Unfortunately, we've all seen how poorly the Jayhawks have competed against real Division I football schools this fall. We've heard the phrase "historically bad" tossed around more than we'd like. Along those lines, how would they fare against fictional teams from the past?
Rudy is based on the 1975 Notre Dame football team that went 8-3 and famously deployed its walk-on players from time to time, so long as the crowd chanted their name loud enough and the rest the team threatened to mutiny. The '75 Fighting Irish went 8-3, only allowed 13 points per game, and had friggin' Joe Montana as its backup QB, so this game could be problematic for the Jayhawks.
Notre Dame's ball-control offense sets the tone early with a couple of touchdowns, and their lockdown defense holds KU to only two first downs in the first half. The Irish tack on a couple more scores early in the second half, and the rout is on. It takes until 5 minutes remain in third quarter before Kansas crosses midfield, and by that time the backups and walk-ons are getting some serious run. Montana throws a couple of touchdowns. Rudy picks up 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble, but he doesn't get carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders in this one. Mostly, the starters are just bored by the end of the game. Notre Dame 48, Kansas 7.
Quick synopsis, since this isn't the most popular movie ever, and I've only watched it so many times because Kathy Ireland was my steez when I was ten years old: The Texas State Fightin' Armadillos are basically forced to start a program from scratch after a massive scandal (what up SMU death penalty) removes all the former players and coaches from the team. No scholarships are allowed to be awarded, and Quantum Leap-era Scott Bakula, at 34 years old in the movie and looking at least 45 in real life, wins the starting QB job in tryouts. Hilarity ensues. "Ohh boy."
Obviously, Texas State was terrible most the season, and normally, I'd think about having KU favored in this game-- especially since I'm hesitant to be worried about any football team that employs Jason Bateman in any role besides "Wisecracking Special Teams Coach." But here's the kicker (speaking of kickers, one more shout-out to Ireland, who they brought up from the women's soccer team to handle kicking duties and rock the midriff-baring shirt, short shorts and long socks look): The Armadillo's "breakthrough" game comes late in the season, a 3-3 tie in monsoon conditions, against none other than...the University of Kansas.
Now, the 1990 Jayhawks went 3-7-1. The 2015 Jayhawks were much worse than that. So, using the Little League Baseball Transitive Property of Score Predicting, this year's team would have to lose to Texas State. It's just math. The game is a low-scoring affair, due mostly to the fact that Texas State's main offensive threat is Scott Bakula throwing passes to Jason Bateman, and Sinbad plays a badass defensive tackle and single-handedly shuts down KU's running game. Oh, did I forget to mention Sinbad plays for Texas State? My bad.
Late in the 4th quarter, Kansas finally breaks through with a touchdown pass from Ryan Willis to Tre Parmalee. However, the extra point is shanked, because, ya know, KU's kicking game. Bakula storms down the field with a beautiful two-minute drill, and Texas State scores as time expires to tie the game. An excessive celebration penalty and a series of false starts turns the extra point into a 50-yarder, but it ain't no thang for supermodel extraordinaire Kathy Ireland. She splits the uprights to clinch the game, and celebrates the win with schooners at Louise's West with me and my friends-- I'll absolutely ditch the Jayhawks and pretend to be a 'Dillos fan for Ms. Ireland. Long story short, I'm googling divorce lawyers the next morning. Texas State 7, Kansas 6.
HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION:
We'll roll with the movie premise, wherein Paul Walker blows out the entire lower half of his body in a gruesome injury, and James Van Der Beek steps in as QB1. This, of course, ruins Van Der Beek's plans of sitting on the sidelines and hiding Kurt Vonnegut novels inside his playbook during games all season, but them's the breaks. I'm sure Michael Cummings and Montell Cozart would gladly trade places with you, Dawson.
Early on, the Jayhawks don't have much of a problem putting up yards and points on a fairly nondescript West Canaan defense, but can't totally shut down an explosive offense that features Van Der Beek, running back Eliel Swinton (did anyone know that dude briefly played for the Chiefs in real life? I sure didn't) and the uncoverable Scott Caan in the "Wes Welker, only somehow seven inches shorter" slot receiver role.
KU leads 31-14 at the half, but the Coyotes run the eeeevil head coach Bud Kilmer from the locker room straight into retirement during the intermission, and everything changes. Paul Walker throws on the headset and immediately installs his version of the Run & Shoot offense (aptly named 2 Fast 2 Furious). West Canaan storms back, and the game ends tragically for the 'Hawks when the 400-pound concussed offensive lineman scores on a hook-and-ladder as time expires while a Foo Fighters club banger blares in the background. West Canaan Coyotes 41, Kansas 38. THERE GOES MY HE-ROOOOOOOO! WATCH HIM AS HE GOES!!!!!
