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5 Thoughts - 2008 Orange Bowl
Kansas WR Marcus Henry
Kansas WR Marcus Henry
Posted Jan 4, 2008

Kansas coming through for the BCSers, the Big 12's big season, sticking with what works & more in the 2008 Orange Bowl 5 Thoughts.

5 Thoughts - Orange Bowl

Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 21

Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 21
- 2008 CFN FedEx Orange Bowl Preview
- 2008 Orange Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More
Orange Bowl Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes

By Pete Fiutak   

1. At least the BCSers got something right. While we all hoped Hawaii would have something in its bag of tricks and could come up with a little Boise State magic to make the Sugar Bowl interesting, Georgia showed up with other ideas. Everyone prayed the Illinois offense could run on USC to make the Rose Bowl close, and that Ron Zook wouldn’t go back to being Ron Zook, but the Trojans ended that with authority. The Fiesta Bowl might have been entertaining, but it was a blowout. Even with the other three games expected to be duds from the start, even if the Fiesta went the other way, Kansas was the controversial call of the BCS season getting in ahead of Missouri. The Tigers showed they belonged in one of the big games with its performance against Arkansas, and then the pressure was on the Jayhawks, who came through with a game that showed that they were the real deal. Hawaii hadn’t beaten anyone and it showed in the Sugar. Kansas hadn’t beaten anyone, and then it showed it could’ve. Had Virginia Tech won in a blowout, there probably wouldn’t be any outside the box calls in the BCS selection process for several years to follow.  

2. Where have we seen Kansas before? The situation isn’t really like Kansas State’s, who went from 0-to-60 several years ago with a slew of breathtaking athletes taken from the JUCO ranks. It’s not really like Northwestern, who shocked the world with Big Ten championships in the mid 1990s, or Wake Forest, which has the academic restrictions that prevent a steady stream of success. Ironically, with Barry Alvarez in the Fox booth calling the game, the Kansas rise to prominence mirrors what happened at Wisconsin back in 1993. A laughing stock before Alvarez got to Madison, it took a few years, and a few heartbreaks with two 5-6 seasons in Alvarez’s second and third years, Wisconsin roared in 1993 with a 10-1-1 campaign and a Rose Bowl win that launched the program into national prominence. Kansas had nine straight losing seasons before going 7-5 in 2005 and 6-6 last year, and now, with a bunch of unappreciated, unnoticed recruits who bought into the coaching staff and the program, exactly like what happened at Wisconsin, the wheels are in motion for KU to be a regular around the top 25 year in and year out. Can is sustain the success? The foundation has been set after the best year in school history.

3. To paraphrase John Candy in Splash after he got caught purposefully dropping coins and looking up women’s skirts, when something works for you, you stick with it. Virginia Tech RB Branden Ore was suspended for the first quarter, but came out roaring in the second as he blasted big run after big run to breathe life into the Hokie offense. At the end of the first half, Tech went 67 yards in 13 plays helped by 11 carries from Ore on the way to a touchdown. After getting all the momentum with a punt return for a score in the third quarter to pull within three, Tech occasionally ran Ore, but mostly went with a mix of plays that didn’t work. Ore ended up with 23 carries for 116 yards and a score, but there’s no reason why he couldn’t have cranked out 40 carries as the Tech line wore down the KU front. It’s not like there’s a game next week. You go with what works, let your best player get the ball, and if you still get beat, at least you went down doing what you do best.

4. How big was the Big 12 this bowl season? Of course, all most will remember was Oklahoma getting its doors blown off by West Virginia, but the conference came through with a huge statement this post-season after years of being on the outside looking in when it came to talk of the top leagues. Considering the coaching situation, Texas A&M can be forgiven for the loss to Penn State in the Alamo Bowl, while everyone else came through when few were expecting much. Arizona State tried to make a claim that it deserved to be in the BCS, and then Texas won the Holiday Bowl in a blowout. Colorado lost, but battled back against Alabama to make the Independence Bowl interesting. Oklahoma State ran past Indiana like it wasn’t there in the Insight Bowl. Texas Tech came up with a stunning comeback to beat Virginia in the Gator, Missouri showed it belonged in the BCS by blasting Arkansas in the Cotton, and now, Kansas showed that it deserved to be in the big show by getting by Virginia Tech. Think about it; the team that couldn’t even win its own division beat a BCS league champion.

5. On the flip side, it’s disaster time for the ACC. It’s star, Virginia Tech, lost making the league zero for its last six in the Orange Bowl. Boston College struggled to get by an average Michigan State in the Champs Sports, Florida State fought well considering the circumstances, but lost to Kentucky in the Music City, Maryland lost to Oregon State in the Emerald, Georgia Tech got pantsed by Fresno State in the Humanitarian, Clemson lost to Auburn n the Chick-fil-A, and Virginia lost late to Texas Tech in the Gator. Only Wake Forest really came through with a good win over Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but that’ll be little solace for a league that now has to be considered fifth, at best, among the BCS leagues. Yes, when it comes to national perception, and respect in the polls the following season, these things do matter.