View Full Version : Whitlock - KU, MU have nothing to complain about

11-11-2007, 09:26 PM
Posted on Sat, Nov. 10, 2007 10:15 PM

The Kansas City Star

STILLWATER, Okla. | No crying. No whining. No bagging on the BCS.

In the most important contest of the college football weekend ó thanks to Illinoisí exposing of overrated and previously unbeaten Ohio State ó the fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks flushed a feisty Oklahoma State squad 43-28 Saturday night, making the Hawks the last unblemished BCS team standing.

Savor that for a minute. Ohio State, Florida, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, LSU and every other traditional football power has fallen. A program that has never really mattered in the national-championship race is now one accident away from the driverís seat with three laps to go on a track that has caused more spills than anyone can remember.

Kansas is 10-0, and thatís not in basketball.

Thereís nothing to complain about. Not the BCS standings. Not the rankings. Not the Heisman Trophy race.

Mark Mangino and his Kansas Jayhawks have earned the exact level of respect they deserve. Theyíre players in the national-title hunt, and Todd Reesing (308 passing yards, three TDs), Brandon McAnderson (142 rushing yards, two TDs), Marcus Henry (199 receiving yards, three TDs) and Aqib Talib (nine tackles, an interception and knockout hit on OSUís best receiver) ó KUís stars Saturday night and all season ó will get plenty of postseason recognition.

Yeah, the Jayhawks are likely to be ranked No. 4 in the next round of polls, behind one-loss powers LSU, Oregon and Oklahoma. Theyíll probably sit at No. 3 in the BCS standings, behind LSU and Oregon, one spot out of this yearís BCS title game.

Thatís all right. With Missouri left on the schedule and a possible Big 12 title clash with Oklahoma, thereís plenty of time and opportunity for the Hawks to improve their standings in the polls and the BCS.

Thereís really just one thing, besides a KU or Missouri loss next weekend, that could ruin the most enjoyable and exciting college football season this area has ever seen.

A bout of BCS whining, a prolonged period of worrying about something you canít control or change, succumbing to the temptation to view Kansas and Missouri as victims rather than potential-improbable-incredible Big 12 champions.

Donít let it happen. Donít sour the delicious taste of two top-10 teams by focusing on what you may or may not be denied.

Yeah, as I write this, the Jayhawks and 9-1 Tigers are locked out of the title game.

Donít worry about it. If weíve learned anything this season, itís that any upset is possible. Ohio State just lost at home to Juice Williams and Illinois, a team Missouri beat in its season opener. LSU and Oregon could easily lose another game.

And, if Kansas and Missouri take care of their business, either school could slip past LSU or Oregon in the polls and move up in the BCS standings. Voters would have to be impressed if Kansas finished its season with victories over Missouri and Oklahoma. Theyíd be equally impressed if the Tigers knocked off Kansas and then avenged their only loss by beating Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

Without those victories, Kansas and Missouri donít belong in the national-title conversation.

The Jayhawks remind me of the 1998 Kansas State Wildcats; only so far Kansas fans have handled their success better than Wildcats fans. That Kansas State team was as good as any team in the country. Unfortunately, K-State fans spent all season whining about a lack of respect. The team wound up reflecting the arrogance of its fan base, gave away the Big 12 title game and thought it was too good to play in the Alamo Bowl.


11-11-2007, 09:28 PM
Bill Snyderís best work was stained by a victimís mentality that permeated the program.

We donít have to let it happen again. The attitude of fans can impact the mind-set of a team. If the conversation about the teams turns into a discussion of what they might be denied rather than what they can accomplish, the players can get swept up in that, too.

Kansas and Missouri can win the Big 12 and play in a BCS bowl game. The Jayhawks could run the table, win the Fiesta Bowl and win the AP national championship. No one thought that when the season kicked off. When the season opened, Kansas fans hadnít made up their mind about Mark Mangino, and Missouri fans were convinced Gary Pinkel had taken the Tigers as far as he was capable.

Now the winner of the Nov. 24 showdown at Arrowhead Stadium is the Big 12 coach of the year. More importantly, Mangino and Pinkel are in position to elevate their programs permanently. Saturday afternoon one of the nationís top recruits, St. Louis quarterback Blaine Gabbert, announced he wants to succeed Chase Daniel. Gabbert, the countryís 23rd-best prospect, according to Rivals.com, had originally committed to Nebraska.

The Jayhawks are significantly upgrading their facilities. Surely Mangino will land his best recruiting class.

My point is that whatever happens in the final BCS standings, itís not the end. Getting left out of the title game wouldnít be a death sentence or even a crime. Kansas played a weak nonconference schedule. Missouriís resume is no better than Oregonís or LSUís.

This season should be the beginning of big things for Kansas and Missouri. Not an excuse to complain about a system that never promised perfection.

To reach Jason Whitlock, call 816-234-4869 or send e-mail to jwhitlock@kcstar.com. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com

11-11-2007, 09:36 PM
The Jayhawks remind me of the 1998 Kansas State Wildcats; only so far Kansas fans have handled their success better than Wildcats fans.