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(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
After a season like the Jayhawks had in 2007, the only question left is what they plan on doing for an encore. Kansas finished the season ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press and USA Today polls, their second-highest season-ending ranking ever (they were sixth in the 1968 United Press International poll) and their first appearance in the final season polls since 1995.
Head coach Mark Mangino won the Associated Press Coach-of-the-Year award after leading the Jayhawks to their first January bowl game since 1968. The Big 12 North co-champions piled up a number of firsts (or first-in-a-heck-of-a-long-times) last year, entering the polls for the first time in 11 years at No. 20 after winning at No. 24 Kansas State on Oct. 6, their first win in Manhattan since 1989.
Kansas rolled up 73 points on Nebraska, the most ever given up by a Cornhuskers team, and achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Jayhawks checked in at No. 2 on Nov. 18.
In fact, Kansas was the only school from a BCS conference to finish the year with only one loss -- unfortunately for the Jayhawks, that loss came in their rivalry game against Missouri. The second-ranked Jayhawks fell, 36-28, to the No. 3 Tigers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, effectively knocking Kansas out of the BCS title hunt. Still, the Jayhawks didn't let that loss end their season -- they raced out to a 17-0 lead in the Orange Bowl and held on to beat No. 5 Virginia Tech, 24-21, a fitting cap on a memorable season in Lawrence.