KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If Gary Pinkel was to decide Turner Gill's future, the second-year Kansas coach wouldn't have anything to worry about. His counterpart at Missouri is firmly in his corner.

Unfortunately for Gill, it's athletic director Sheahon Zenger who will ultimately decide — likely this week — whether he'll get another season to turn around the Jayhawks' miserable fortunes.

Gill is just 5-19 after two seasons in charge, the latest a 24-10 letdown against the rival Tigers on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. And with Missouri heading off to the SEC next season, and Kansas having little desire to play out of conference, that could mean bragging rights in perpetuity.

Pinkel said after the game that he believes a coach should get more than two years to turn around a floundering program, and pointed out that he probably would have been fired if administrators at Missouri were quick to pull the trigger.

"I wasn't the most popular guy the first four years here — two losing seasons, then 2003 went to a bowl, then 2004 did the worst coaching job I ever did," Pinkel said. "One bowl in three years did not look real good. But everybody to make their own decision.

"He's a great football coach, a colleague and a friend, and I don't think you can make a decision on a program in two seasons. Rarely is it done, because a lot of people would miss if they did that."

Pinkel would have been a miss.

Like Gill, who came to Kansas from a mid-major program at Buffalo, Pinkel arrived at Missouri after a successful run at Toledo. Taking a program in better shape than the Jayhawks, Pinkel still managed to win just nine games his first two seasons, and a pair of trips to the Independence Bowl in his first five seasons in charge certainly wasn't enough to make him look like a slam-dunk hire.

But administrators at Missouri preached patience, and Pinkel delivered.

The Tigers are headed to their seventh consecutive bowl game, which included a trip to the Cotton Bowl in 2007, when they briefly reached No. 1 and finished fourth in the final AP poll.

"There's a lot of money, a lot of pressure. We know what we're getting into," Pinkel said. "A lot goes with it, and that's the world we live in. You've got to accept that."

Perhaps the biggest reason Kansas would be willing to give Gill another chance has nothing to with wins and losses, but dollars and cents.

Gill was given a five-year, $10 million contract by former athletic director Lew Perkins, all of which is guaranteed. That means Kansas would be paying Gill $6 million not to coach if he was fired.

Zenger has been conspicuously absent from news conferences in recent weeks, preferring to stay out of the media's eye. But the Jayhawks' current AD has said he would wait until after the season to make a decision on Gill's future, and that happened with Saturday's loss to the Tigers.

"We continue to evaluate the program on a week-by-week basis," Zenger said late last month. "We will never make a complete evaluation until the season is over and the body of work is in."

Gill said late Saturday that he had not spoken with Zenger, but sounded optimistic that he'll be invited back for another season — it took him three years to make Buffalo into a winner.

"I do think we made good progress," he said. "I guess it may be we have more to go than we anticipated, including myself coming in. I just think we can still get some things done here and move this program the right direction and do the things we need to do, win games and win bowl games."

Sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb said it's frustrating to hear questions about Gill's future, and although the coach hadn't broached the topic with his team, Webb said he didn't need to.

The guys in the locker room have his back, he said.

"We feel like we've improved. We've shown glimpses this season of how much we've improved. We're bringing a lot of people back, so we feel like we've got a chance to be a really good team," Webb said. "He put us in position to win a lot of ballgames and there were a few that just didn't bounce our way, that we should have won but we unfortunately."