A few people asked last week why there were no “Keys to the Game” from Pablo for UTEP’s football game against Tulsa. So, here’s what went down:
Me: “Hey, Pablo, are you going to write up a Keys to the Game for It’s All Hood?”
Pablo: “I don’t know. What’s the use? It’s no fun when the only thing to say is, ‘They are going to lose.'” *Said with the sad, dejected look common to UTEP fans this time of year.*
So, there you have it. UTEP has a bye week this week, and speaking to Pablo, his spirit is rebuilding, despite the Miners’ inevitable loss to Tulsa. He should be back next week for a Keys to the Game for UTEP’s battle with Rice on Oct. 26.
Instead, this week I’ll take a look at the life of a Kansas Jayhawk football fan on Game Day. I’m guessing most of the following will hold true for UTEP football fans, but you’ll have to let me know.
Pregame: Complete and total optimism. I don’t care how bad the Jayhawks are, or who we are playing, in the hours before kickoff, I convince myself that victory is assured.
This Saturday, the 2-3 Jayhawks take on the 5-1 Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma is a 23-point favorite in the game, but what the oddsmakers don’t understand is that Charlie Weis has made changes to the Jayhawks’ struggling offense. With more participation from the assistant coaches, QB Jake Heaps is going to be able to make accurate throws while avoiding the rush. And, miracle of miracles, the Kansas receivers are going to start holding on to balls they have been dropping all season.
Once that happens, the run game will open up, and James Sims is going to return to form as the running back we remember from last year. What will help is that the offensive line that has been overwhelmed and outmatched all season will also be helped by the coaching changes and will suddenly be able to stand some ground.
It’s going to be an amazing upset. You heard it here first.
First Quarter: Oklahoma gets the ball first. On their first play, they pass for a 20-yard gain. Their second play from scrimmage, they run for 25 yards on a sweep. All the optimism is gone. You would think a fan’s hope could last more than two plays, but we’ve seen this all too often. If you weren’t such a glutton for punishment, you’d probably turn off the game and go do something more productive. But sitting through Kansas football beatings is what you’ve done your whole life. You are not going to stop now.
Second Quarter: This is the time when, strangely, your optimism comes back for a last gasp of air. The Jayhawks kick a field goal, and you think, “Hey, it’s only 14-3. Maybe this is a turning point. Here is where Kansas makes a stand and begins the comeback.” And for a little while, it seems to be true. Kansas gets a three-and-out, forcing Oklahoma to punt. With the defense putting up a stand, surely it’s time for the offense to show something. But, sadly, it’s not to be.
Halftime: Oklahoma is now up 21-3, and you are angry. You spend most of halftime on Twitter making nasty comments about Charlie Weis. The other half you spend looking at your Mark Mangino T-shirt, wondering if there is any way he could come back to Kansas. “We’re sorry, Mangino. It’s so true: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
End of halftime: Somehow, the break has helped a little. In your stupid, little fan brain, you start to hatch farfetched scenarios of how Kansas is still going to win this game.
Third quarter: One play in, it’s, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” There’s no predicting what will happen in the third quarter of a Kansas Jayhawk football game, but you know that it will be terrible. Hope is quickly lost, and thoughts drift to, “Well, maybe we can cover the spread.”
Fourth quarter: Nope, they’re not even going to cover. You sit at the game, or stare at the TV, in a daze. You’re a true fan, so you’ll sit through this complete beating. You’ll take it like a man.
Post Game: Angry and disgusted the rest of the day. And Sunday, too, because you have to read about it all over again in the papers. But you wake up Monday morning renewed: “We’ll get ’em this week! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”