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Nebraska vs. Kansas - Blogger Q&A With Rock Chalk Talk

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A little bit late on this one, but better late than never. SB Nation site Rock Chalk Talk answers the same questions as we gave to "It's Business Time".

A little bit different flavor, plus some insight as to what was going on with KU's program when Roy Williams was around, so it's worth a read.

Give me some background as to your association with Kansas University:

1) Both of my parents went to school at Kansas, and I've just followed the Jayhawks throughout my entire life. I've followed the basketball team hardcore since I was 11. and the football team since I was 14.

Is Kansas truly committed to building a football program that will compete for Big 12 championships, or is there a feeling this would overshadow the basketball program?

2) Yes. Mark Mangino doesn't take no for an answer, and while the past administration weren't his biggest fans, particularly Ol' Roy Williams, it is more accepted by similar cutthroat high-end members of the AD, most notably Lew Perkins.

Roy Williams seemed to almost enjoy being the only act in town, and certainly wasn't an active proponent of us becoming a significant football program. I mean, he was pissed off when Terry frickin' Allen was fired, because they were 'friends'. But now, it is clear that both Bill Self and Lew Perkins are completely behind the football team, and there is a clear dedication to football.

If you want evidence, look no further than the brand new, $31 million dollar football-only facility, weight room, etc.

After last year’s season has this year been much of a letdown or have things gone as you expected?

3) Sort of both. Everyone knew that the actual 'W' total would go down, but I don't think too many of us figured we would be this bad on defense. And we probably don't even classify as 'bad', as much as just not nearly as good as last year's team. If we can beat Missouri in Arrowhead and win the North, I think everyone will be content with the season, but if we finish how most our expecting, with a final record of 7-5, it will have just been a ho-hum season. Not disappointing, but not the step forward I was hoping for.

This week’s game will be televised via pay per view. This will be the fourth Nebraska game on PPV, and it’s getting expensive. Will you be buying the game this week or saving your money for basketball season?

4) I haven't actually decided yet. I'm planning on simply recording the game and, depending on the outcome, I might decide to watch it and, effectively, buy the PPV. $29.95 is a lot of money to pay for a single football game.

The Jayhawks have yet to beat a team with a winning record, the closest being La-Tech at 4-4. Other than a tougher schedule, what’s the biggest difference about this year’s team from last?

5) I touched on it earlier, but it comes down to two things. Line play and Aqib Talib. Our offensive line was absolutely outstanding last year, led by Outland finalist Anthony Collins, but has wavered between 'adequate' and 'merely good' all season long. Nothing too unexpected, given we replaced two very experienced starters at tackle with two redshirt freshmen, but still disappointing. And the defensive line play has gone down because of the loss of James McClinton. It wasn't great last season, but it has been worse this year.

And to my other point: Aqib Talib. It sounds sort of ridiculous to blame so much of a difference on one single player, particularly when that player is a corner, but it has been a tremendous difference. We have resorted to switching a true freshman from WR and a FS to the starting cornerbacks, as they got absolutely destroyed against Texas Tech and didn't fare much better against OU. Countless times this season we have needed a big play, the type of play Aqib Talib provided all of last season. No one has really stepped up to the plate, and that has made all the difference.

You lose one - Kerry Meier or Jake Sharp. Which one stays on the field and why?

6) I'll take Kerry Meier. Jake Sharp has looked outstanding these past three games, but runningback is a position easier to replace in our system, and we have other competent options in Angus Quigley and Jocques Crawford. And Kerry Meier is so important to this offense, especially on 3rd downs, it is hard to describe.

What about Nebraska's team concerns you the most?

7) Joe Ganz. He isn't an awesome QB, in the same category as Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford, but he is clearly a really damn good QB. He also lit us up last year, which doesn't make me feel good considering how much better our D was last season. Well, that and the homefield advantage has me worried.

Where do you feel you have the biggest advantage?

8) Kansas' passing game against Nebraska's pass defense. We have so many ridiculous weapons on the perimeter, it is hard for anyone to stop us, and the Cornhuskers have struggled in that area. The more passes that are thrown, and the more points scored, the better I'll feel.

What’s the best/worst Mark Mangino joke you’ve heard?

9) Eh. I really like the two weight-related shirts from Joe's College ("Our coach can eat your coach" and "Our coach beat anorexia"). Not the funniest lines of all time, but good for a chuckle or two, usually.


10) I think that Nebraska's keep-away strategy will work for awhile, but in the end the more talented and better-coached team will prevail. Kansas 35 Nebraska 24