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18. KANSAS
Richard Deutsch
August 26, 1996
The organizers of the X Games might be wise to add Jayhawk Football to their extreme-sports event. In the nine months since Kansas last played a home game, the Jayhawks program has lived life on the edge.
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August 26, 1996

18. Kansas

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The organizers of the X Games might be wise to add Jayhawk Football to their extreme-sports event. In the nine months since Kansas last played a home game, the Jayhawks program has lived life on the edge.

It all started in December when head coach Glen Mason, the Big Eight's coach of the year after a surprising 10-2 finish and a No. 9 final ranking, announced he was leaving for Georgia, then changed his mind a week later. But things were just getting interesting. The Jayhawks' annual quarterback shuffle was interrupted when Ben Rutz tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in spring drills. (As a freshman at Nebraska in 1993, Rutz tore the ACL in his right knee.) He resumed workouts with his Kansas teammates earlier this month and is expected to start in the season opener. If he can't go, the Jayhawks will have to use inexperienced junior Matt Johner to control an offense that averaged only 186 passing yards per game last season.

Meanwhile, Isaac Byrd, who led Kansas receivers with 48 catches for 604 yards and Jayhawks batters with a .321 average, kept the football staff in knots by waiting until late June before deciding to pass on a full-time pro baseball career.

The worst may be yet to come, though. As a final element of danger, Kansas warms up for back-to-back games against Colorado and Nebraska in October by going 43 days between its first two home games.

Now that's extreme, dude.

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