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For my all time favorite Kansas football team it would be way too easy to say '07. Todd Reesing, Aqib Talib, Anthony Collins, Marcus Henry and Derek Fine to name a few. That was a special year for Kansas and I'm sure they will be noted by many as the favorite in today's comment section.
In the interest of being creative, different and because the team honestly represents where my Kansas football rooting interests began, I'll go with the 1995 Aloha Bowl Champion Kansas Jayhawks. In what would be the final season of the Big 8's existence and the final solid year before the eventual ushering in of the Terry Allen era, Mason and the Jayhawks would go out in style. Unfortunately for me, this was a bad time to jump aboard Kansas football.
Mason and the Jayhawks were coming off a 6-5 season and had a pretty decent roster in place. The season started strong with non conference wins over Cincinnati, North Texas, TCU and Houston. Throw that slate of games on the non-conference docket today and it might look a whole lot different.
After the 4-0 start, the Jayhawks would kick off conference play with a win in Boulder Colorado. If you weren't around or paying attention in the early 90's this was a big deal. Colorado was coming off an 11-1 season and a Fiesta Bowl win in 1994. They would finish 1995 at 10-2 and head to the Cotton Bowl. The win in Boulder opened up some eyes to the Jayhawks.
After a win over Iowa State in Lawrence, Mason and the #7 ranked Jayhawks would head to Norman to take on a the #15 ranked Sooners. The Jayhawks don't often pull off a win in Norman and while the year proved to be less than stellar for the Sooners, the win at the time looked pretty impressive on the national scene.
A week later the Jayhawks lost to rival Kansas State before rebounding with a win over my more hated rival Missouri. Living in Illinois, I cared much more about beating Missouri than I ever did K-State and that remains to this day. The loss to Nebraska the following week was expected and the Huskers would win the title at the end of the season.
A final week win over Oklahoma State put Kansas at 9-2, 5-2 in the conference which was good enough for 3rd in the Big 8. From there Mason was leaving, then he was staying, Kansas would win the Aloha Bowl and Mason would eventually bolt a year later in a flip-flop episode that made Roy Williams look decisive.
At that point, for me, it didn't matter. June Henley, LT Levine, Isaac Byrd, Mark Williams and one of my favorite Jayhawk linebackers Dick Holt had drawn me in to Kansas football. 1995 took my Kansas fandom from your classic Kansas basketball fan, to a Kansas sports fan. I've always liked the game of football more than basketball, but this was the first time in my recollection that the team and school I followed closest had gained national attention in the sport.
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