We were sitting around wondering what the worst defense we'd ever seen was, and it's Kansas 2011. What was meant to be an offseason question sparking debate was cut short. There should be a longer wait for that reveal, really, but this is a surrealist movie: we'll slash the eyeball in the first three minutes just to make sure you are paying attention. The eyeball is football and your love for the game, and the razor is the 2011 Kansas Jayhawks defense.
Ha ha, you say, but the 2007---STOP. The Kansas Jayhawks in 2011 were the fat antelope with seven perpetually regenerating legs, each meatier and more delicious than the other. Replacing your defensive coordinator in April is never, ever a good sign, but one might think five months of work by an internal hire could yield something like positive results. That person would be wrong in a world where we did not respect words, or the degree to which "wrong" does not cover the degree of wrongness in that statement.
After two wins (they had two!) to start the season, the Jayhawks dove face-first into a septic avalanche of points, errors, miscues, facemask penalties, bleeding, seizure, Turner Gilling, uncontrollable shitting from the ears, and spontaneous corporeal evaporation. Kansas gave up 604 yards rushing to Georgia Tech, then rebounded by only allowing 500 yards or so to Texas Tech. That is a trend of one in the direction of improvement, and a good illustration as to why there is no such thing as a trend of one.
Then Kansas allowed 35 points in the first quarter to Oklahoma State. This is not an exaggeration: this remains one of the few games we have ever seen where a team could have feasibly scored one hundred points not just in a game, but by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Mike Gundy was still calling passes in the fourth quarter--nine of them!-- because Mike Gundy watches every football game with David Attenborough in his headset, whispering magnificently about the total, emotionless cruelty of the struggle for life. If you wonder what Brandon Weeden did to deserve the Browns, it was this.
This happened against Kansas State. The worst part of this clip is not the song "St. Anger," and that is a cruelty you reserve only for your worst enemies and the 2011 Kansas defense. The defense in this clip shot your daddy for two sheep and fifteen dollars on a cold prairie track one night. Feel no pity for its demise.
Allowing fewer points to Oklahoma was a nice formality, but Kansas still bled out over 600 yards to the Sooners before allowing the offense to take the stage against Texas. The defense only gave up a tasteful 590 yards to the Longhorns, and insisted on highlighting the 46 total yards the Jayhawks offense gained on the day against the Texas defense.
No one must ever watch Iowa State/Kansas from 2011. The less said about it, the better for you, humanity, and the universe as a whole. (In short: Kansas lost that, too.) The Kansas defense in 2011 was so bad they let a Mike Sherman Texas A&M team finish out a win with conviction, and could not beat a Baylor team who all but tried to charitably donate a win to Kansas for tax purposes. They played a great game against their rival Missouri because nothing makes sense, ever.
This seems gory, and it is, and we could write about it all day because just look at it all. Horror is a genre, and the 2011 KU defense is its pinnacle, a perfection of imperfection, a bridge built of rust and happy thoughts. It's nice to spend the offseason talk-radio style, pausing before leaning into the mike and asking our co-host Beef Fartman "HEY, pal whatcha think the worst defense ever is, huh?"
I said: What's the worst defense ever? You can repeat it, but you won't get an answer. The talk radio set falls silent. Beef Fartman goes still, even catatonic. The wind whistles. In the distance, wheat waves. Birds make strange patterns in the sky, and somewhere, someone clutches a 2008 Orange Bowl shirt and rocks back and forth in a dark storm cellar.
Kansas football. Don't ask.