I don’t want to alarm anyone, but we’ve got one of the greatest matchups in the country happening on Saturday. That, my friends, is Rutgers-Kansas, which will kick off at noon ET on Fox Sports Network.
Kansas is currently a 2.5-point favorite — CLOSE GAME ALERT! — and it’s a power conference matchup between the Big 12 and the Big Ten. BIG BOY FOOTBALL.
These two programs have been powerhouses, folks.
Kansas is a five-time national champion*, and Rutgers quite literally invented the game of football.
The buzz surrounding this matchup is not so much the game itself as it is these two teams’ individual accomplishments in recent years. Let’s roll through some highlights, shall we?
First off, they have combined records of 32-86 over the last five seasons. That’s like, only 27 games away from .500, so not too far off, people. A baseball team could make up that difference in like a month, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Scarlet Knights and Jayhawks can get it done by mid-October. Give ‘em time.
Their average S&P+ rankings for the past five years are 111th for five-time national champion Kansas and 99th for former 2006 No. 7 Rutgers, who invented football. There are roughly a thousand college football teams that we know of in the universe, and these are two of the 111 best.
And these teams are coming in hot.
The week prior to RU-KU 2018, five-time national champion Kansas beat Central Michigan, making Kansas undefeated on the road since mid-September 2018. Kansas has also beaten Texas recently.
Meanwhile, former 2006 No. 7 Rutgers continued an impressive Ohio State scoring streak. Consistent! Years earlier, Rutgers also won the first-ever collegiate ultimate frisbee championship.
Haters might like to bring up some weaker performances by these proud programs.
In 2015, Rutgers, who invented football, lost to Michigan 78-0. Well, that was just the Scarlet Knights’ selfless contribution to a fascinating box score. Football is a team game, and sometimes the team includes the other team.
Rutgers beat No. 2 USF in 2007 and No. 3 Louisville in 2006, you hater.
And while Mizzou fans might mention five-time national champion Kansas’ lack of elite play in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, KU’s been great every other year in that span.
Did you know Kansas beat Texas in 2016?
You might be thinking of some on-field moments that suggested these programs aren’t elites.
In 2016, the former 2006 No. 7 Scarlet Knights came up with this:
It might look like this meticulously planned trick play didn’t work, but these plays are designed to set up payoffs later on. Two years later, the payoff still hasn’t happened yet, which only makes it more dangerous.
In 2015, five-time national champion Kansas lost to FCS South Dakota State at home, but it wasn’t done without honor. In the final seconds, the Jayhawks had a chance for a game-winning field goal but chose instead to fumble the snap on the spike, out of respect for the FCS dynasty. What’s that? SDSU is the wrong Dakota State? Moving on.
Kansas beat Texas in 2016, in case you were wondering.
Some fans of lesser teams accuse Rutgers and KU of lacking passion around the program.
How can that be the case, when the following image shows people in the stands for a boring game against a program that did not invent football and only ranked a pathetic No. 24 in 2006, despite ugly weather and a lopsided score that surely changed in Rutgers’ favor shortly after this very deceptive photo was taken?
And the following shows the high standards to which KU football is held. Any loss is enough to make the mascot vomit into a trash can. Doesn’t even have to be, like, the 15th loss in a row. That would be a random number of losses to suggest KU had lost at this point. Why would you say such a thing? It was probably KU’s first loss in a really long time.
Big Jay expressing how every KU fan feels right now pic.twitter.com/H5w3LNP3C4— Snyder's Windbreaker (@KSUWindbreaker) November 28, 2015
Saturday’s game completes a home-and-home series between these two bluebloods.
Rutgers, who invented football, won 27–14 at home in 2015. Five-time national champion KU now has its chance for revenge, and then we’ll wait until they meet again, probably in the Playoff or one of those big season kickoff games. Did you all know Kansas beat Texas in 2016?