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Fan Misery Ladder 19.6: Shell Shock Jayhawk

are you a Kansas or a Kantsas

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 Oklahoma at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the Fan Misery Ladder, where losing to Pitt isn’t a rule but it probably should be. If you are unfamiliar with the rules, you can find them here and here.

FML 19.0: Preseason

FML 19.1: Rocky Bottom

FML 19.2: The PAC Delivers

FML 19.3: This Means Something

FML 19.4: Not All Tears Are Blood

FML 19.5: Ramblin’ Wrecks

I saw Tier Five only for a moment and the moment’s gone
Crimson and Cream pass before my eyes for another TD
Dust in the wind

Part of me hesitates to make Kansas the FML team of the week, mostly because following right after Georgia Tech makes it feel like this column is punching down a lot. That is not the purpose of our dark work, but sometimes it’s just your turn.

In Lawrence it probably feels like your turn a lot. I was doing research for another piece today and was gobsmacked to remember that in 2007 Kansas went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. That was just over a decade ago and yet it feels like it happened not in another lifetime but in an alternate dimension. We love to talk about the winningest coaches and winningest programs of all time, but a quick perusal of Kansas’ yearly results makes me assume they are in the top 5 losingest programs in all the P5.

Kansas’ slow descent on the Ladder fits their lack of expectation. The Jayhawks have played football for 117 years and in that time have won 10 or more games only 3 times and they haven’t come close since Mark Mangino returned to his home planet. National relevance and I have one thing in common: neither of us has ever been to Lawrence.

OK that’s enough. Like a long haul trucker who ate at Arby’s in Topeka, we’re nihilistic and shitting all over Kansas. Let’s take a look at the big board.


HERP-A-TERP: PART DEUX Maryland muffed a kickoff, then picked it up and ran it 101 yards for a touchdown because Rutgers is a halfway house for wayward football programs before they are reintroduced to competitive society.

WEST LAFAYETTE BEST LAFAYETTE The only other double-drop of the season merits mentioning. Purdue’s engineering department continues to innovate, this time developing revolutionary technology capable of losing so quickly and efficiently that garbage time occurs in the first half of a football game. If it makes you feel any better Boilers, Penn State is currently dealing with some stuff...

THIS IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL STYLE POINTS MATTER Tennessee and Georgia Tech have pulled ahead [sic] of the pack, but in the case of a tie the voters will be looking at quality of losses. In that case the Volunteers are clear frontrunners for the Taggart. As the old saying goes, wins in January start with not practicing in June.


This topic is probably the most controversial matter of the FML: what constitutes a rivalry. The short answer is that, for purposes of this post, a game is a rivalry if I say it is. The fact is that I put more thought into this than a lot of people assume I do, I just have possibly a tighter definition of the word than most.

To me a rivalry needs history, tradition, and hate. A rivalry does not necessarily have to have relevance, conference (or theoretically even subdivision) ties, or equality. The real trick - and this is important - is that even having all of the necessary ingredients does not mean I automatically include it. To paraphrase a high ranking official, I know a rivalry when I see it.

Being in the same division of a conference does not a rivalry make. On a long enough timeline every divisional game will eventually have some sort of championship consequences. And yes, over the years you develop some sort of unique distaste for the fans of the schools you see year in and year out. A rivalry needs some sort of special spark that lets the rest of the world know that you hold each other in a special amount of contempt.

After much research, soul searching, and crowdsourcing I have decided not to include Georgia vs. Tennessee in this tier of disdain. Please respect my decision at this time (I know you won’t).