Bob Lutz: Kansas, K-State must play it quiet
09/06/2011 12:00 AM
09/07/2011 5:46 AM
This is a great time to stick a microphone in front of the brain trust of the Oklahoma football program.
Start with OU president David Boren, who can't hide his glibness when discussing the potential of a Big 12 breakup that would land the Sooners, most likely, in the Pac-12.
Then saunter over to Sooners coach Bob Stoops, who on Tuesday had the audacity to talk about life without Texas.
Imagine that, life without Texas. I just can't wrap my arms around that one.
Anyway, Stoops was telling reporters that if OU does leave for another conference and Texas doesn't come along, it's not a guarantee that the OU-Texas football series will continue.
"No one wants to hear that,'' Stoops said. "But life changes. If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree.''
Yes, lips are running loose in Oklahoma. That's because the Sooners know that whatever happens with this conference shakeup, they'll find a soft landing spot. They're the No. 1 team in the country. OU is the one school in the Big 12 that can take a jab at Texas.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, you can hear a pin drop. The presidents, athletic directors and coaches at Kansas and Kansas State talk in hushed tones about the potential changes coming up because of conference shuffling. But the more they talk, the less they say.
That's because neither KU nor K-State have much apparent clout as they hope and pray to land in a BCS conference.
That's especially the case for Kansas State, which finds itself being mentioned in the same breath with Iowa State and Baylor. If there are schools you don't want your name associated with during this potentially-seismic shift in college sports, it's Iowa State and Baylor.
There was an encouraging report in the New York Times about both Kansas schools perhaps landing in a revamped Big East. But who knows how much stock to put into that?
Kansas, because of its brand and television market, would appear to be in a better spot to latch on to one of the power conferences.
K-State, though, has geography and a lack of TV sets working against it. At least you would think those would be negatives.
Who really knows?
I contend that all of this conference realignment is a lot like a high school dance. You remember how uncomfortable those things were, right?
Oklahoma is the popular girl who gets to dance with the boys she chooses. But you can never choose Oklahoma. That's just not done.
Oklahoma State is the popular girl wannabe who is really just along for the ride. Boys dance with Oklahoma State, but only because they hope it'll get them closer to a dance with Oklahoma.
Texas is the mean assistant principal who is in charge of the dance and slaps you on the back if you're dancing too close. But Texas won't slap Oklahoma, because Oklahoma will slap back.
Texas Tech is the guy with two left feet. But that doesn't stop Texas Tech from trying to dance. So the Red Raiders are out there looking kind of silly, but drawing some attention.
Texas A&M is the really moody girl who thinks the whole world is against her. So she picks up and transfers to another school without really giving it much thought.
Missouri is the girl with a really high opinion of herself who would love to be at a college dance instead. But that opinion is only skin deep. All of the makeup in the world can't hide Missouri's insecurities.
Baylor is the boy who probably shouldn't be at the dance, but bought new shoes anyway.
Iowa State is . . . Iowa State should probably just drop out and find a job somewhere.
Which leaves Kansas and Kansas State, the wallflowers of the dance.
Nobody talks to them, they don't talk to anyone.
They wait. They get a lay of the land. They assess the actions of everyone else. They don't know where this dance is going, but they can't wait to find out.
Kansas is a little prettier than Kansas State, but not by much. Kansas might live in a slightly better neighborhood, but K-State has really spruced up its place over the years.
They both want to be sure that when they're asked to boogie, they're ready. They don't want to be pretentious, like Missouri. They don't want to be too eager, like Baylor. They don't want to be ignored, like Iowa State.
No, these are tenuous times and they call for caution.
KU and K-State bide their time, waiting for the right song and the perfect dance partner. Wallflowers sometimes have the best time. And this is a dance that looks like it'll go deep into the night.
About Bob Lutz
Bob Lutz has been The Eagle's sports columnist since 1996. A native of Derby, he has worked for the newspaper since 1974 and covered a variety of beats, from high schools to Wichita State to pro sports. If you want to get in good with him, mention the St. Louis Cardinals. Provided they're winning, of course.
Contact Bob at 316-268-6597 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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