Friday Night Lights (TV version)
We're using the TV version of the Dillon Panthers, since the only thing the movie version had that was better was Boobie Miles (I'll listen to arguments on creepy drunk Tim McGraw, however). And we're using Season 1, with pre-paralyzed Jason Street starting at QB. Look, I love Michael B. Jordan as much as the next guy, but the Dillon Panthers were absolutely a better football team the first couple of seasons, before the show tried to turn into The Wire: Except Now There's Football! in seasons 4 and 5.
Now, I know that this isn't exactly a rare phenomenon in sports movies, but even by those standards, Coach Taylor is a really, really horrible coach early on in games. His teams are almost never ready to play mentally, and virtually every Friday night, the game plan has to be completely scrapped in the second half, because it's not working at all. What are you guys eating for pregame meals? Who's in charge of advanced scouting? Did Landry accidentally murder the guy that was in charge of delivering the game tapes of your opponents? I won't deny that Coach Taylor gets me fired up with his halftime speeches, but maybe if Dillon was better prepared in the first 30 minutes, he wouldn't have to bust out the inspirational theatrics and the Explosions in the Sky soundtrack every game. Some coaches like to live on the edge, I guess. It's still probably less frustrating than Andy Reid.
True to form, Dillon struggles early, and KU jumps out to a quick 17-0 lead. Cue halftime speech, cue "Your Hand in Mine", cue the second-half rally. Behind the dynamic backfield of Smash Williams and Tim Riggins, Dillon takes a 21-17 lead with less than a minute to play. The sideline celebration is interrupted when Kansas takes the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown and a 24-21 lead. Don't worry though, Dillon fans, there's still 27 seconds left-- more than enough time for a 12-play drive that has only three completed passes, one of them being a successful 60-yard hail mary as time expires (even though Dillon had advanced it to KU's 30-yard line the previous play).
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Dillon Panthers 28, Kansas 24.
Remember the Titans
A monstrous defensive line. A two-headed quarterback that can run the option or throw deep equally well. Turk from Scrubs at running back. The huge kid from Boy Meets World and American History X anchoring the offensive line. Ryan Gosling in the secondary (OK, maybe not that one). This team is loaded, and we haven't even covered the "Denzel Mothereffing Washington is our Head Coach" factor. Fun fact: My family moved out of the D.C. suburbs when I was in kindergarten, but if we had stayed, I likely would have attended the high school this movie was based on, and would have been a senior at said high school when this movie was released. Senior Prom would have been a blast. Instead I grew up in North Dakota, and we were just happy it was above 50 degrees, so the girls didn't have to wear jackets to Grand March. LEFT SIDE! STRONG SIDE!
T.C. Williams High School 21, Kansas 10.
Auburn '83 in Bill Walsh College Football for Sega Genesis
It's basically an indisputable fact that the Tecmo Bowl version of Bo Jackson is the most unstoppable video game athlete of all time. It's well-documented and well-deserved. However, don't sleep on the Bo version from Bill Walsh College Football. It's basically the early-90's Madden games, except college football, and you could select classic teams, hence the Auburn '83 squad. You could simply choose Triple Option Left, Triple Option Right, Triple Option Left, Triple Option Right all the way down the field every possession, and Kansas would have no chance. Using 5-minute quarters, Bo runs for 832 yards and 9 touchdowns. Auburn '83 63, Kansas 28.
Ebay search for "college football starting lineup figures"
We all know what Starting Lineups were, right? I know they accounted for at least 60% of my allowance expenditures from 1988-1993. And of course, rather than saving them in a box, or trying to sell them later when they might have been worth something, I dumped most of them for pennies on the dollar at a garage sale when I was in high school. Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bills y'all. Anyway, going off the top search results, here's some of the notable players Kansas would be going up against:
QB: Danny Weurffel, Doug Flutie
RB: Marcus Allen, Barry Sanders
WR: Desmond Howard, Paul Hornung
Defense: Charles Woodson, Ndamukong Suh
I don't even care how we fill the other positions. We can use some backup RB's as defensive backs-- oh hi Rashaan Salaam, Eddie George, Tony Dorsett and Archie Griffin. Bo can play linebacker. Roger Staubach and Earl Campbell can handle the offensive line, they were some tough S.O.B's. And we can pull people off the street to plug the other spots. It won't matter with those skill position players. Ebay All-Stars 77, Kansas 20. (And if we use the actual human beings instead of the miniature figurines, the final score is probably even worse).
Yeah, I know the Little Giants were a bunch of misfit 6th graders, but I bet they score on at least one of those gadget plays they draw up, and you have to admit, the combination of Icebox and Devon Sawa is better than, say, the kids from Home Improvement or something. (Unrelated, but I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention that Icebox grew up, and she is now one of the hottest women on the planet. Fire up your google machines). I guess what I'm saying is, this game won't be as easy for the Jayhawks as it should be, considering that the aforementioned Sawa is the only guy on the team that has even contemplated embarking on that thrilling, confusing ride that we call puberty. But a win is a win is a win, and we desperately need to end on a good note. Kansas 35, Little Giants 14.
OK, I guess they were right. The 2015 Kansas Jayhawks were, in fact, historically bad at football.