Back in the late 1980s when Kansas and Kansas State played their late-October game, they were lucky if they had one victory between them.
"Let's face it, a few years ago, both Kansas and Kansas State were the laughing stock of the entire college football world," said Kansas coach Glen Mason.Today when the longtime rivals meet in Manhattan, they'll have just one loss between them, a defeat by K-State to No. 2-ranked Nebraska last week.
The Jayhawks are 7-0 with road victories over Colorado and Oklahoma already this year and looking for another today, while the Wildcats are 6-1 with three shutouts to their credit.
So what has happened? You have to give credit to the coaches, Mason, who arrived at Kansas in 1988 and Snyder, who came to Kansas State a year later, and to patient school officials for letting them build a program.
Another factor is the NCAA scholarship limit of 85, which helps spread the talent, allowing almost any Division I program to rise up to a higher level (look at Northwestern this year) and keeping the traditional powers from getting overly strong.
The trick, however, is for a program to stay on a high level for several years, something Kansas and Kansas State still are trying to do.
JAYHAWKS COMING: Utah meets Kansas on the basketball floor four weeks from today at Kansas City in a battle of nationally-ranked teams.
Next year, the Utes and Jayhawks will meet on the football field in a game that could possibly feature nationally-ranked teams.
With nearly everyone back next season, the Utes are pointing to 1996 as a big year, while the Jayhawks are expecting another good year, having already established themselves as a top program in recent years.
Ironically when the Utah-Kansas series (they play again in 1997) was set up several years ago, the Utah and Kansas ADs each thought they were scheduling a winnable game against a mediocre program.
The 1996 game is set for Sept. 28 at Rice Stadium, while in '97 it will be Sept 27 at Lawrence.
MORE HEISMAN: In our look at the Heisman Trophy last week, we made one major oversight while looking at all those top candidates from unbeaten teams.
Anyone ever heard of Tommie Frazier, the quarterback from Nebraska? Sure we have, but perhaps he's just taken for granted after leading the Cornhuskers to a 28-3 record as a starter the past three seasons.
Frazier's numbers don't compare with quarterbacks such as Bobby Hoying, Danny Kanell and Danny Wuerffel, but he runs the option as well as anyone, passes well and loses numbers by getting taken out of a lot of routs early. He's definitely a top-five candidate in the wide-open Heisman race.
PICKS: At least Dave Fox shouldn't make fun of my picks any more after I missed the Utah-Air Force score by just two points last week (Fox thought I'd be off by about 40).
Utah State (2-5) at Utah (4-4), noon - The Aggies won't roll over and die and will surely have some tricks ready for the Utes, who want to play a game that is decided before the final 30 seconds . . . Utah 30-15.
Hawaii (3-3) at BYU (3-3), noon - Usually one of the year's most interesting games, this one will be dragged down by a lousy Rainbow team and a mediocre Cougar offense . . . BYU 27-13.
Idaho (3-3) at Weber State (4-4), noon - The Weebs surprised everyone in the snow last week in Montana, but the Vandals looked awfully strong in knocking off Montana . . . Idaho 38-33.