, the Jayhawks had a bye week ahead, which meant extra time to prepare for Kansas State.
As the days moved along and KU coach Turner Gill continued to talk about his team in a positive light, the tide started to turn. At first I was skeptical but the more I heard from Gill and Co., the more I started to believe that KU could win again this season. When Nebraska reduced Kansas State to a high school JV team in front of a national television audience, my thoughts reached a new high. Not only was I believing again that the Jayhawks could win another game, I was starting to believe that victory was going to come against Kansas State. My colleagues were on board, too, with all but one of us picking the Jayhawks to win last week’s game.
Twelve days after I sat in Waco and proclaimed that the Jayhawks would not win another game this season, I was preparing for the Sunflower Showdown with the firm belief that KU would beat K-State.
And here we are again.
I hate making these things about me because, as we all know, I have nothing to do with it. But I chose to do so for this week’s “Rewind” segment because I think the roller coaster ride that I’ve been on lately — as a neutral observer who’s just been doing his job of covering this team — illustrates exactly how crazy things have been for the Jayhawks during Gill’s up-and-down first season.
If even I (and especially even Tom Keegan) came around to believe that KU would win again after the Baylor beating, imagine how the KU players must have felt. I mean, coach Gill was not attempting to lift our spirits after the losses. But he was doing that with his players — in a big way.
However, just by being around it and by hearing the coaches and players talk about how things were going to be different, we found ourselves picking KU over K-State. So, if we believed again, I can only imagine how fired up the Jayhawks were after 12 days off, a bunch of spirited practices and their in-state rivals coming to town.
Obviously, none of that mattered, as KSU punished KU, 59-7, in what was, statistically speaking, the second worst beating in the 108-year history of the Sunflower Showdown.
So where do things go from here?
Well, this week’s opponent, Texas A&M, opened as a 13.5-point favorite over the Jayhawks for this Saturday’s homecoming contest at Memorial Stadium. I don’t know for sure, but I’d say it’s a safe bet that none of the guys I work with — nor many KU fans — will be picking the Jayhawks to knock off the Aggies this week.
However, if Gill, his coaching staff and the team’s leaders are doing their jobs, the Jayhawks will take the field on Saturday with the belief that they’re going to beat A&M.
The question now is: Which shoes are better to be in — ours or theirs?