Almost 2,000 readers took time to respond to my 17th annual reader survey, up 600 or so from 2012. That’s good. That’s really, really good.
And, as usual, you threw some curves. Your responses are always interesting and insightful and, most of all, appreciated. So let’s get to the results. Numbers represent votes received, followed by percentages.
1. Which NFL player from Wichita will have the best career?
Arthur Brown 1,117 (56.2)
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Joseph Randle 414 (20.8)
Bryce Brown 277 (13.9)
Chris Harper 180 (9.6)
Bob says: Arthur Brown makes the most sense. He’s a perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens’ system and not prone to the fickle injuries that can stop running backs and receivers.
2. If you were Bill Snyder, who would your starting quarterback at Kansas State be this season?
Jake Waters 998 (55.2)
Daniel Sams 811 (44.8)
Bob says: Well, we know who Snyder went with. And it’s the right call. Waters has an NFL arm, judging from his performance against North Dakota State in the season opener. But Sams has to be heard from for this offense to be effective.
3. Charlie Weis is beginning his second season as KU’s football coach. How many games will the Jayhawks win in 2013?
Three or fewer 716 (37.1)
Four 662 (34.3)
Five 383 (19.9)
Six 139 (7.2)
Seven or more 29 (1.5)
Bob says: Looks like the weight of expectations isn’t hampering Charlie just yet. Which is good or bad, depending on your outlook. I think the over/under for KU wins is four.
4. Would you support a city-wide sales tax used for a major renovation of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium?
Yes 1,038 (53.4)
No 905 (46.6)
Bob says: I was curious to see how this question would go. I’m happy to see that more than half of the respondents here would be OK with a tax to help freshen up L-D, which badly needs some attention. The ballpark is one of Wichita’s crown jewels. Let’s treat it like one.
5. The Kansas City Royals are relevant in mid-August. Will they be relevant in mid- to late-September?
No 1,200 (61.8)
Yes 742 (38.2)
Bob says: Every loss stings like two losses at this point as the Royals grasp to stay in the wild-card chase. Playing Detroit, Cleveland and Texas over the next couple of weeks doesn’t bode well.
6. Wichita State’s men’s basketball team shocked the world last season by reaching the Final Four in Atlanta. What do you expect the Shockers to accomplish this season in the NCAA Tournament?
Two wins and a Sweet 16 berth 741 (37.8)
Will win a game, then be out 672 (34.3)
A run into the Elite Eight 221 (11.3)
Can you say back-to-back Final Fours, baby? 168 (8.6)
Won’t get to the tournament 158 (8.1)
Bob says: Glad to see Shocker fans are keeping their expectations in check, at least according to these numbers. If WSU ever gets to a place where an NCAA Tournament appearance isn’t viewed as a big deal, then things have gone bonkers. That said, I think it’s realistic to expect a win or two in the tournament this season.
7. Todd Butler is in and Gene Stephenson is out after 36 years as Wichita State’s baseball coach. How will Butler fare?
It’ll take a year or so, but Butler is the right man 1,424 (74.3)
The Shockers will rue the day they let Gene go 277 (14.5)
He’ll have immediate NCAA Tournament success 215 (11.2)
Bob says: You can debate how this change was handled, but after a few months on the job now it looks to me like Butler is a great fit. I suspect he’ll have the Shockers winning games in the NCAA Tournament soon.
8. How many times combined will Wichita high school basketball legends Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp be chosen as first-team All-Big 12 players?
Twice 619 (31.9)
Three times 465 (24.0)
Once 350 (18.1)
None 227 (11.7)
Make it four 184 (9.5)
More than four 94 (4.9)
Bob says: Tough one. I could see Ellis being All-Big 12 a couple of times in his three remaining seasons, providing he hangs around that long. And Frankamp is a real wild card. I think he’ll be all-conference twice, as well. That’s four, if I’m adding correctly.
9. Which current or former WSU player will have the best NBA career?
Cleanthony Early 1,357 (70.7)
Toure Murry 325 (16.9)
Gal Mekel 237 (13.4)
Bob says: I almost threw sophomore Ron Baker into this mix, and probably should have. But Early is the easy choice here. He’s the most talented player in this group, by far, and I’m expecting a big season from him in 2013-14.
10. If you were a coach or manager, at which level would you want to work?
College basketball 747 (38.5)
MLB 495 (25.5)
College football 412 (21.2)
NFL 229 (11.8)
NBA 56 (2.9)
Bob says: I’d love to manage a big-league baseball team since, essentially, I already do every night when I watch the Cardinals on television.
11. Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson recently said new KC quarterback Alex Smith was the best quarterback in the league. Probably an overstatement, but where do you see Smith?
