I find it hard to count the Oklahoma loss against my record, because I still don't think the real Sooners ever took the field. Oklahoma's defense allowed nine rushes or passes of 20 yards or more. And those big plays were really big plays; they went for an average of 40.9 yards.
The kick coverage unit didn't help; West Virginia has six returns of 20 or more yards, going for an average of 26.5 yards.
But Stoops choked again -- in the Fiesta Bowl, no less -- and I should have seen it coming. So my record for the postseason falls to 18-10 overall, 7-21 against the score.
Bowl: FedEx Orange, 8 p.m., Fox
Teams: No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 6 Virginia Tech
Kansas' season was... At some point in the season, as the Jayhawks were crushing their way through one of the easiest schedules ever compiled by a team whose name doesn't end in "awaii," you had to start ranking them. In the end, they lost to the best team they played -- Missouri -- leaving questions about how good KU really is unanswered.
June Jones is shocked -- shocked -- that anyone considers Kansas' schedule weak.
Virginia Tech's season was... Very Virginia Tech-like. The Hokies got off to a slow start, including 48-7 throttling at the hands of LSU. But Frank Beamer & Co. rebounded, playing solid defense, and lost only a last-second home heartbreaker to Boston College on Oct. 25, a loss that was later avenged in the ACC CG.
Kansas impact player: QB Todd Reesing has been a revelation for Kansas, going 256-of-409 through the air for 3,259 yards and 32 TDs and 6 INTs. Some of that is likely because of the subpar teams KU has played, but Reesing is still a guy who will get some Heisman buzz walking into this one.
Virginia Tech impact player: QB Tyrod Taylor keyed much of the Hokies' turnaround, giving them a running signal-caller and more options. Taylor actually has a lower passer rating than mistake prone Sean Glennon -- Taylor is 71-of-131 for 916 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs -- but the freshman has also rushed for six scores and 431 yards on 97 carries (4.4 ypc). Yeah, there are guys with flashier stats. But Taylor helped turn the team around.
Why Kansas will win: Virginia Tech RB Brandon Ore has been benched for the first quarter, and it's conceivable that the loss of that option could hurt the Virginia Tech offense. More troublesome could be the potential loss of LB Vince Hall. If the Jayhawks can get some explosive plays with Hall out and force the Hokies into a lot of early three-and-outs with Ore out, they could ring up enough points to make the game an uphill climb for Tech. (Kansas, by the way, isn't too shabby on defense, ranked 14th statistically in total D.) Then, there's the possibility of a game-long, Sooner-esque collapse by the Hokies, but I don't see that happening.
Why Virginia Tech will win: Against better competition, the Hokies are 5th in total defense. And while Virginia Tech is "only" 28th in passing defense, the defense has held opposing offenses to only 9 TDs through the air. That is tied for 2nd-best in the country. If the Hokies can knock Kansas around early, they can frustrate the Jayhawks' offense. It won't be a rout -- Virginia Tech doesn't have the offense for one of those -- but it will feel like one.
Fun sponsor fact: FedEx comes from the same family that gave us Greyhound.
Frederick W. Smith, founder of FedEx Corp. (FDX), has transportation in his blood. His grandfather was a steamboat captain, and his father built from scratch a regional bus line that became the Southern backbone of the Greyhound Bus system.
Gee, thanks for that.
Prediction: I initially called this as "the most dominating 10-3 game you've ever seen" and a Virginia Tech win. But the Hokies did right the offensive ship when Taylor came in, and I don't think Tech will keep Kansas out the endzone all night. One or both teams could get up into the 20s, but I doubt it. Virginia Tech 17, Kansas 10