Lutz Blog

Friday musings on KU, Royals, Penn State, Raiders/Las Vegas

Kansas head coach David Beaty talks to his team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Rhode Island in Lawrence on Sept. 3. Beaty won his first game as a head coach with Kansas defeating Rhode Island 55-6.
Kansas head coach David Beaty talks to his team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Rhode Island in Lawrence on Sept. 3. Beaty won his first game as a head coach with Kansas defeating Rhode Island 55-6. Associated Press

It’s the return of Friday musings after a rather lengthy absence.

▪ Interested to see what Kansas does Saturday at Memphis. The Jayhawks piqued interest with their season-opening romp of Rhode Island, then made it so their fans could only occasionally peek at the debacle last week against Ohio, when KU was run off the field in the first half. Logic says there aren’t many more opportunities for KU to win games and it’s unlikely the Jayhawks will win a road game this week. But they have to play better if faith in second-year coach David Beaty is to remain high. I don’t think Kansas has enough at the quarterback position, expect Memphis to win this one, 38-14.

▪ Kansas State, off last week after losing at Stanford in its opener, gets Florida Atlantic at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats’ offense didn’t do much in Palo Alto, but there was defensive promise. K-State should take care of business rather easily the next two weeks — Missouri State visits Manhattan next Saturday — before opening Big 12 play Oct. 1 at West Virginia. The Wildcats need to work on a running attack. And a passing attack. We’ll see.

▪ Penn State’s decision to honor Joe Paterno before and during Saturday’s game against Temple is distasteful. And I feel bad for a school administration caught between doing the right thing, which would be to move on from this mess, and those who played for Paterno and followed his teams. This was not an easy call. One of Paterno’s former players called it an impossible situation, and he’s right. The truth is that every time Paterno’s name comes up the images are horrendous because of his association with convicted sexual child abuser Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s longtime assistant. And although the late Paterno was never charged with a crime, evidence says he had knowledge of Sandusky’s terrible misdeeds many years ago and chose to do nothing. For all the good Paterno did during his career — and to deny that is to be naive — he will be remembered as a man who allowed a serial criminal to escape justice for far too long.

▪ The Royals were outscored 43-12 in a four-game sweep at home by the Oakland Athletics this week. It’s the largest margin in a four-game sweep in A’s history. It looks like Kansas City has hit a wall and it’s probably time for manager Ned Yost to start giving some of his mainstays some rest down the stretch. The Royals, after reaching the World Series the previous two seasons, have looked like a tired team most of this season.

▪ What a great day of college football we’ll have Saturday with Florida State-Louisville (11 a.m.), Alabama-Ole Miss (2:30 p.m.) and Ohio State-Oklahoma (6:30) the highlights. No reason to leave your easy chair.

▪ Not seeing much hope for the St. Louis Cardinals down baseball’s stretch drive, either. The Cardinals have been woefully inconsistent in 2016, too, as have the Royals. There are many similarities, starting with poor starting pitching. The Cardinals have hit a bunch of home runs this season, but haven’t done much else. The only non-pitchers sure to return in 2017 are, in my opinion, Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, Aledmys Diaz and Yadier Molina. Going to be an interesting offseason of upheaval for the Cardinals, who have fallen far behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central arms race.

▪ Speaking of the Cubs, there’s enormous pressure on that team to finally lift the curse that has been with them since their last World Series win 108 years ago. Let me add to the pressure by saying the Cubs are easily baseball’s best team and should sweep through the postseason without much difficulty. There you go, Cubs. You can thank me later.

▪ The Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas? Listen, I’m no fan of owners moving their teams from city to city — I’ll never forgive Stan Kroenke for what he did to the football fans of St. Louis — but in this case, isn’t it justified. Oakland has persistently refused to give the Raiders a home and at least one group in Vegas, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee — is enthused about bringing Oakland to town. That committee is recommending $750 million in public funding for a domed-stadium project. There are still many hurdles to clear, but the Las Vegas Raiders are gaining steam.

▪ Here’s a television recommendation: Watch “Stranger Things” on Neflix, if you haven’t already. Fun, scary and a throwback to the ’80s in style and soundtrack.

▪ I have high hopes for Kevin James’ new sitcom on CBS, “Kevin Can Wait,” which debuts Monday. Count me as a huge fan of “King of Queens,” James’ previous sitcom. My concern is that he’s going to be playing the same character, although I wonder, too, whether that isn’t the appeal of James. He never became a huge movie star, although attempts were obviously made. He’s not one of those stand-up comics you have to see. Perhaps James is eternally Doug Heffernan.

▪ Thanks for reading, as always. Will be back with more Friday musings in a week.