Top half 1,161 (60.5)
Top 10, for sure 415 (21.6)
Another Matt Cassel 272 (14.2)
In the top five 70 (3.6)
Bob says: Smith needs help and I’m not sure he has enough. It’s going to be all about his receiving corps. Since I view that group as average, at best, I’d put Smith barely in the top half. Get him help and he moves up. Pretty simple, Chiefs.
12. Bruce Weber has been the basketball coach at Kansas State for one season now. He led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament in his first year and will have many new players on the 2013-14 team. What do you think of Weber so far?
Year one was good, but things will soon start to slip 969 (50.1)
He’s done more than could have been expected and the future is bright 585 (30.3)
I never liked this hire 379 (19.6)
Bob says: I know you want me to be honest in my answers. I know you don’t like it when I pull punches. I never liked this hire.
13. What’s your favorite sport?
Football 676 (34.0)
Basketball 646 (32.5)
Baseball 333 (16.7)
Golf 102 (5.1)
Other 61 (3.1)
Soccer 55 (2.8)
Hockey 49 (2.5)
Auto racing 29 (1.5)
Track and field 23 (1.2)
Volleyball 16 (0.8)
Bob says: 1. Baseball; 2. Basketball; 3. Football; 4. Golf. The rest are just filler for me, although I’m gaining an appreciation for hockey and I do like to watch world-class track and field.
14. Which of these is the best sports venue in Kansas?
Allen Fieldhouse 1,006 (51.1)
Koch Arena 464 (23.6)
Snyder Family Stadium 334 (17.0)
Sporting Park 63 (3.2)
Prairie Dunes Country Club 44 (2.2)
Kansas Speedway 39 (2.0)
Bramlage Coliseum 10 (0.5)
Memorial Stadium 7 (0.4)
Bob says: We love the Fieldhouse, don’t we? I’m no different, although I’m surprised Prairie Dunes didn’t get more love. You folks ever seen the place?
15. Who is your favorite radio play-by-play voice in Kansas?
Mike Kennedy, WSU 792 (40.8)
Bob Davis, KU 787 (40.6)
Wyatt Thompson, K-State 360 (18.6)
Bob says: I once dreamed of being the voice of the Shockers. I guess Kennedy dreamed it better. I’ll go with a three-way tie for first here.
16. Who is the Kansas City Royals’ MVP this season?
Alex Gordon 466 (25.0)
Eric Hosmer 376 (20.3)
Greg Holland 329 (17.7)
Billy Butler 263 (14.2)
Salvador Perez 155 (8.4)
Ervin Santana 146 (7.9)
Other 120 (6.5)
Bob says: It’s Holland, hands down. He’s one of the best closers in baseball and seeing as how the Royals don’t hit much, he’s had a lot of close games to save.
17. Who is the most prominent sports figure in Kansas history?
Wilt Chamberlain 573 (29.0)
James Naismith 400 (20.3)
Barry Sanders 394 (20.0)
Bill Snyder 284 (14.4)
Phog Allen 173 (8.7)
Danny Manning 43 (2.2)
Walter Johnson 39 (2.0)
Bill Self 38 (1.9)
Joe Carter 30 (1.5)
Bob says: Folks, look up Walter Johnson, who was born in Humboldt. Thirty-nine votes? For one of the five best right-handers in major-league history? I don’t mind the Chamberlain pick; it’s sensible. Naismith gets his love. Sanders and Snyder did well. I’ll go with Naismith, but Johnson is No. 2.
18. Which is the most important of these Wichita sports franchises?
National Baseball Congress World Series 785 (40.6)
Thunder hockey 738 (38.1)
Wingnuts baseball 359 (18.6)
Wild indoor football 51 (2.6)
Bob says: The NBC World Series will celebrate its 80th year in Wichita in 2014. That makes it the most important.
19. Where are you on the Royals and the Chiefs?
Love’em both 542 (27.6)
More of a Royals fan 497 (25.3)
Don’t care about either 466 (23.7)
More of a Chiefs fan 461 (23.4)
Bob says: I’ve never been a Royals or a Chiefs fan. I don’t know why. I guess it’s because I never viewed Kansas City as an extension of Wichita. And I have to say, looking at the futility of both franchises, I’m OK with where I am.
20. Which of golf’s majors interest you the most?
Masters 1,313 (69.5)
U.S. Open 363 (19.2)
British Open 134 (7.1)
PGA 80 (4.2)
Bob says: Give me the U.S. Open every time. I understand the appeal of the Masters. I love Augusta National like everyone else. But there’s nothing like the U.S. Open.