Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Column: Jayhawks, Longhorns highlight week

January 12, 2006

In case anyone missed it, the last eight days have been great for University of Kansas basketball fans and Big 12 conference fans, both of which I am.

It all started Jan. 3, when I had tickets to the KU basketball game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse against Yale. I know it wasn't the greatest game to go to, but I got the family tickets to the Georgia Tech game last year, so I wasn't able to acquire great tickets this year.

Nonetheless, I had tickets to a KU game. I left work and headed up to Allen Fieldhouse, which is the greatest college basketball arena in the country. I arrived early enough to watch some warm-ups and relax and take in the atmosphere.

The new scenery this year is the scoreboard that now shows videos and replays, instead of goofy cartoon animation. I had been told to watch the screen right before the line-ups were announced, so, of course, I did.

Nothing happened. For some reason the video that is usually shown, didn't work that night. I was a little bummed, but the game was about to start. I got my drink that would be needed to keep me hydrated as I tend to yell a bit.

I watched the entire game and saw KU struggle early on but end up blowing Yale out 87-46. I was disappoionted when thousands of people left the game with six minutes left in the game though. I have never left a KU game early and never plan to.

I would go to every basketball game at KU if I could, just to be a part of the history and tradition, but I can't. So, I take my one or two games a year and cherish them.

Throughout the game I kept wondering what the score of another game was that night. About a week before the game, I realized that I had tickets to a KU game the same night as the Rose Bowl and NCAA football championship.

Whoops! That was the wrong night for me to go watch KU.

I managed to accept that I had already planned to attend the KU game and would do so. When the Jayhawks finally won, I left the game and hurried to my apartment. I arrived at halftime of the Rose Bowl with Texas leading USC 16-10, I was happy.

I sat on my couch and watched the rest of that incredible game. I was cheering for the Longhorns for several reasons.

I will usually cheer for Big 12 schools, unless it's Missouri. I don't like USC or its coach, Pete Carroll. Third and finally, I am a huge Vince Young fan. I thought he should have won the Heisman, but I guess that helped fuel his motivation.

Every time Texas had a good play, I flashed the Hook 'Em Horns sign at the television, as if I was at the game. I yelled and screamed for Texas, hoping it would help them.

When Young scrambled in for a touchdown in the third quarter, after running over a USC defender, I laughed and wondered why anyone would try to tackle him by grabbing one ankle.

Young is a stud. He is comparable to a horse, if that's possible. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs more than 230 pounds. He is solid muscle and is as fast or faster than most college football players.

I must say I began to get worried in the game when Texas trailed 38-26 with less than seven minutes in the game. But Young drove his team down and scored to make his team down 38-33.

Then came the crucial drive when USC was stopped on a fourth down attempt near midfield. A first down would have won the game, but the stop gave Texas and Young one last chance to win the game with two minutes remaining.

Young simply drove his team down the field as calm and collective as he always is. Then, on a fourth down attempt in the final seconds, Young ran 14 yards to score the winning touchdown.

I jumped up off the couch and started celebrating. I was screaming and going crazy, just as much as many Longhorn fans probably were.

The game ended three plays later and Texas won 41-38. I was so excited and relieved that USC didn't win another championship. It was a great night, but the week was not over yet for me.

On Saturday, the Jayhawks welcomed the Kentucky Wildcats to town in a much-anticipated match up. I rolled out of bed around 10:45 a.m.; just in time for the 11 a.m. tip off.

I once again took my spot on the couch and sat back and watched a great basketball game. KU jumped on the Wildcats early and never looked back.

The Jayhawks pressured Kentucky into turnovers and converted those into points. Kentucky fan and actress Ashley Judd attended the game, but I bet she was wishing she stayed home as KU won 73-46.

That game was the one many of us fans had been waiting to see from the young and talented Jayhawk squad. I just now hope they continue to play that well as the Big 12 season started Wednesday at Colorado.

I must say this has been one of the best weeks of my life when it comes to collegiate sports. I am sad Young will be heading to the NFL, but at least Big 12 teams can breathe easier now. But now it's college basketball time, so get ready for March Madness, it will be here before you know it.

Rock Chalk Jayhawks, go KU!

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