A few weeks back the Kansas Jayhawks learned that a 24 game consecutive streak was being broken. What was that streak? Well unfortunately or maybe fortunately for Kansas it's the 24 straight games with a television appearance.
Since 2007 the Jayhawks have enjoyed a nice run of television appearances boosted by a competitive brand of football that took them to back to back bowls in '07 and '08 before the beginning of the recent slide during the 2009 season. That slide has carried over to a new coach, new players and a new season in 2010.
When Kansas plays Iowa State in Ames, the radio or a ticket will once again be your only way of following the Jayhawks. The raised profile, increased exposure and all the things that go with a televised contest are non-existent and unfortunately for Kansas the streak didn't end sooner. The Jayhawks have lost the last three games by a combined score of 159-24. Not good by any measure.
Again, the good news is that if Iowa State who is coming off a big win in Austin accomplishes the same, no one outside of those in the stands will have to endure the demise.
At this point about all the Jayhawks and Jayhawk fans can hope for is a light. A light at the end of the tunnel, but not that from an oncoming train.
What's interesting about the contest against Iowa State is that Kansas as a team isn't necessarily less talented, in fact they should match up fairly well against the Cyclones. The difference? Paul Rhoads was able to get his players to overachieve from the get go.
In 2009 the Cyclones rolled into Lincoln in his first year with the program and knocked off a Nebraska team that went on to the Big 12 championship. In 2010, just a week ago, Iowa State went into Austin and got a win against Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns. Some might argue that the win isn't as big of a deal as it is in some years, but it's not a feat that Kansas would likely accomplish and a win in Austin is always a good win.
At this point what Kansas needs to do is take a cue from the Cyclones. The staff could take a cue from Paul Rhoads. Find a way, whatever it is, to go out week to week and compete with whoever it is lined up on the other side of the field. So far Kansas hasn't done that often enough. As fans and even casual observers you can somewhat forgive a struggling team if they go out and at least do that.
Right now the Jayhawks sit at 2-5 staring squarely in the face of a 2-10 season. Those remaining games include extremely difficult contests in Lincoln against the Huskers and at Arrowhead against another team they could learn something from, the Missouri Tigers.
Sure technically the season isn't over for Kansas, but at the moment the best they can hope for is finding that fire, the passion and a way to motivate eachother as a team in the same way that their opponent this weekend has. My guess is that Iowa State fans don't like to lose any more than Kansas fans do, but I'd also bet that right now it's a little easier to stomach considering the team comes out with some fight on a fairly regular basis.
Time is what it takes to inject talent into a program. Consistency, continuity and wins aren't easy to come by. Playing hard, and getting a group to fight tooth and nail against any odds however can be built quickly and it can often be the first sign of a good coaching staff.