Lawrence is a town in which only one thing really matters…
And that one thing is KU basketball. Because for all practical purposes college basketball takes precedence over any and all else that goes down in this town, even the university itself. Jayhawk basketball is the tail that wags the school, the city, the citizenry, the alumnae and with rare exception each and every individual who resides here who didn’t attend K-State or Missouri.
Think I’m exaggerating? Walk a mile in my shoes.
While I attended the University of Arizona, it’s no secret I’ve always been partial to KU. Maybe because my dad went here for like one semester, its proximity to Kansas City or the charm of downtown Lawrence.
So it stands to reason that in my moving to Lawrence – albeit while retaining ultra close ties to KC on a weekly basis – I’ve become more smitten and more biased, in favor of all things Jayhawk. No doubt Missouri aficionados who’ve recoiled at some of the sports assessments made here by Craig Glazer and Brett Mosiman believe that to be true.
That said, let me remind you though of true blue KU lover and Lawrence resident Matt Donnelly‘s take on my appreciation of KU; that I view the love affair locals have with Bill Self the same way the Kool-ade drinkers of Jonestown did Jim Jones - as a cult.
Matt nailed it when he nailed me.
The intense worship of KU basketball in Lawrence has caused me to contemplate going to the dark side. Not K-State – the Little Apple’s not for me – I’m talking Mizzou.
However truth be known, I don’t require a college sports allegiance to make my life complete. I enjoy sports as much as anyone but overall it isn’t that big a deal to me.
“Football Embarrassment,” reads the headline. “Is there any hope for Kansas University to rise above its ranking as the worst team in all of the six power conferences?”
Because it’s one thing to more-or-less shrug and accept one’s station in life, quite another to strut the kind of pride basketball fans exhibit and embrace the shame and humiliation that comes with being the worst of the worst.
“Unfortunately, Kansas University, despite an occasional winning and bowl-eligible team, has not enjoyed sustained success on the football field. Is this due to poor coaches, poor players, poor facilities, lack of interest by senior school officials — or a combination of all those factors?,” the editorial asks.
“A recent issue of Forbes magazine carried a story titled, ‘The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money.’ The survey was limited to the six automatic-qualifying conferences — Atlantic Coast Conference, American Athletic Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and Southeastern Conference — the so-called power conferences. Guess which team was judged to be the worst in all six conferences. The Kansas Jayhawks!”
Forbes bottom line: “Kansas maintains its stranglehold on the title of worst college football team for the money. The Jayhawks have spent over $8 million per victory, the result of playing in a major conference but winning just six games over the last three seasons.”
The editorial goes on to note that K-State – with a smaller budget and smaller enrollment has blown KU away in football (but thank heavens, not basketball).
“How embarrassing for Jayhawk fans to have the worst team in the national survey while Kansas State is ranked second best after being on top of the ranking for two years,” the editorial scolds.
“Consider the possibilities if the KU football team enjoyed the enthusiasm, support and national attention that the KU basketball program receives.”
It doesn’t get any dumber than that. I mean, just imagine if Lawrence enjoyed the enthusiasm, support and national attention of – I don’t know – New York City.
How about if KU could just get back to being a contender of some sort every five or ten years?
Here’s where the editorial gets gutless:
“What’s the trouble: poor coaches, poor players, poor athletic directors and/or poor expectations for school administrators?”
Geez, if the Journal World doesn’t have the guts to call anybody out, what hope is there?