I get half-credit for correctly predicting A&M's final score, right? Of the Jayhawks, only Jon Cornish, Mike Rivera, and Scott Webb consistently took advantage of their opportunities to make plays. Adam Barmann reminded us all why he hasn't been starting very many games the last two years. The offense's struggles were not entirely Barmann's fault (though his performance should preclude fans and media from further speculation that Kansas has two options at quarterback once Kerry Meier's shoulder heals) as the offensive line reverted to mediocrity following a strong performance in Lincoln last week and (though it's hard to say for certain when you're watching a game broadcast by Fox Sports Net) I didn't see a lot of wide-open receivers that Barmann was missing.
Like the offensive line, the defensive line put in its most credible performance of the season in Lincoln but could not repeat the performance against Texas A&M. To his credit, Defensive Coordinator Bill Young almost cobbled together a scheme to put consistent pressure on Stephen McGee without surrendering the long pass plays that have plagued the Kansas secondary this season. That Young had to rely on bringing safeties and/or linebackers on blitzes to create pressure ultimately left the Jayhawk defense (on the field for 76 plays on a day when Texas A&M only had to defend 59 times) vulnerable to a middle screen from McGee to L'Tydrick Riley that gained 35 yards on the final third-down play of Texas A&M's winning touchdown drive.
It's been a long time (10 years by my reckoning) since a Kansas football team has been good enough to disappoint its fans. Watching the close losses of the last couple of years, one got the sense that the team was playing close to its best and was simply not good enough to win the games. This year, by failing to take advantage of multiple opportunities to put games away at Toledo and Saturday at home against Texas A&M, a Kansas team that could have been making a case for which bowl they should play in and on the fringes of the Big 12 North race instead finds themselves on the fringes of bowl eligibility and winless, behind even Kansas State in the Big 12 North standings.
The Jayhawks need four wins in their last six games to assure a trip to a bowl game. (Anybody who thinks bowl organizers will be lining up to invite a 6-6 Kansas team is more optimistic than I.) Kansas has put themselves in a position where they both have to win all of their remaining home games (Oklahoma State, Colorado, Kansas State) and win one of their remaining road games (Baylor, Iowa State, Missouri). With half of the season completed, I'm not at all certain that this maddeningly inconsistent team can accomplish either of those feats.