Before we get too wild and crazy let's remember that right now Kansas sits 3-6 with three games to go against three ranked teams. Odds are that the Jayhawks will be a big time underdog in each of those, and a win in any would likely qualify as just about as shocking as what happened yesterday in Lawrence.
That said, what happened yesterday in Lawrence was EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. To recap: an opening game loss to North Dakota State sends all expectations out the window. A miraculous turnaround against Georgia Tech revitalizes hope. A three game conference skid with a combined point differential of 159-24 left most wondering if there was even any fight left in the tank.
Saturday in Lawrence represented an opportunity to show what was left in the tank, build on a little momentum from a decent showing against Iowa State and head into the last quarter of the season and the subsequent offseason with something to build on.
When the Buffaloes from Colorado and the Jayhawks led by Turner Gill took to the field on Saturday both teams were searching for answers. From the start it appeared Colorado would be the one finding them. Kansas fell into the same old patterns and a 35-10 halftime deficit seemed to signal the same old result.
What's interesting about Saturday and the way things unfolded is that it almost feels now like it was necessary for Kansas to accomplish what they did in the fashion they did. Beating Colorado in itself isn't necessarily a tremendous triumph. Beating Colorado because you didn't give up, you fought for every second and you mounted the greatest comeback in school history, that's a triumph.
The Jayhawks made people take notice on Saturday. Not in a we should fear Kansas sort of way, but a few eyebrow were raised in reaction to the thought; "Kansas did what"? They made their own fans, myself included, eat a few words. They made fans around the Big 12 take note of the fact that perhaps Turner Gill is starting to get a little bit of the buy in and culture change that he's aiming for. A win against Colorado doesn't change the fact that Kansas is still sitting near the bottom of the Big 12 overnight, but maybe it starts to build some much needed momentum.
In trying to avoid the over-reactionary tendency that comes with a win like this it's important to remember that there is still a long way to go. But on Saturday a Kansas team with a quarter of the players on the current two deep boasting a freshman or redshirt freshman eligibility status, the Jayhawks needed a catalyst and they might have gotten it.
A comeback like this one does so many things at this moment that could prove critical. From a fanbase standpoint, Jayhawk faithful were starting to lose that faith. Any initial vows of patience for Turner Gill were quickly pushed aside with embarrassing defeats early. Still the reported attendance was fairly strong at 40,000. No doubt it dwindled based on the start, but the finish gives people a reason to hope and a reason to return.
For the team, the game has the chance to act as a catalyst. A spark that brings a group that's been through some pretty tough times closer together. A spark that could provide some actual substance to the believe mantra that Gill preaches and a spark of confidence for players like Toben Opurum, Tyler Patmon and James Sims who all played critical roles in the comeback as underclassman.
For the staff, you hope this means more buy in. You hope it means a corner is being turned. If the culture change and the adjustment is truly as dramatic as Coach Gill has led us to believe, it would seem that he's creeping closer to reaching this team and that is exactly what everyone wants to see.
The funny thing about today is that many have said it's not about wins and losses. The only request has been to play hard, represent the University with some pride, fight till the end and show improvement. When we closed the deficit to one score I was satisfied as a fan with what I was listening to. The players had fought back, the team hadn't quit and it felt like parts of what made us competitive in the first half against Iowa State were carrying over. Improvement?
Thankfully, the team was not satisfied because what we ended up with was another memorable day in Lawrence.