Friday, October 3, 2014

Kansas Jayhawks Football Game 5: Mutiny on the Kaw


Bowen as Gable and Weis as Laughton? The second part fits.
So, it’s week one, game one of the Clint Bowen era at Kansas, after Charlie Weis was fired on Sunday after a 6-22 mark. The Jayhawks open with Bowen as head man in Morgantown Saturday against West Virginia (3pm CT, Fox Sports Net). Both teams are 2-2 and 0-1 in Big 12 play. And that’s about where the similarities end.

As an interim coach, the expectations are always pretty low. It always feels like a mutiny at sea. If things got so bad that the crew revolted against the captain and tossed him overboard to the sharks, then the fact that the boat made it to any port seemed like some sort of victory. And it seems to me that when there was one mutiny on the high seas, a second mutiny was not too far behind that tried to restore the captain to his former powers (or, in the captain-to-the-sharks scenario, a first mate or the highest remaining crew member that wasn’t part of mutiny number one).

It’s about the same thing for interim college football coaches. KU could lose every game the rest of the season by 45 points and the media/fans/alumni will shrug their shoulders and say, well, what was Bowen going to do? The KU athletic department mutinied and threw the football coach overboard, leaving the helm to a guy who hasn’t been a college football head coach before. He might get the boat to port so the crew can avoid dying of scurvy (i.e., one conference win somewhere), but if the crew continues to complain about where the ship is going (this one is fairly self-explanatory), then he’ll get put under the same scrutiny that the original captain was. Although in a college football situation, it is exceedingly rare to then fire the interim head coach and replace him with an interim interim head coach. I don’t know if that’s even happened. But if it happens anywhere, it’ll be Kansas. Yay, Jayhawks.

But to get rid of Bowen during the season, no matter what happens in the next nine games, would be a dreadful mistake. He’s a Lawrence native who wanted to be KU’s football coach from the time he was a small boy. That dream only intensified when he played linebacker for Glen Mason in the early 90’s. To ditch him would result in a mutiny by any remaining season ticket holders and fans. The band would show up to the remaining games because they kind of have to, but they might be the only people in the stadium. Actually, the KU band is of its own mind and might mutiny as well. (I am a KU band alum as well, so I give them credit to stand up for such things.)

Because I’m reasonably certain they’re going to get beaten badly on Saturday. Bowen could every motivational tactic he has and get them psyched up as much as possible and they would still be a terrible football team taking on a team that averages 401 passing yards a game, 3rd in the country. However, when mutinies happen at sea, there’s a definite spark in morale and going about the same exact tasks that made people want to mutiny in the first place, because now there’s a new captain that the mutineers feel is listening and responding to their needs. Captain Bowen, whether they listen and stay motivated is up to you.      

Any mention of Clint means a gratuitous pic of Julie. No mutiny required
 Photos courtesy: filmaffinity.com, usmagazine.com

PS- if you're confused by the headline, Lawrence (the home of KU) is on the Kansas River, commonly called the Kaw