With Trevor Lawrence out due to coronavirus and top-ranked Clemson needing a furious comeback from an 18-point halftime deficit to avoid being upset at home and beat Boston College, 34-28, we can put aside for a moment that classic silly question of whether the Tigers beat the New York Jets.
That question gets asked all the time when there’s a dominant college team and a completely inept pro one, and the answer is always a flat no. The professionals are professionals, and the college team is made up of college kids. The Clemson/Jets iteration had a little bit of intrigue, as Lawrence could well be New York’s quarterback next year, not to mention that Dabo Swinney, much like a potato, could easily outcoach Adam Gase.
Still, no. Clemson would not beat the Jets, and it would not be close.
So, here’s a different question: could the best high school team in the country beat Kansas?
Again, the answer is no, but it’s time to appreciate how awful the Jayhawks are after their latest debacle, a 52-22 home loss to No. 23 Iowa State.
Losing by 30 points, Kansas’ average margin of defeat this season sunk to… no, it was exactly 30 coming into the game. After losing by 15 points at home to Coastal Carolina to open the season, Kansas has lost by 33 at Baylor, 40 at home against Oklahoma State, a mere 21 at West Virginia, 41 at Kansas State, and now 30 to the Cyclones.
The good news for Kansas is that since there are only four games to go this season, they cannot match the current record for 30-point losses in a season, which belongs to Northwestern, having lost nine of its 11 games in 1981 by 30 or more. (The Big 12 record, for what it’s worth is eight 30-point losses, by the 2002 Baylor team whose one conference win was against… Kansas, of course.)
Take a moment to marvel at the 1981 Wildcats, who were outscored 505-82 for the season. Northwestern played five games in October that year, and scored a grand total of 23 points — all in a 35-23 loss at Minnesota. Their other games that month were 64-0 (Iowa), 35-0 (Purdue), 38-0 (at Michigan), and 52-0 (at Wisconsin).
The 64-0 home loss to the Hawkeyes? That was only tied for Northwestern’s most lopsided loss of 1981, as they went to Ohio State in November and took a 70-6 drubbing. There was also a 61-14 home loss to Michigan State in the mix.
Kansas still has to go to Oklahoma next week, then has a bye before wrapping up the season with Texas and TCU at home, and a trip to Texas Tech. None of this is at all necessary, and in fact just poses a risk to the health of everyone involved.
Ah, but Les Miles might be able to coach ‘em up, you say.
Do you know who coached Northwestern in 1981? Dennis Green, who was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1982 when he turned things around and guided the Wildcats to a shockingly good 3-8 season.
Really want to do the college/pro crossover thing?
The Jayhawks are who we thought they were.