The marquee sports programs at KU & KSU both appear to be headed in opposite directions lately in a trend we have seen before.
For college sports fans in the State of Kansas they have to be asking themselves if they have entered a time machine and taken themselves back in time to roughly about a decade ago. The efforts put forth by the KU & K-State men's football and basketball programs here in recent days have looked eerily similar to the ways things use to be.
Starting on Friday night both KU and K-State men's basketball teams took on the typical non-conference fare that is associated with the start of the season. As expected the Jayhawks dominated their overmatched opponent in front of a packed and rowdy Allen Fieldhouse. As it seems to be every season KU was led by a potential Big 12 Player of the Year in Thomas Robinson along with a talented group of sidekicks. The start of the season was once again a welcome respite for Jayhawk fans who have long since started to lose interest in their failing football team.
The Wildcats meanwhile struggled early and often versus their opponent from the Big South conference and had to rally for a victory. Many Wildcats had hoped their basketball program, which has experienced a fair level of success the past few seasons, was beyond having to scrap and fight for early season victories. In addition to the team looking somewhat uninterested in being there, Bramlage Coliseum was nowhere near full as many fans no doubt were looking ahead to the football game the next day.
Then on Monday night the K-State men's basketball team played against Loyola Chicago in a less than full Bramlage Coliseum and again were not impressive. The beginning ten minutes or so of the game was about as pretty to watch as the recent Broncos versus Chiefs football game everyone was subjected to on Sunday. The Wildcats will have a break before trying to ramp things up a bit against Maryland Eastern Shore in another game that will be easy to overlook by fans and media alike.
In contrast Bill Self and the Jayhawks will be on the national stage as they take on Kentucky in one of the most looked forward to games of the early college basketball season. Playing an early big game on national television is nothing new though to the Jayhawks basketball program as they look to be favorites once again in the Big 12.
On the football field both the Wildcats and Jayhawks squads had home games Saturday against former Big 12 South schools. Now while each of these games didn't necessarily follow the exact script of how things use to go the final outcomes were similar.
In Lawrence, the Jayhawks who are in last place in the Big 12, found a way to pull defeat from the jaws of victory in a game that was not televised. The final home game of the season was played before an announced attendance of only 35,188 at Memorial Stadium. The fourth quarter collapse only led to more of a discussion regarding head coach Turner Gill's job status.
Meanwhile down the road in Manhattan the K-State Wildcats led by Bill Snyder were once again playing on ABC in front of a loud and raucous crowd. While it took the Wildcats four overtimes they eventually got the victory and improved their BCS ranking while continuing their push for a strong bowl bid.
The football programs of the two schools appear headed in opposite directions as the Wildcats will take on Texas in a highly anticipated game before finishing out the year at home in front of a presumed sell out crowd on Senior Day. Wildcat fans are beginning to check bowl projections to see what city their team might get sent too. On the other hand the sentiment amongst most Kansas fans regarding their football team is while they want to see progress among certain individuals they simply are hoping for a miracle win against Missouri to end the season.
About the only thing in common between the two fanbases in regards to football right now is that each wishes for their defensive coordinators to be replaced as soon as possible.
Looking ahead one can see a possible scenario similar to what many people grew up experiencing where KU was a good basketball school with a bad football team and K-State the exact opposite. This is the ofcourse the most extreme scenario as the K-State mens basketball program has not yet again dropped to the previous levels they went through but they look to be somewhat down this year compared to the past few seasons.
The KU basketball team appears to be in excellent hands with Bill Self while the football squad will likely have to start from scratch again here soon. The Wildcats also appear to be solid in football for the coming years with Bill Snyder who by all indications does not plan on retiring again anytime soon. The jury is still out on Frank Martin as no one really truly expects the Wildcats to become the dregs they once were in hoops but the possibility they go from consistently finishing in the top half of the standings to the bottom half is still alive.
So while you may not feel like it on an everyday basis at least the two schools main sports programs are trying to make you feel about ten years younger.