Inside Jayhawk Nation

September 21, 2009 2:25 AM

Respect Won't Come for KU Until October

Fair or not, no one outside of Kansas will give the Jayhawk football team any respect.

Look at these numbers:

  • Outscored opponents 127-26 en route to a 3-0 start.

  • One of only four teams in the Big XII still undefeated.

  • Top two running backs Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum averaging more than five yards per carry and have eight touchdowns between them.

  • Quarterback Todd Reesing averaging 267 yards passing and two touchdowns per game.

  • Defense is only allowing 8.7 points per game.

All of those are pretty impressive numbers. However, national pundits are only looking at one stat: who the 'Hawks have played. Northern Colorado, UTEP, and Duke don't exactly have voters putting a "one" next to Kansas on the ballot.

So, it's understandable the Jayhawks aren't in the top-10 in either poll. However, they are better than the 19th ranked team (Coaches' Poll) or 20th ranked team (AP poll). As Duke head coach David Cutliffe said after his team fell 44-16 Saturday to the Jayhawks, "They are much better than the 22nd-ranked team."

But when sports fans think Jayhawks, they think basketball. "KU won the 2007 Orange Bowl," Jayhawk fans say. "They didn't even deserve to be there," opponents say.

In reality, they probably didn't. However, KU was there and they defeated a "powerful' east coast team in Virginia Tech. Come back to 2009, after the Hawks went 8-5 a year ago, and you have to stay up until the waining minutes of SportsCenter to maybe catch one highlight of a KU game.

However, when Oct. 24 rolls around, everyone will be talking about the Jayhawks. That is because they will be lining up across the field from mighty Oklahoma. Yes, OU has a loss, but even at home, KU will be the underdog. A loss will bring out all the nay-sayers, and a victory will thrust KU into the national spotlight.

Even if the Jayhawks come in at 6-0, seven will be the magic number. A win there, and Reesing will become a household name on the east coast.

Of course, those in Durham, N.C., already know him pretty well. Not only did he torch the Blue Devils for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards Saturday, his only other scholarship offer came from Duke.

Reesing and company don't seemed to be bothered by where the team is ranked -- they have been dealing with being underanked for the past three years. They just keep plugging along, waiting for their moment at the top. Teams like Washington and BYU have shown anyone can be beaten. The question for KU reamains: Which top team will they actually beat?

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