I like college football. I also like the NFL (this may make me unwelcome in some places, but there it is), but there’s something about the semi-pro nature of college football, and the sheer number of programs, and the rivalries, and the radio announcers, and the terribly flawed bowl system(s, past and present)… it is messy, but sometimes out of the mess comes something as wonderful and fun as the 2007 season was for us, here at the University of Kansas.
It started with a creampuff non-conference schedule that was delightful to watch, as we piled up points and yards and spectacular plays on unsuspecting teams. Nobody thought much of it, but it was fun for us. But when KU started winning conference games (albeit without meeting any high caliber teams like Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri), it got even more fun. We never got much national media attention until this last week before the Missouri game, but that was fine. We did spawn a nickname, the Fighting Manginos, as well as some unmentionable t-shirt slogans, and the Governor of Kansas was the guest of honor in our Homecoming Parade (that didn’t happen at Iowa). The whole town had fun with it.
We were lucky enough to be in Iowa in 2002 ((Wikipedia has a pretty complete page on the 2002 Iowa Hawkeyes)), when they had their excellent season that ended 11–2. And now we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this season at KU. A season which will hopefully end 12–1, not 11–2. No offense to the Iowa team (which had players the likes of Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, and Nate Kaeding), but the bowl game in 2002 was disastrous. I hope for better from KU this year. At least Iowa lost the game to Carson Palmer and USC (my mother’s always-root-for team).
The game in Kansas City this past weekend was difficult to watch, though we are glad we stuck with it, as the team did account for itself well in the last twenty minutes of regulation. We switched to the radio announcers at halftime, even with the HD video being about twenty seconds behind the radio (it was like always-on instant replay!), and we had a much better time, despite the losing part. But now it is over.
Everyone here in Lawrence is very happy for the football team, and very congratulatory on their season (despite sending impostors out for the first half against Missouri… really, we could have won that game). And everyone is, en masse, turning to basketball.
There’s another undefeated team in town.