It warms the cockles of my heart that so many readers responded to my 16th annual reader survey. Who says division and apathy threaten our democracy? Those who do apparently haven’t noticed how readers come together to cast votes here.
Nearly 1,400 responses were received. Numbers represent votes received, followed by percentages. Here’s what you had to say:
1. It has been 26 years since Wichita State fielded a football team. Will the Shockers put a team on the field in the next 10 years?
a. Yes 231 (16.5)
b. No 1,168 (83.5)
Bob says: We’ll still be asking this question in 10 years. And probably in another 26. Sorry, I just don’t see it. There are always pockets of people who bang the football drum, but it has never been very loud and it certainly has never been in rhythm.
2. New Kansas football coach Charlie Weis isn’t lacking for confidence. But he might be lacking for talent on his team. When will Weis have the Jayhawks in Big 12 contention?
a. This season, you watch 12 (0.8)
b. Next season seems reasonable 88 (6.3)
c. I can see it in 2014 335 (24.0)
d. 2015 at the earliest 435 (31.1)
e. Not gonna happen 527 (37.7)
Bob says: Let’s eliminate this season and I’m sorry if I offend the 12 who think this is KU’s year. I believe Weis will need three years to steady the ship, so 2015 is the year for me.
3. Are you for or against more usage of replay in Major League Baseball?
a. For, let’s get the calls right 826 (60)
b. Against, the human element is part of the game 550 (40)
Bob says: Reluctantly, I say we need more replay. Too many important calls are being blown. But this has to be done in a way that doesn’t distract from or slow down the game. Good luck with that.
4. Which City League basketball standout will have the best career at Kansas? (Yes, we know North’s Conner Frankamp still has one more season of high school basketball.)
a. Perry Ellis 771 (56.2)
b. Conner Frankamp 602 (43.8)
Bob says: This is tough. I think both players are going to have excellent careers at Kansas. But I sense something extra special about Frankamp.
5. Bryce Brown had a decent preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles and made the team’s roster after the Eagles chose the former Wichita East and Kansas State running back in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft. How do you think Brown will do as an NFL back?
a. He’s destined to be a backup 436 (31.3)
b. He’ll become a starter, but perhaps not with the Eagles 289 (20.7)
c. He’ll be a Pro Bowler given time 49 (3.5)
d. His NFL career will be a short one 621 (44.5)
Bob says: Brown has had a way of getting in his own way since leaving East four years ago. I hope it all comes together for him in the NFL, but I’d say he’s destined to be a backup, at best.
6. How would you describe your level of support for Wichita State baseball coach Gene Stephenson?
a. I’m still bullish on Gene 52 (3.7)
b. The Shockers aren’t the same, but Gene is still the man 265 (19.0)
c. Gene’s time is nearing an end 1,079 (87.3)
Bob says: The Shockers have been to one NCAA regional in the past four years. Stephenson has a surprisingly low level of support for someone who has had so much success in his career. There are a variety of reasons why allegiance to Stephenson is this low. His time is nearing an end.
7. Who is the best player in the NBA?
a. Carmelo Anthony 14 (1.0)
b. Kobe Bryant 84 (6.1)
c. Kevin Durant 485 (35.2)
d. LeBron James 697 (50.5)
e. Tony Parker 6 (0.4)
f. Chris Paul 11 (0.8)
g. Rajon Rondo 15 (1.1)
h. Other 67 (4.9)
Bob says: It’s The King, hands down. This was kind of a trick question. Tony Parker? Was I serious? But Durant will someday be the best.
8. Wichita State’s basketball team has ridden squads heavy with seniors to an NIT championship and a first-round NCAA Tournament exit the past two seasons. How will this season’s team, younger than those postseason squads, fare?
a. Top four or so in the Missouri Valley Conference and 20 wins would be an accomplishment 659 (47.4)
b. MVC contention, 25 wins and another NCAA Tournament is doable 610 (43.9)
c. This team could be even better than the 2010-11 and 2011-12 teams 120 (8.7)
Bob says: Interesting question. While I think achieving the numbers in A would be a good accomplishment, I think 25 wins and another NCAA Tournament bid are not only doable, but likely. This team is talented and Gregg Marshall – breaking news – can coach.
9. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was booed by fans at a celebrity softball game two days before the All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium in July. How much longer will Cassel be a Chief?
a. He’s their quarterback for a few more seasons 622 (45.2)
b. This will be it for Cassel 736 (53.4)
c. He’ll develop into one of the league’s best and eventually have his name on Arrowhead Stadium’s ring of honor 19 (1.4)
Bob says: I think we can probably eliminate C. However, I do think Cassel is an above-average quarterback and that he’ll be with the Chiefs a few more seasons.
10. Which PGA Tour member is most likely to dominate the tour in the next few years?
a. Keegan Bradley 21 (1.6)
b. Luke Donald 19 (1.4)
c. Hunter Mahan 24 (1.8)
d. Rory McIlroy 908 (67.9)
e. Bubba Watson 56 (4.2)
f. Tiger Woods 153 (11.4)
g. Other 157 (11.7)
Bob says: Obviously, McIlroy is the fashionable answer. And I’m nothing if not fashionable. Sign me up.
11. The Oklahoma City Thunder captured the hearts and imaginations of Oklahomans by reaching the NBA Finals in June before losing to the Miami Heat. How did the Thunder’s run affect you?
a. I wasn’t a fan before, but I sure am now 547 (39.7)
b. I’ve been with the Thunder big time since they re-located from Seattle 417 (30.3)
c. The Thunder did what? 412 (29.9)
Bob says: I actually pulled for the Heat in the NBA Finals, but I grew to have more respect and admiration for the OKC franchise last season, no doubt about it.
