All it took was one mind-bogglingly bad performance for Kansas football coach David Beaty to find his seat so hot he can’t even sit on it.
While the pessimistic Kansas football fans are realistic, they still expected much better than the 45-27 debacle Saturday against Central Michigan that unfolded before an intimate gathering at Memorial Stadium that by midseason could be reduced to a smattering.
Being a KU alum who was in Lawrence during the woeful “Bon Voyage Bud” days of Bud Moore, I had been drinking the Kool Aid that Beaty has been spewing during the offseason, how this guy was “a tough dude” and another was a “big-time player.” He had me thinking maybe, just maybe, this team might find a way to win four games.
What I saw on Saturday was a team that will not win another game — or even come close. Of all these recent miserable seasons, this could be the worst of all, unless Baylor really is as bad as it has shown the first two weeks in losing to Liberty and University of Texas at San Antonio, not to be confused with the Texas Longhorns.
Hide the women and children when the Jayhawks play Oklahoma. Thank goodness Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is compassionate. And maybe even the Ol’ Mullet himself, Mike Gundy, might have one ounce of empathy when Oklahoma State goes up and down the field unabated.
That’s because it’s going to be ugly, very ugly.
Beaty has won three games in his two years, plus two games. Two of those were gimmes, Rhode Island and Southeast Missouri State. The only legit win was against Texas, which cost Charlie Strong his job.
Beaty is trying. He really is. He wants to win so badly that it hurts. He wants the Jayhawks to be a program for the fans to be proud of.
But I get the feeling his tenure isn’t going to last long.
It’s mainly on the defense. I’m not sure that secondary could stop a good Division II team. Thankfully KU is smart enough to stay away from Northwest Missouri State and Fort Hays State.
Beaty said before the season he was concerned about his team’s secondary, as it’s practically brand new. It's hard-hitting safety Michael Lee and a cast of not-ready-for-prime-time players.
The offensive line is a mess. I remember how excited KU fans were when Charles Baldwin transferred from Alabama — that’s right, No. 1 Alabama — to join the Jayhawks. He was supposed to be the building block.
It’s hard to be a building block when you can’t get on the field.
His Crimson Tide teammate and fellow transfer Dylan Charlot also was supposed to be an exciting addition at wide receiver. He was good enough to be recruited by the Tide, so he had to have some talent. He, too, is clinging to the bench.
It’s hard to believe a school with such success in basketball could flounder so badly in football. It’s one thing not to have a winning record. Heck KU fans would be overjoyed with four or five wins. But it’s been more than 40 games since a road victory and with most of its Big 12 games being embarrassing blowouts, it’s no wonder the fan base is so sour and staying away like the team has the plague.
Beaty probably isn’t the answer even if he works 48-hour days. It’s going to take a coaching messiah, some well-known successful big-timer that KU will throw wads of cash at who is motivated by pulling off a Bill Snyder-like miracle and enjoys undertaking a challenge. Because that’s what the KU program has become, the Wildcats of the 1960s and 1970s.
And there’s no end in sight. It’s going to take a miracle to turn this this around.