justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Schwartz in Kansas

Where's P-Mac proudly presents the writing of the Daily Wildcat's Michael Schwartz. Schwartz is the greatest sports writer in Tucson, hands down in my opinion and he continues to produce the only readable material in the Daily Wildcat.

Schwartz is also the biggest sports fan I know, demonstrating this by knowing all of Paul McPherson's stats off the top of his head and willing to continue the impoverished dream of being a sports journalist. He's a die-hard D-Backs and Suns fan and he's quick to snap, "You're an idiot," if you disagree with his views. Oddly enough, nothing makes me happier than Schwartz telling me how wrong I am, then giving me a million stats to back up his reasoning. Without further ado...

LAWRENCE, Kan. – With an ESPN-televised so-called showdown against Arizona on tap the next day for its No. 4 Jayhawks, the city of Lawrence, would normally be caught up in basketball fever.

After all, Kansas football fans often look forward to basketball season even sooner than Wildcat fans.

But that was certainly not the case Saturday when the No. 2 Jayhawk football team played with a chance to take over the No. 1 spot in the nation and move one game away from the BCS Championship Game with a win over its hated rival, No. 4 Missouri.

For those of you unaware of the Border Showdown, it’s the second-oldest rivalry in college football with more hatred spewing from a Jayhawk to a Tiger than from a Wildcat to a Sun Devil.

The streets in Lawrence appeared empty as if it were 2 a.m. when kickoff approached just after 7 p.m. local time, with the entire city indoors watching the game. (That, and the fact that the weather was absolutely freezing).

At The Hawk, a popular bar in Lawrence, the establishment only gave out wristbands between plays so nobody would miss any of the action. Every person in the place intently watched the game – even the girls – cheering their Jayhawks on every snap as if they were attending the game.

Some people showed their hatred for Missouri with “Muck Fizzou” shirts, and the bar played the Kansas fight song at halftime.

Over at Jefferson’s Restaurant, the unofficial hangout for Kansas students, fans packed the place wearing Kansas blue and red, cheering every play even louder than at The Hawk. Cardboard faces of Kansas’s hefty head coach Mark Mangino dotted the restaurant, where dollars bills, some with pro-KU sayings, covered the walls.

The game did not go quite how Jayhawk fans would have liked, with Kansas dropping a 36-28 decision, but it was not for lack of effort from the fans on the home front.

With under a minute left, Jayhawk supporters roared for a third-down stop and cheered emphatically when the Tigers could not convert a first down. That only led to language typical of the UA student section after Missouri forced a safety on Kansas’ first play of its next drive to seal the KU defeat.

While Kansas fans mourn their football team’s missed opportunity at a chance at a national title – as this would be worse than ASU eliminating Arizona from bowl contention again next week – they can certainly take solace in the bread and butter of the school, a No. 4-ranked basketball team that has Final Four talent and Elite Eight experience from last season.

Those fans should be ready to take out their anger on the Wildcats by game time Sunday night.

More tidbits from Lawrence
I ran into ESPN analyst Jay Bilas Saturday while he shopped at the Allen Fieldhouse gift shop. Bilas, who is calling Sunday’s game for ESPN, predicted a close contest.

UA video and recruiting coordinator Matt Brase walked into Jefferson’s with a couple of team managers in the fourth quarter in all of their Arizona gear, but they were not openly rooting for either football team.

One person apparently ready for basketball season at Jefferson’s wore a shirt that said “Why play with Roy when we can play with our Self,” in reference to men’s basketball head coach Bill Self and former head coach Roy Williams.

(Schwartz is in no way an official writer for Where's P-Mac, content stolen from here, with Schwartz's approval)