Perspective is an interesting thing, so which is it with the Chiefs—do you view them as 11-4 or as 2-4 over their last 6 games?
With the exception of the Eagles, which had yet to take form early in the season, the Chiefs really haven’t beaten a good team. Their failing at home last weekend to the Colts is especially disappointing as they still had a carrot at the end of the stick, albeit a slightly nibbled one. Now any hope of home field for the playoffs is gone, of course, considering how they played against Indy, one wonders how much difference that really makes.
The one thing that gives you hope in the NFL is that the league is very much day to day. There’s a reason that we’re familiar with the term ‘on any given Sunday’. The Chiefs, like the Ravens of a year ago, have the capacity to surprise—of course, as we found out last weekend, those surprises aren’t always good ones.
With people starting to wonder, KU reels off back to back blowouts of good opponents to head to the break with plenty of Christmas cheer. I’m not sure when it’s all said and done that Joel Embiid won’t be the most dangerous of the Jayhawks. The big fella is just starting to learn about how lethal he can be, when his confidence catches up with his potential—he’s going to be a real problem for opponents.
Kansas State had to come to Wichita to find itself. The ‘Cats win over Gonzaga changes the discussion about a team looking for a seat at the Big 12 table. Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas and OU have all have good to great moments in the non-conference, you can now add KSU to the list. Credit head coach Bruce Weber for staying the course and, apparently, finding the right mix between his veterans and rookies. Thomas Gipson has emerged as a consistent force down low and though he’s undersized by Big 12 standards—his motor makes him hard to handle. K-State is an intriguing team moving forward.
Then there were nine---
After Villanova and Syracuse meet this week there will no more than eight remaining unbeatens in college hoops. With Toledo getting ready to head to KU and Oregon traveling to Colorado that number is likely to dwindle. Wichita State is the odds on favorite to be the last one standing; no team has gone unbeaten through the regular season since St. Joseph’s ten years ago. The Hawks lost in their conference tourney before falling in the Final Four. The last team to go unbeaten for an entire season was Indiana in 1976—that people are even considering WSU for a similar run, at least through the regular season, is amazing. Trips to Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Illinois State would appear to be the biggest tests remaining, but you know that the Shocks will have a couple of games where they have to battle through a chilly night from the floor against an inspired opponent playing over its head.
Go west young man---
Ok, I’m not so young anymore, but starting Thursday I’ll be out in Arizona with Kansas State as they prepare for Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl. It’s interesting that I’m ending the year where I started it—I was on assignment with K-State at the Fiesta Bowl when I became a freelancer. The last year has been daunting, exciting, rewarding and rejuvenating in many ways. I’ve always believed that if you’re not learning—you’re dying, since I’m alive and well I can only guess that I’m continuing to expand my awareness as a journalist. This column has helped greatly in that cause, I never imagined that I would enjoy writing so much—I only hope some of it is worth reading. At any rate, thanks for sticking with me, have a happy holiday and a great new year.