Every time that a repetitive negative event happens, the same like 3 second .WAV file of David Cross as Len Gibbons plays in my head. This comes from my favorite ever sketch in the history of sketch comedy television. At the end of a smear campaign from a competing grocery store, Len rests on the back of a pickup truck and throws a potato at the ground. Len Gibbons is a man defeated, though it’s never certain why it had to be him in the first place.
This is how I feel every time that Kansas football plays a road game. With this loss, KU has dropped 45 straight road games, dating back to 2009, dating back to when I looked like this:
September 12th, 2009 was the last time that Kansas football won a road game. That date’s going to be passed around and repeated and repeated until they win another one, which almost certainly won’t be this year. With a loss at Oklahoma State in two weeks, two full graduating classes will have passed through the University of Kansas without seeing a single road win by the Jayhawks, and there’s no sign of stopping in 2018.
This is just how it is, and how it has been. I went downtown for dinner on Saturday and the restaurant wasn’t showing the game. They were showing Mississippi State and Alabama, but not KU-Texas. I couldn’t blame them, either, it was an obvious loss and I’m not certain that it was visible outside of the Longhorn Network. I watched the second half on a YouTube stream, and I wasn’t surprised to see what I saw. At the very least, this was a normal KU road loss, not a maddening, salt-the-earth loss like Iowa State or TCU. This was a familiar sight, at least, a game where the Jayhawks never actually had a shot but at least scored a few touchdowns. At least being on a digital cable channel with a subscriber base of like 48 people spared KU most of the national media scorn.
The Texas win last year was great, but it would’ve been really nice if it hadn’t been a fluke. That was one of the most fun experiences of my life, and at the time it felt like it could’ve been one of those games that kickstarts something huge, one of those turning-point moments that you replay for years, like what Kenny Wheaton’s interception was to Oregon football. Still, the moment was meaningful on a personal level, and that was an unforgettable night. My parents had something like that, in 1984, Kansas beat Oklahoma in football but it didn’t kick off a new era of winning for them, either.
The Texas game, from here on out, will inspire nostalgia for one night rather than nostalgia for the beginning of a new era. Texas last year was an outlier. I could give a shit if David Beaty’s there next year, he’s not a good coach and he hasn’t shown signs of improvement in any facet of the program but he has a young team and maybe they’ll get better next year. Who knows? Who cares? Even if he is fired, there’s no faith that the program won’t mess the hiring of the next coach up as well, and even if that happens, it’s going to take a while for fan support to come back.
So, hey. Here we are! It’s Oklahoma next week, and at least I get to watch a Heisman candidate play football for somebody. It’s going to be a fifty point loss, but whatever.