One is one thing, two is another. But three is a whole nother animal, an animal almost too much to overcome. That is, if you believe in curses and such.
I, for one, don't. Curses are just a scapegoat of humanity, something to blame when things don't go as planned. Even curses as tangible as the Babe Ruth curse, something that directly impacted the team (two teams, in this case) involved in the curse, can not explain the ball going through Buckner's legs. But this is a matter for a different night, curses run way too deep throughout sports to take them down.
With that aside over, lets examine the three curses up against us. One of them is legendary, the first 'national' curse, a curse that has transcended decades. Another is a statistical oddity of this weird college football season; a random occurrence multiplied almost weekly. Of course, this takes away the 'randomness' of the occurrence, but taking a look at the data over long periods of time (read: more than one year) makes this entire year seem, well, odd. At least statistically speaking. And the last of the curses, oh, well, let's just say it is in its own category. This literally has nothing to do with anything, but when in doubt, bet against the team Lou Holtz is giving a pre-game pep talk to him.
I have savored every bit of exposure the Kansas football team has received all season, specifically the scraps coming from the MSM. So, when I heard that we were on the SI cover, the Kansas Jayhawks football team, I screamed. Only, that scream wasn't completely positive. Even me, someone who doesn't believe in curses as previously stated, the SI cover curse has its own following. While mellowing out in past years, teams on the cover do actually win games every once in awhile the following week, it is still the same cover curse to most.
Still, I don't think this one will actually have anything to do with the game. At all. Mangino is one of the best in the country at not letting his players' collective ego to get as big as his stomach (OUR COACH CAN EAT YOUR COACH!!!), and one measly cover won't impact the game.
It all started on the Versus Network, in a game that almost everyone had written off as a blowout. It was a game hardly anyone saw, partly because of the relative obscurity of the Versus Network, but mostly because of the talent differential of the two teams. Stanford was 41 point underdogs. They were expected to lose by 41 points to a team that had scored 49 the previous week playing near-flawless offensive football. But they did it, with me catching the last 5 minutes of the game. I had just come back, watched the Tivo'd Kansas-Kansas State game, and flipped around looking for a decent game. I found one, Stanford was staying with USC, down only 6. Everyone knows how the game ended, but it was only the beginning of the craziness of how the #2 team in college football played. The next week, also on the Versus Network, soon-to-be #1 California (after LSU's loss to Kentucky earlier in the day) couldn't complete a comeback at home against Oregon State and lost. Two straight weeks, the #2 team in the country lost.
Cal's replacement at #2, South Florida, fell the next Thursday night in Piscataway, New Jersey to Rutgers. Three straight weeks, three straight losses for the #2 team in America. USF's replacement at the spot, one behind the leader of the country, was Boston College. They were down 10-0 late in the 4th quarter on the road against a good Virginia Tech team, and their star Matt Ryan had played like absolute crap all night long. So of course, in the first game that wouldn't shock people across the country of the last 4 weeks involving the #2 team in the country, BC comes back and wins 14-10. THE CURSE IS BROKEN!! Or not. The very next week, BC lost. One week was plenty to break the curse, they figured, so why not just start another streak. They lost at home to Florida State, but their replacement (LSU) won the next week, then jumped up to #1 after tOSU lost to Illinois at home. Then, climbing up to the #2 spot was Oregon, the team that has looked more impressive than any the previous 4 weeks. But BAM!, Dennis Dixon goes down and they lose to Arizona.
So, starting with the Cardinal's upset of USC, there has been 7 games involving the #2 team in the country. Their record? 2-5. The only ranked team played amongst those 7 was by Boston College against Virginia Tech, a game that they came back to win. That and LSU's victory over measly Louisiana Tech remain the only wins by a #2 team in almost 2 months. Scary thought.
But impacting Armageddon at Arrowhead? Not likely. History, and what other teams have done, have meant next-to-nothing all season to these Kansas Jayhawks.
There is no explanation necessary. Just know that Lou Holtz gives a pep talk weekly to a team he thinks he needs it, and has done so since Opening Weekend. His record sucks, it is like 2-9. Seriously.
But just enjoy and watch, it is actually one of his better ones (I'm biased though)...
EDIT: I can't figure out this whole ESPN-video-post thing, so I'll just give you the link and let you watch it. Sorry.
So, basically, the curses are stacked up against us. But curses mean jack in sports, in my estimation, and whether we walk under ladders or not before the game, we will beat Misery.
Preview-ness coming tomorrow.