|Unbeaten Kansas still not getting much love around the country|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2007 06:28|
The Jayhawk juggernaut, which has trampled four overmatched opponents by a cumulative score of 214-23 and rolled up 2,211 yards of total offense, got almost no love at all from voters in this week's Associated Press poll.
When ballots were tallied, Kansas collected only six measly points - nowhere near cracking the Top 25.
So what's a team got to do to get a little national respect around here?
``I think you just have to earn it by being consistent week after week,'' coach Mark Mangino said Monday. ``The key thing is that we can't control the rankings. But we can control how we play and how we perform week after week.''
Playing a quality opponent, or at least playing away from home, would also help.
The Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team to play all four non-conference games at home, and their victims - Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo and Florida International, are a combined 3-13.
It's a schedule tailor-made to get a team bowl-eligible. And now with just two wins in Big 12 play, the Jayhawks will be. Three Big 12 victories would virtually guarantee a postseason party.
Nevertheless, pointing out that the Jayhawks have a cupcake nonconference schedule and don't leave the state until they travel to Colorado in mid-October strikes a sensitive nerve in Lawrence.
``There are a lot of people that wish they were 4-0,'' Mangino said. ``There are a lot of people that were supposed to be 4-0 that aren't.
``We're winning the games we're supposed to win. That didn't used to happen around here.''
Their receivers have a bad habit of dropping passes. And the defense could probably use a bit more speed. But finding flaws in the Jayhawks' game so far this year is about as tough as locating an empty seat in Allen Fieldhouse when Missouri is in town.
Their domination has been almost complete. They rank third nationally in scoring with 53.5 points per game. They're leading the nation in points allowed with 5.8. In only two of 16 quarters have they failed to score at least twice.
Even the special teams have gotten into the act, scoring on a punt return, a kickoff return and a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown.
Quarterback Todd Reesing has erased the sophomore record for passing yards in a game twice already. He has hit 73 of 125 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 TDs and had one interception. And he has not taken so much as one snap in the fourth quarter.
And then there's Aqib Talib.
Big, fast, strong and cocky, the all-Big 12 cornerback is making an early bid for All-America consideration.
He has caught six passes as a part-time wide receiver, including three for touchdowns. Saturday night in the latest blowout, 55-3 over Florida International, Talib broke John Hadl's 48-year-old school record with a 100-yard interception return that Mangino said was one of the best he has ever seen.
It also showed that the only thing that can slow the Jayhawks these days is the NCAA's statisticians.
Everyone could see Talib was two or three yards deep in the end zone when he intercepted the ball, but his return can't be listed as 102 or even 103 yards because the NCAA only measures yardage between the goal lines.
So just how good are these Jayhawks? Maybe in two weeks, that will start to become clear. After taking this week off, they travel to Kansas State on Oct. 6 for an 11 a.m. kickoff. It will be their first test away from home and their first chance to play on television.
``I think our program has got to prove we can play consistently well week after week,'' said Mangino. ``If we do that, we'll gain attention.''