Game week is long and hard, tense with anticipation of the weekend's sweet release, and never more so than during conference play. That's why we're here, scraping and clawing our way over that midweek ridge so you can start the smooth coast toward kickoff with a better understanding of what awaits you at the bottom. This week's guest is fetch13 from the basketball and ornithology fansite Rock Chalk Talk.
Welcome. I'd like to begin with what I hope is a therapeutic exercise.
For a moment, imagine that I'm Charlie Weis. I have been a catastrophic failure in every sense of the word, having spent parts of three seasons utterly destroying every shred of respectability your football program had mustered to the point of my hiring. I went an almost unfathomable 1-18 in conference, earning roughly eleven million dollars per Big 12 victory, the checks for which I will still be cashing through Christmas next year. In the place of a functional roster, I somehow left only my smug, deluded estimation of self-worth and a pile of Golden Corral receipts.
Say whatever you need to say to me. Go ahead. This is a safe place.
Before this exercise I thought I was going to either play the role of the straight man or try to give bland boring answers as some sort of weird twitter/meta comedy, but Jesus Christ that first question threw that out the window. First of all I got the email that he was going to get the job from someone else at SB Nation during a final, so when I checked it (after) and yelled fuck as loud as I could I can only imagine people thought I failed the test.
Turner Gill was bad but one thing he did reasonably well was identify talent from the high school ranks. To wit, Seth Russell, better known as a Heisman candidate until his unfortunate injury, was a KU commit until whoops Charlie Weis decided he wanted Dayne Crist instead. Then, he proceeded to tell everyone how we were going to be more like Kansas State by bringing in a bunch of JuCos, overlooking the fact that 1. we don't want to be Kansas State and 2. you have to put in a lot of legwork and get super lucky to build a team off JuCos. He put in no legwork and wasn't lucky. He somehow managed to take a roster with actual NFL talent on it, and the talent to maybe win 5ish or 6 games if everything broke right and won 2 games.
The Big 12 is a tough league, but you shouldn't win 1 conference game. You also shouldn't decimate the program to the point where we won't be at the full scholarship limit for multiple seasons. It became painfully obvious very quickly that he didn't give a fuck about recruiting or coaching at the division 1 level, and just wanted everyone to think he was super smart. His only recruiting pitch was saying if you couldn't start on this team, you probably sucked. as you can imagine, that didn't exactly endear him to his current roster who pretty much quit on him. I'm not going to add what I really want to say because I don't want karma to come back on me but I know I won't shed a tear when I don't have to think about that pile of shit anymore.
It's uncomfortable when you talk about me like I'm not here, but I acknowledge your anger, and I respect your feelings.
[removes Charlie Weis mask]
That felt good. I think this sort of unburdening is so critical to what we're trying to accomplish here, namely having a dialog about two mediocre-to-terrible football teams playing each other this weekend. With that done, tell me about your new coach, David Beaty. Ignoring short term results, what's the feeling on his approach and the direction he's taking the Jayhawks?
I like him so far. It sure seems like we have found a quarterback, which is the biggest thing, and there have been some guys like Tyler Patrick and Ty Miller who have stepped up as freshmen. Patrick's other FBS offers were Air Force and Louisiana Monroe and we beat out basically the MAC for Miller. Both guys look like legitimate Big 12 players (with Miller maybe being one of the best corners in the league by the time he's done), which is development we didn't really see earlier. A lot of our best players are young guys, and they're just not ready for the rigors of power 5 football. Really they should be redshirting or at best depth guys on a good team, but because of the aforementioned dumbass known as Charlie Weis they have to play big roles.
I can't say I follow or know a ton about football recruiting, but based on who the staff has offered so far it seems like they can identify where the biggest weakspots on the team are (cue: "football players" jokes)
A preist, a rabbi and the Kansas offensive line walk into a ba—
and he knows basically everyone worth knowing in Texas high school football, so that's a big help. I also think he's good at identifying talent in the coaching ranks, as our offensive coordinator Rob Likens probably will be snatched up by someone better fairly soon. I also think that when we get beat this year it's more just due to not having the horses rather than any type of giving up or Xs and Os deficiencies (to a point) which is sadly a positive for us.
My biggest complaint is some of his strategy calls. He punts a lot on 4th and short, even from the opponents' side of the field, and kicks field goals when it doesn't make any sense and when we don't have a good enough kicker to kick anything other than an extra point (and even that is an adventure). Still, I hope like crazy that my biggest complaint in 5 years is that he does dumb stuff on 4th down. Overall though I think I'm optimistic about the future. It seems like he'll be able to identify talent and be able to get talent to campus.
—says "that's not a duck, it's our quarterback!"
