Right now, I can’t figure out Jayhawk Conference football. Translating this book might be easier, I don’t know.
Saturday’s results didn’t make things any easier. Two weeks into the season, and the Jayhawk Conference actually looks a little bit like the Jayhawk West in basketball – unpredictable. I never thought I’d say that, but perhaps the new rules, with 20 out-of-state players and 63 on the roster, are having an impact.
Here’s what I think so far:
1. The only team that looks playoff bound for sure is Butler. Not a surprise at all, I know. But usually, even this early in the season, we can say with certainty who two or three of the playoff teams are. Butler has played remarkable football for six straight quarters straight after struggling in its first half with Dodge City.
Granted, Blinn, Texas is a shadow of what it used to be a few years ago – think Fort Scott’s similar fall – but the 44-14 win at Blinn was a solid, impressive win.
2. Coffeyville. What in the world?? This might be the most baffling result the Jayhawk Conference has seen in years, maybe ever.
Trinity Valley, Texas 72, Coffeyville 7.
Good teams in the Jayhawk Conference don’t lose to anybody 72-7. Average Jayhawk Conference teams don’t lose 72-7 to anyone. The only teams that ever lose by scores that bad are the really, really awful teams. Teams that stink so bad they have movies made about them.
The preseason vibes out of Coffeyville were upbeat. You could honestly feel it from talking to second-year coach Aaron Flores. Coffeyville football fans are a little like Hutchinson basketball fans. They expect to be in the mix for championships (conference, regional, national) every year. If Hutchinson ever lost a basketball game 110-30 or so, the probability for an immediate change would be 50-50. If Flores wasn’t feeling the heat after last year’s solid if unimpressive 6-4 season, he surely is now.
Next up for Coffeyville? Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
3. How good is Garden City? The Broncbusters are one of two 2-0 teams left in the conference and could vault into the top 10 in this week’s poll.
You play the teams on your schedule, but the Busters’ wins have come against possibly the worst team in Kansas (Independence) and possibly the worst team in the SWJCFC (Cisco). But they’ve done what good teams do. They’ve beaten both.
And now, you know Garden City’s confidence will be sky-high coming to Hutchinson this Saturday. If the Busters win that one, they’ll be on their way to no worse than a second-place finish in coach Matt Miller’s first season. That could win him conference coach-of-the-year honors if it wasn’t for …
4. Dodge City’s coach Gary Thomas. After giving Butler a scare for a half in the season opener, the Conquistadors beat Kilgore, Texas easier than the 27-16 score suggested. Kilgore only shared the SWJCFC regular-season title last season. Dodge City has had sniffs of success in the last 10 years, including making the Region 6 finals in 2005 and the semifinals in 2011. This, however, could end up being Dodge City’s best season in years. Their game at Highland this weekend is huge.
5. But not as huge as Hutchinson’s game. The Blue Dragons weren’t as bad as the 41-16 loss to Navarro, Texas indicated. Kicking field goals inside 30 yards are not like getting them from 45 yards. Sure, they all count as three points, but chip shot field goals feel more like wasting four points instead of earning three. So that was 12 wasted points against Navarro. Even scoring touchdowns twice when they kicked field goals adds eight points. Then add a touchdown at the end of the game when the Blue Dragons were at the 1-yard line, and the final score reads 41-31.
Hutchinson is still 1-0 in conference play, as is Garden City. The loser of this game can probably plan on not playing any November home games.