KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Everything about Mark Mangino has gotten bigger.
No, not in that way.
Mangino led Kansas to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl win last season. (US Presswire)
There’s a bigger contract, bigger office and, supposedly, a bigger future.
“The fact that there are expectations are a victory in itself,” Kansas’ seventh-year coach said Tuesday at the Big 12 media days.
For once, those expectations are larger than the coach. That’s not a jab at Mangino who looked tanned, relaxed and, yes, thinner, ready to follow a 12-1 season. That was the best record among BCS-conference schools, tying Hawaii for the best record in I-A. Few people realized that at the end of the season. Even fewer in college football cognoscenti care now.
Programs like Kansas aren’t supposed to last. The expectations are coming from the small tight knot of KU football fans and donors. To everyone else, the Jayhawks are a one-hit wonder because they have a goofy bird on the side of their helmets and not a burnt orange steer or an intertwined “O” and “U”.
New Mexico’s Rocky Long might have been the voice of the silent majority when he suddenly and viciously ripped into Mangino’s team this week this during Mountain West media days.
“I mean, who did Kansas play last year?” Long said, questioning KU’s non-conference schedule that included Florida International, Toledo, Central Michigan and Southeastern Louisiana.