So. In the nascent portion of a third straight rebuild and basketball season starting up, fans can pretty easily be forgiven for ignoring a winless football team, if only for their own emotional well-being. To what extent is anyone invested in the team right now? And for them, what does success look like over the rest of this season?
I think most people are ready to move on to basketball season (obviously) and more pertinent to football, just kinda turn the page and move to next season. I think most rational people realized it would be really ugly thanks to the scholarship situation and how young we were going to be this year. Hopefully we can get some recruits in and uncover a couple worthy starters each year as well as some depth, then get our walkon program going for special teams as well as the occasional diamond in the rough and within a few years be competitive again. I think success for this season is really just showing some reasons to be excited for the next couple years. I think with Willis and some of the other guys, as well as some of the assistants brought in, we might have something to work with.
Texas is a completely schizophrenic team at this point, and you could convince me of almost any possible outcome for any of the remaining games, up to and including a game-sealing turnover involving a meteor strike. What do you realistically think the chances are that Kansas grabs a conference win this weekend, and how do you see the Jayhawks attacking Texas?
What is attacking? We suck. We are bad. We worse than suck. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when Jerry tells Elaine "You're beyond stink" when she can't dance? That's us. We won't attack you, we won't defend you. Just don't worry about it.
Your reverse psychology and mind games won't work on me, buddy. OK, let's assume that you have complete autonomy over the existing rosters of all athletics programs at Kansas. Congratulations! Also, thanks so much for agreeing to talk with us; you're by far the most prominent interviewee we've had to date. Which players from the basketball team would be immediate upgrades over a starter on the football team, and how much of the roster would you replace? I kind of need to see at least Landen Lucas out there doing work.
First off, for my ego's sake I am going to pretend you mean me as the writer is your most prominent interviewee and not me complete overlord of KU athletics. Of course the latter might just be you peeking into the future.
Unlike the point plankn days, I dont think this basketball team quite has the fight in it to have too much success on the football field. That said, I'd like to see what Jamari Traylor could do as a DE/OLB hybrid. I would say tight end but his hands are awful so he has to play defense. He's pretty ripped and also really agile for his size, so he'd be an interesting guy out there. Lucas could definitely play center or something. He's not super athletic or agile but you just can't move him. Actually given our line play he might come in and start right away. Frank Mason supposedly got recruited by West Virginia to play safety, but I think he'd make a better running back given how good he is with a basketball in his hands. Lastly, we totally need a kicker. This might be stereotyping but Svi Mykhailiuk is from Ukraine and they are pretty good at soccer so he must be able to kick.
Honestly, if a 6'8" athlete named Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has never kicked a soccer ball and/or violently hip-checked someone clean out of their skates, then Ukraine is in even worse shape than we've been lead to believe.
We've arrived at the point where I would ask for a score prediction, but no one cares about that, so we're going to proceed directly to the LIGHTNING BONUS ROUND. Your avatar is Kelly Kapowski, which is fine and good, sure. HOWEVER. I would argue that Saved By The Bell itself is not just monumentally overrated, it is completely unwatchable garbage. Refute my sensible position, if you are able.
Do they play a lot of hockey in Ukr.....wait what about Saved by the Bell? You asshole. It is a seminal television show for kids growing up in whatever era that show aired originally. From "hey if you drive drunk the only thing that will happen is you run into the ditch and your friends parents will get a little mad so drink away" to "there's no hope with dope," this show really had its priorities straight. Also, from Zach and Kelly growing up to get married, to a school letting a student not let another student who is a star athlete play in a game before he finishes a test, to a school nurse agreeing to fake seduce a student, this show had realism down cold.
In all seriousness though, the show was fantastic. It followed cliche sitcom tempo to the letter with almost no deviation and as such we could always discern the twist and the conclusion before they happened. it was almost a test to see how much they could get away with before someone asked for something that actually made you think and that's why we got the Tori theory and other assorted SBTB conspiracy theories. My personal favorite is that Zach is really some sort of god. Think about it. He gets himself into all of these ridiculous situations for fun but nothing ever happens to him. He screws with other people but is hailed as a hero. And he can stop time. That one is sort of important. Another one that sort of ties into that is Zach either is dreaming the whole series or he died right after Good Morning Miss Bliss because GMMB takes place in Indiana but all of a sudden he and Screech are living in California. Not to mention Zach mentions growing up with Jessie when Jessie didn't grow up in remotely the same area of the country as Zach.
Anyway that's a lot of rambling but basically the show is fantastic and you should watch it for the plot holes alone.
Counterpoint: the 90's were a trash heap, and Saved By The Bell was the foundation.
Thanks for joining us!