Though the horror stories of 'beakland are many, I braved the enemy territory to serve you, the loyal BOTC reader. Under cover of Internet anonymity, I chanced an encounter with the crimson-and-blue neighbors, Rock Chalk Talk, in order to gain insight into their supposedly evil ways.
For my thoughts on the game, you can check out this post at Rock Chalk Talk. Go Cats!
1. What do you think of Mark Mangino? He is in year six and has yet to deliver a division contender, but considering what he started with maybe that's not so bad. Is this a judgment year for him, and if it is, what must he do to avoid a negative judgment?
I like Mark Mangino more than most. We disappointed last season
and he has yet to prove he can win on the road, but he brought in
talent to the program that we hadn't seen in a long time and even went
to a couple of bowl games with said talent. I do tend to think this is
a judgment year of him, but I wouldn't go as far as to say his job is
on the line. This is (arguably) his best team yet in Lawrence, and he
should win at least 8 games this season. Whether he does or not will
say a lot to most fans about whether this is a guy who can lead a team
to a BIg 12 North championship. He is going to need to sometime, he
has raised the standards of the program to that point.
2. KU has gained a lot of confidence by basically playing the part of the guy beating up on his little brother, but now it's time to move on to someone his size. How do you think KU will adjust to playing a team that can go toe-to-toe with it?
I don't think it will be a factor at all, especially after the
first series on each side of the ball. The initial punch of a Big
12-caliber team might shock them, especially on the lines where much
of the starters are new this year, but they will be pumped up and
ready to go more than ever because KSU-KU is a rivalry game. We
obviously won't put up nearly the same statistics that we have thus
far this season, but I wouldn't be shocked if we come out and play at
the same level. Mangino will have thsese guys ready to play.
3. What do you think of the week off prior to this game? Will it hurt the momentum KU had going, or will that possibility be outweighed by the extra time to heal and scheme for K-State?
I think it did more good than bad. Momentum is a tricky thing,
both to lose and gain, but much of that would have been taken away by
Mangino and his staff. I'm sure coaching cliches have been abundant
the past two weeks on the practice field in Lawrence, "It's a new
season in conference" ... "The most important game is the next one"
... etc. So, the loss-of-momentum will be minimal, and the extra week
of preparation will prove to be very big over the course of the game
in my opinion. We really haven't had to gameplan too seriously thus
far this season, we have mostly been able to simply out-talent them,
so having an extra week to gameplan must have been nice for the
coordinators and Mangino.
4. We all know about KU's recent struggles in Manhattan. How much does playing in Manhattan factor into this game? The field is still 100 yards long 53.5 yards wide, but is there something different about playing in front of 50,000 hostile, screaming fans as opposed to 50,000 supportive ones?
I think it will be more in the heads of the fans than anyone else.
Sure, most of the team was around last time we came into Manhattan
(with a tremendous defense and loads of confidence) and left without
scoring a TD. Still, anything before that can't mean much to the
players, it was before their time. Regarding Mangino, it isn't as much
of playing in Manhattan as the general idea of winning on the road. He
has yet to get a signature win, which this would be IMO, on the road,
and has been very unsuccessful overall playing away from Memorial
Stadium. So if anyone is affected, it will be Mangino and that will be
because of his general troubles on the road, not just in Manhattan.
5. Who's winning, and by how much?
Kansas. Mangino finally wins a big game on the road, Kansas shows
that its start against weaker opponents wasn't a fluke, and the
Jayhawks enter into the Big 12 North title picture. The score? 27-24.
Manhattan doesn't scare me...