After a great win, the future of KU football looks bright! It's not just the great successes this year - undefeated at home; wins against Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa State; nationally ranked defense; etc. - but KU has momentum as it prepares for a bowl game and a lot of positives to build on.
For one thing, KU will get an extra month of practice. That will be invaluable for KU's young players, especially the skill players on offense.
This season certainly won't hurt KU's recruiting. With K-State coachless, KU should have little trouble with in-state players. But KU is making a name for itself around the country. The caliber of recruits KU is targeting is higher now than it has been in the recent past. As KU enters this important time in football recruiting, the team will still be practicing and playing in a bowl game, and that will help.
KU played an incredibly difficult schedule this year, but next year is a different story. There will be big games and tough games next year, but Texas and Oklahoma are not in the picture. Looking at the schedule and the recent happenings with the Big XII North schools, next year's schedule should play right into Mangino's hands.
Most importantly, KU players seem to be enjoying some excellent coaching. When the offense was sputtering and costing us losses, these kids could have closed up shop. The frustration and finger pointing that everyone expected, however, never seemed to happen. Instead, Coach Mangino and his assistants accepted responsibility for the problems and set out to fix them. I'm not saying that KU is now some sort of offensive power house - quite the contrary. But the offense has made great progress, due in no small part to excellent coaching. The team is cohesive, due in no small part to excellent coaching. The team never quits and plays with energy and passion (even after three interceptions!), due in no small part to excellent coaching.
The best thing that happened this year was the fan support. KU set attendance records this year. We drew 48,000+ for the MU game, and 51,000+ for the NU game. That's incredible! You know, there were more fans in Memorial Stadium tearing down the goal posts than there were in Manhattan to say goodbye to Coach Snyder. I remember in the not-too-distant-past when local merchants gave away free football tickets and sparse "crowds" were the norm. Those days seem to be behind us now. There is excitement about this team!
I for one will be following the Fighting Manginos to Fort Worth or wherever they may land, and I can't wait 'till next year!