Posts tagged with Memorial Stadium
The media’s picks for preseason all-Big 12 honors were released today, and, probably to no one’s surprise, the first-team lists did not include any Jayhawks.
During the past couple of weeks, I thought long and hard about KU’s chances of getting a player on the first team. Each time, I concluded that it was not likely.
Not only are the Jayhawks devoid of top-tier talent — especially when comparing them to the rest of the Big 12 rosters — but they’re also coming off of two of the worst years in school and league history, something that surely that has stuck with the rest of the media members who cover the league.
There are guys who belong in the conversation. Offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson is a legit talent with an NFL future who has carved out a nice career, but it’s not surprising that he was not named a first-teamer. I would say Hawkinson, who once again will hold down his familiar spot at left tackle during his senior season, had a better shot of being a first-teamer on the postseason awards than he did the preseason lists.
Another guy who constantly crosses my mind when it comes to these types of lists is senior wide receiver and kick returner D.J. Beshears. Last year, I included Beshears on my preseason ballot but KU’s special teams as a whole — including Beshears — were a disaster last season and he did not sniff a mention on the postseason squad.
Others who KU fans might think warranted consideration here include: defensive end Toben Opurum, safety Bradley McDougald or punter Ron Doherty.
While I like all of those guys and think they are among KU’s best players, I don’t think they’ve proven that they belong on this list just yet. Opurum and McDougald are still relatively new to defense and their numbers have not necessarily made them stand out in the minds of people outside of Lawrence.
As for Beshears, he may have another stellar year in the return game like he did as a sophomore, but, even at that, it’s hard to justify putting him ahead of Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett on this list.
Today’s news might have come as a disappointment for some KU fans, but it should not have come as a surprsie. Based on what we know about KU’s roster and how certain players stack up against the league’s top players at each position, it seems more than fair to leave the Jayhawks off of this list and make them earn their way onto the postseason squad. Whether any will or not remains to be seen.
For the record, neither Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell or myself included a single KU player on our ballots.
Here’s a look at the media's picks for the preseason all-Big 12 first-team offense and defense:
Pos Name School Ht Wt Cl/Exp Hometown
WR Kenny Stills, Oklahoma 6-1 189 Jr/2L Encinitas, Calif.
TE Jordan Najvar, Baylor 6-6 260 Jr/1L Spring, Texas
OL Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma 6-4 295 Jr/2L Oklahoma City, Okla.
OL Cyril Richardson, Baylor 6-5 335 Jr/2L Fort Worth, Texas
C Ben Habern, Oklahoma 6-4 292 Sr/3L Argyle, Texas
OL LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech 6-6 318 Sr/3L Columbus, Texas
OL Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State 6-3 328 Sr/3L Arlington, Texas
WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia 5-9 174 Sr/3L Baltimore, Md.
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia 6-3 214 Sr/3L Miami, Fla.
RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State 6-1 200 Jr/2L Wichita, Kan.
RB Malcolm Brown, Texas 6-0 213 So/1L Cibolo, Texas
PK Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State 6-1 205 Sr/3L Mansfield, Texas
KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State 5-11 175 So/1L Tulsa, Okla.
Pos Name School Ht Wt Cl/Exp Hometown
DL Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas 6-5 250 Jr/2L Plano, Texas
DL Stansly Maponga, TCU 6-2 265 Jr/2L Carrollton, Texas
DL Alex Okafor, Texas 6-4 260 Sr/3L Pflugerville, Texas
DL Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma 6-2 296 Sr/3L Lufkin, Texas
LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State 6-1 228 Sr/3L Wichita, Kan.
LB A.J. Klein, Iowa State 6-2 244 Sr/3L Kimberly, Wis.
LB Jake Knott, Iowa State 6-3 239 Sr/3L Waukee, Iowa
DB Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State 5-8 185 Sr/3L Houston, Texas
DB Kenny Vaccaro, Texas 6-1 215 Sr/3L Brownwood, Texas
DB Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma 5-10 199 Jr/2L Chula Vista, Calif.
DB Nigel Malone, Kansas State 5-10 185 Sr/3L Manteca, Calif.
P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State 6-1 205 Sr/3L Mansfield, Texas
PR Tavon Austin, West Virginia 5-9 174 Sr/3L Baltimore, Md.
Congratulations, Jayhawk fans.
It turns out you do have a Top 20 football program after all.
At least that’s what the guys at predictionmachine.com say about the Kansas University football program’s home-field advantage at Memorial Stadium.
We’ll get into the specifics of the study and how the rankings were compiled in a minute. It’s important for those of you who may be checking your pulse — or your glasses — to stick with me to that part of this blog.
For starters, though, let’s just get right to the meat of it all. According to the study, which includes data from as far back as 2000, the KU football program has the 14th best home-field advantage of all Div. I, FBS programs in the country.
Better than Alabama, better than Texas, better than Kansas State. Heck, according to these guys, KU ranks second in the Big 12 when it comes to home-field advantage, with only Oklahoma (1st) and former Big 12 schools Missouri (4th) and Texas A&M (12th) rating higher than the Jayhawks.
So what gives? How is it possible that a program that has just a handful of bowl appearances all-time and a student fan base that routinely leaves games at halftime and does not return ranks near the top of college football in home-field advantage?
Well, according to this study, the fever of the fans, the gameday atmosphere, the decibel level and the construction of the stadium don’t mean squat.
This study merely analyzes things from a scientific perspective, with the conclusion being based on which teams perform at a higher level at home above what is expected and how consistently that performances is delivered.
In short, it’s long been known that the Jayhawks both play and fare better in Memorial Stadium than they do on the road, and that’s basically what this study is saying.
That’s why the elite programs in the country rank near the bottom. Alabama is 106th, Texas is 100th, Nebraska 102nd and Florida 96th. Most years, these programs are so loaded with talent that it does not matter where they play or who they’re playing. These teams typically roll to blowout after blowout regardless of where the game is played, which makes their home-field advantage less significant and certainly less crucial than the advantage for a program like KU.
I’m pretty sure that even the most die-hard Jayhawk fans would say that playing in Tuscaloosa or Austin or Lincoln or at the Swamp is a much more difficult endeavor than coming into Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. And they’re right. But this study did not take into account any of the environmental factors that make college football so great. It merely looked at the numbers and spit out this fascinating, yet head-scratching, list.
So why do the study? Why not?
It’s kind of interesting to see that the Jayhawks get such a lift out of playing at home, even if the stands aren’t always full or people do leave long before the final gun.
For those interested, here’s the complete list, which also includes a full explanation of how the results were reached.
I figured many of you would be hearing about this from friends, on Twitter or on message boards out there, so I wanted to help explain the list to you before you thought you were going insane.
For those curious about where the Big 12's programs rank, here's that list:
- Oklahoma - 1st
- Kansas - 14th
- Oklahoma State - 17th
- Texas Tech - 24th
- Iowa State - 25th
- Kansas State - 27th
- Baylor - 42nd
- TCU - 55th
- Texas - 100th
- West Virginia - 111th