Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Column: Football teams disappoint fan

October 12, 2006

To say that this football season has been a disappointment would be an understatement, because it's been awful for me as a fan.

I'm not just talking about the two local teams. Oh, no, they have been some of the bright spots so far. The two biggest letdowns have been the University of Kansas and the Oakland Raiders.

I don't even know where to start with the Raiders, because they are such a mess. Kansas City Chiefs' fans, which include many people around the area, are probably laughing at their rival Raiders every Sunday. I know I love to laugh when the Chiefs are bad, but Oakland is much worse than bad.

I have been a life-long Raiders fan, which hasn't been easy since I grew up in Baldwin City. It also hasn't been easy since they were not a very good team for many of the years I can remember.

They had a few good years early in the decade, but that's about it. But now they are horrible. They have become the laughing stock of the NFL, which used to belong to the Arizona Cardinals or Cincinnati Bengals.

Oakland began the season with a new coach and quarterback. I thought the Raiders might improve from their five wins last year, but that thought is long gone.

Their quarterback, Aaron Brooks, is slightly hurt and was playing like a college freshman in the NFL game. His replacement, Andrew Walter, is young and has a good arm. He has played decent, but the lack of protection from the offensive line has left him beat and battered.

Meanwhile, coach Art Shell remains motionless on the sideline, not speaking a word. You would think a coach that is 0-4 would be doing some yelling. I know I would be.

The Raiders have a couple of games that they can win to avoid going 0-16, but my hopes aren't too high. Maybe they will get the No. 1 pick in the draft and select a running back -- just a suggestion.

Well, Oakland has been a disaster, but KU isn't too far behind. The Jayhawks are 3-3, but should be at least 5-1, if not 6-0 right now.

Once again, KU's offense is struggling this year. It has shown signs of being good, especially at Nebraska two weeks ago. But, then the Jayhawks couldn't move the ball late in the game Saturday to ensure a victory.

KU began the season 2-0 before losing in double overtime at Toledo. KU gift-wrapped the game with turnovers, including two in the extra periods.

Then, the Jayhawks beat South Florida to become 3-1. Their next game was at Nebraska, which should have been a loss, but not the way I predicted.

KU fell behind 17-0 early, but battled back to force overtime after several turnovers again. Nebraska won in overtime, forcing KU fans to wonder if their Jayhawks can win a close game.

Then came Saturday's homecoming game against the Texas A&M Aggies. The Jayhawks led the entire game and they weren't turning the ball over. With five minutes left KU had the ball with a five-point lead. At this point, I headed out of my car and into Baker's Liston Stadium to catch the beginning of the Wildcats' game.

I found out later that the Aggies scored a touchdown to win the game. I was so frustrated as a fan, because KU can't win close games against a good team.

The Jayhawks should be 5-1 for sure, but could easily be 6-0. This was their year to win games, because they don't play Big 12 conference powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma.

KU has to beat Oklahoma State at home this Saturday or the Jayhawk fans will start becoming anxious for basketball, if they haven't already.

I will keep cheering my Jayhawks and Raiders on, despite their disappointing seasons. I just hope the Bulldogs or Wildcats give me something to cheer about in the next few weeks.

See you at Liston Friday.

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