12. Bruce Weber has replaced Frank Martin as Kansas State’s basketball coach and Martin has moved on to South Carolina. Let’s be honest now: How did you really feel about Martin?
a. I loved the passion and winning he brought to K-State basketball 649 (46.5)
b. It was great to win, but Martin’s demeanor made me turn away at times 414 (29.6)
c. South Carolina can have Martin 324 (23.2)
Bob says: Let’s not forget where K-State was before Martin arrived as an assistant with Bob Huggins, then took over when Huggins left for West Virginia after one season. I think Martin is the coach most instrumental for putting K-State back on the college basketball map. His demeanor put some people off, but I think Martin’s place in K-State history will be much more positive than negative.
13. Speaking of Weber, how will he do at Kansas State?
a. Fine at first, but then he’ll fade like he did at Illinois 503 (36.4)
b. Weber is a proven winner who will do more of the same at K-State 378 (27.4)
c. This was a bad hire from the get-go 500 (36.2)
Bob says: I wasn’t a fan of this hire because I thought it was done hastily. That said, Weber obviously can coach. I question the fit. I think Weber has a good first team to work with. Can he keep things going? I have my doubts.
14. What event are you more likely to get out to see?
a. A high school football or basketball game 908 (66.6)
b. A Thunder hockey game 165 (12.1)
c. A Wild football game 49 (3.6)
d. A Wingnuts baseball game 188 (13.8)
e. A Wings soccer game 53 (3.9)
Bob says: High school football or basketball has the most appeal for me. But I also enjoy going to Thunder and Wingnuts games with my wife. Those are our romantic times.
15. The 78th annual National Baseball Congress World Series recently concluded at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. What is the most glaring of the issues that face the NBC?
a. The ownership. Why does the city of Wichita own the NBC 484 (36.2)
b. There are too many Kansas teams – 11 this year out of 32 – in the field 556 (41.6)
c. It’s not a tournament without representation from Alaska 296 (22.2)
Bob says: The tournament has even more problems, but these are three of the biggest. Until anything else can be resolved, the ownership situation has to be addressed. And soon. Losing a tournament with this much history and prestige is not acceptable.
16. What was your favorite event at the London Olympics?
a. Basketball 127 (9.1)
b. Diving 21 (1.5)
c. Gymnastics 209 (15.1)
d. Soccer 54 (3.9)
e. Swimming 281 (20.2)
f. Table tennis 28 (2)
g. Tennis 5 (0.4)
h. Track and field 428 (30.8)
i. Volleyball (beach and indoor) 163 (11.7)
j. Water polo 12 (0.9)
k. Other 60 (4.3)
Bob says: Track and field, hands down. Usain Bolt might be the most incredible Olympic athlete I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand why track isn’t more popular than it is.
17. The Kansas City Royals are plodding along in 2012, having played some good baseball and some that wasn’t so good. It looks like another below-.500 season. How will the Royals be in 2013?
a. It’ll be their time to surge above .500 497 (35.7)
b. About the same 546 (39.3)
c. The Royals lost me a long time ago 348 (25.0)
Bob says: Seems to me that “about the same” is the right answer until the Royals show us something different.
18. Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has been outspoken that the Jayhawks will not play games against Missouri, at least for the foreseeable future. Others at KU have said the same thing. Should Kansas and Missouri continue to meet in athletics even though Mizzou has bolted the Big 12 for the SEC?
a. Yes 450 (32.3)
b. No 942 (67.7)
Bob says: It seems kind of petty to me, but obviously KU fans are going to hold a grudge on this one. It won’t take long before they miss those fun and intense showdowns with the Tigers.
19. ESPN paid a lot of attention to the Little League World Series last month, as usual. There is always a debate as to whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, considering the age of the participants. What do you think?
a. It’s great, and harmless, to see these kids in the national spotlight 449 (32.5)
b. It’s too early for such young kids to be thrust onto such a big stage 320 (23.2)
c. I don’t watch and don’t care 613 (44.4)
Bob says: I don’t watch and don’t care, but it’s because I think it’s too early for young kids to receive this much exposure.
20. Who is currently the top quarterback in the NFL?
a. Tom Brady 214 (15.4)
b. Drew Brees 175 (12.6)
c. Eli Manning 108 (7.8)
d. Peyton Manning 81 (5.8)
e. Aaron Rodgers 756 (54.4)
f. Tony Romo 14 (1.0)
g. Matthew Stafford 6 (0.4)
h. Michael Vick 9 (0.7)
i. Other 26 (1.9)
Bob says: I’ll take Rodgers, but Brady is right there for me. And keep an eye on Stafford. He’s my fantasy quarterback, after all.
21. Who is the best Kansas State quarterback during the Bill Snyder (and Ron Prince) era?
a. Jonathan Beasley 76 (5.5)
b. Michael Bishop 796 (57.9)
c. Josh Freeman 234 (17.0)
d. Brian Kavanaugh 7 (0.5)
e. Collin Klein 129 (9.4)
f. Chad May 41 (3.0)
g. Ell Roberson 60 (4.4)
h. Other 31 (2.3)
Bob says: It’s Bishop by a long way. But there have been a bunch of good ones, including the kid currently occupying the position.