Vernon: Current three-year era of Jayhawk football worst in history

Three, two, one.

This is not a countdown to zero. This is the number of wins the Kansas football team has had in each of (my) three years at Kansas. In case math isn’t your strong suit, that’s a total of six wins in three seasons.

Which leads me to the question: Have we witnessed the worst stretch of football in Kansas history?

I believe the answer is yes.

I doubt this comes as a shock to you, but Kansas football has been through some pretty rough periods before.

How about in the mid-’20s, when Kansas won six games in the three seasons between 1924-1926? Surely this is worse than the team’s current circumstances. I think not, for a couple of reasons. One, because college football is a totally different game now, which I’ll get to shortly. Two, because

Kansas didn’t finish last in its conference, two of those three years in the ’20s.

Between 1953-1956, the Jayhawks won a total of eight games with a coaching change in the middle. Still, Kansas managed to have three conference wins during that stretch. Kansas has only had one in the last three years.

The best argument for the worst stretch in Jayhawk football history(outside of the current one) comes in the three seasons between 1986-1988.  Former coach Bob Valesente led the Jayhawks for two Turner Gill–esque seasons, winning four total games before getting fired. He went 0-13-1 in the Big 8.

Glen Mason stepped in to replace Valesente in 1988 and won one game in his first season before taking the Jayhawks to two bowl games in nine seasons.

In those three years, Kansas went 5-27-1.

From a pure record standpoint, that is the worst three-year era in Kansas football history. But when you take the current context of college athletics into account, the record doesn’t matter quite as much.

Because of potential conference realignment and the University’s fragile state in the Big 12, this is the worst possible time for Kansas football to bomb.

And it has bombed.

In the past three seasons, Kansas has suffered through a scoring margin of 17.25, 19.75 and 17.833 respectively. That’s right: Weis’s first season has been statistically worse for the Jayhawks than Turner Gill’s was. However, Gill had a team full of Mangino players on his side.

Feel confident Kansas is getting better? Charlie Wies, an offensive coach and the offensive coordinator of the team, oversees an offense that ranked 115th in the country in points per game. There are 120 FBS programs.

Some of that is the players’ fault; some of that is Weis’. Would Kansas have been better with former quarterback Jordan Webb, who transferred to Colorado this year? Most likely.

Yes, Kansas football is currently the nail getting slammed by a hammer. But there’s only one way to go, right? It has to get better, right?

Like I said, I wasn’t counting down to zero, and I don’t expect to, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get there.

  • Updated Dec. 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm
  • Edited by Christy Khamphilay